Coachella Interview: Bombay Bicycle Club Talks Good Food and Panda Suits

It’s Day 2 for us at the Fuse/Vevo House At Coachella, and Bombay Bicycle Club band members Ed Nash (bass) and Suren de Saram (drums) are the latest performers we’ve caught up with. The demand for these guys has been getting pretty big, so the other two group members — Jack Steadman and Jamie MacColl — are off in another part of the desert dividing and conquering their interviews. We got to respect the hustle, though — especially with the huge popularity they have been experiencing. Keep reading as they take us through their hip-hop influences (which include A Tribe Called Quest and MF Doom), favorite spots to chow down in America, and that awkward moment when they got robbed for a panda suit.

What are you guys expecting for your inaugural Coachella performance?
Ed: I’m really excited just to be here. It’s one of those festivals you always hear about and has one of the best lineups on a consistent basis. Plus, it’s not bad that all we’ve been seeing so far are beautiful gardens with swimming pools and table tennis [Laughs].

Not too many people know that the title for your first album (I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose) was inspired by A Tribe Called Quest. Are you guys’ big hip-hop fans?
Ed: Hip-hop is definitely something we listen to, and inspires us more now than it did when we released the first album. That was the name of a song Jack [Steadman] wrote years ago, and it suited what we thought the album was. It was a complete coincidence that it happened to be a Q-Tip line from their song “After Hours.” Our last two albums have used a lot of sampling from electronic beats and drums — which is quite similar to hip-hop, instrumentally. I listen to MF Doom a lot. His last project as JJ Doom was great, and his King Geedorah album (Take Me to Your Leader) is one of my favorite hip-hop albums of all time. That’s the kind of stuff I’m into.

What’s this we hear about someone trying to take a panda suit from your video shoot?
Ed:
That actually happened!
Suren: We were filming out first music video for a song called “Evening/Morning” in Hoxton, the Old Street area of East London. The whole concept of the video was that Jack be dressed up as a panda for most of it and be chased around by a zookeeper. As we’re filming one scene where Jack ditched the costume for a bit, these guys came through and took it.
Ed: — They took the panda head [Laughs]! We’d spent half the budget for the video renting that suit. Our manager obviously wanted to get our deposit back — so he chased them down and got it back. It’s a pretty embarrassing story on our part.
Suren: The fact that the panda suit took up half the budget shows you we didn’t really have a lot for a budget.

It’s interesting that you guys used a chain of Indian restaurants as inspiration to come up with the name Bombay Bicycle Club. Are there any specific food chains you eat at home or when you come through the States?
Ed:
In the States, we always visit Taqueria Del Soul in Atlanta. We’re not sure if it’s a chain or a one-off, but we always go there. Also in ATL is Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q, which is particularly good. California Sandwiches in Toronto is pretty good too.
Suren: I’m a big fan of In-N-Out Burger. That was the first stop we made when we landed here. We were only here for an hour, and that was our priority [Laughs].

Images: Laura Austin