Interview: Bondax

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For those of you who aren’t in the loop, Bondax are a young musical duo from right here in Lancaster (yeah, I know, who knew Lancaster did music?). Their chilled vibes have turned Adam Kaye and George Townsend from underground figures to breakout stars of the electronic music scene. Having toured globally and partied pretty much everywhere, they’re humbly returning in October to give us all a taste of their new material. All of this will be happening at Lancaster’s A-Wing over Halloween weekend, and they reckon it’ll be their best yet. After slightly rearranging the interview to accommodate for Adam’s love of Sainsbury’s soup, I spoke to both guys about most things musical. 

Hey, how are you both doing? Was the lunch alright in the end?

Adam Kaye: Yeah, we just had some soup and a sandwich. A hearty lunch.

We’ll just go straight to it, you’re playing at Lancaster’s A-Wing on the 31st of October, are you excited for that?

AK: Yeah of course man, it’s only our second ever show in Lancaster I think. Well I know. We’re going to get all our mates down, I think our mums might even come. It should be a funny one, and on Halloween as well. It’s gunna be hilarious.

For those people that wouldn’t know, what is a typical Bondax set?

AK: It’s just kind of like…we like to dance a lot and look a bit stupid. Me and George we enjoy playing music. So it’s all kind of quite happy, uplifting, kind of disco-y house. For the most part, with some other flavours. A little bit of old disco.

George Townsend: Yeah we do edit the majority of the tracks on the set, so most of the tracks you might have heard, but they might be slightly different versions from what you’re used to. We pride ourselves on bringing like our own bits of everything, it’s the only way we separate ourselves.

Although it’s your first time playing at the A-Wing, have you been there before?

GT: Nah we haven’t.

AK: Nah you know what, it’s because we’re always djing on the weekends. We’ve never made it out, but our friends have played there. Our friends have been there, and they’ve said it’s definitely the best place to go out in Lancaster so I’d like to see it.

It used to be a prison, would that be the weirdest location you’ve ever performed at?

GT: It’d be up there definitely.

AK: I reckon not the weirdest. We played in the London Eye.

And this is going to be a homecoming for you, how different will this be from playing in Tokyo or London?

AK: I think we’ll probably know everyone.

GT: This will be like a house party.

AK: I mean, last time we played we literally came on stage and the crowd was like 80% everyone we knew.

GT: We get to see some old school friends, so we’re quite excited in that respect.

AK: It’s gonna be fun since everyone has to be dressed in funny costumes.

Have you got yours sorted yet?

AK: Yeah we got it in Tokyo, it’s pretty frightening.

Well if you got it in Tokyo they’re bound to be pretty weird! Going back to music, how do you actually describe what you create?

AK: Ah, we get asked this a lot and we never know how to respond to this one.

GT: I think for us a lot of the music we’ve made is really summery, happy. And we just kind of wanna…we hope that we emit that vibe on a personal level and through the music. I think we’re deeper with our music now. We’re going for an inbetween of electronic sounds and real instruments and a kind of natural sound to our music. And quite often it comes through in a soulful manner.

AK: Soulful and electronic music, that’s pretty much the best way.

Since you’re quite young, would you say your influences are still contemporary or are they quite retro?

AK: I think we’re pretty much 50/50, maybe 60/40 towards older music. I think the exciting thing about the Internet now is that there are thousands and thousands of acts every day. So we can really delve back into the history of music also to try and bring out some new ideas rather than copying. But we definitely love some stuff right now.

GT: There’s a lot of amazing stuff out there right now that we love. I think at first, we were very much inspired by people like Dark Sky. That got us on to this kind of vibe and we kind of try to make ourselves a bit different. I guess for our own personal gain we basically slammed a lot of old soul records.

How long have you two known and worked together?

AK: We’ve been making music since we were 15, George is 22 now. I’m 21 so I guess 6/7 years? We’ve known each other since the first year of secondary school so we were like 11. So we’ve known each other for 10 years but making music for 6 and a half.

What was the moment when you realised that you had become really big in the music scene?

AK: Ahh, it’s hard to pick one specific moment. There’s been a few kind of…’shit, how did we get here?’ kind of moments I guess. I remember the first time we went to LA performing on a rooftop, we were like ‘how on earth did we get here, from Lancaster in our bedroom? From Kirby Lonsdale, how did we fucking get to Indonesia or wherever?’ That does happen.

GT: Also I think for us the crowds are obviously immense. You step out and you see so many people there and it humbles you a bit. But also I think meeting people that we really respect like producers or actors. When we met Idris Elba and he knew our shit, we were like ‘wow’. That was a big moment for us. And when you meet someone for the first time, they’re the moments that really stand through.

AK: There’s also moments that you’d never imagine would happen when you first start. At all. You imagine playing, and dream, of playing in a club where everyone’s there for you, and when that happens you’re like ‘wow’. And when you meet Idris Elba and stuff you’re ‘what!’ You don’t even fathom it becoming a thing.

Who’s been the biggest help to get you there? I know you’ve had support from Radio 1 a few years back.

AK: A lot of people have been really helpful. But in terms of the radio, we had plenty of support from Annie Mac when obviously we weren’t really big. Nick Grimshaw actually picked up our music quite early so that’s amazing. And hopefully he’ll continue to support our new stuff too. But yeah, we haven’t had music out for a while so it feels like we’re in a bit of a limbo stage.

GT: Zane Lowe could be a massive guy for us. He’s played our tunes a bit, which has been good.

You’ve got a new song called Temptation, what’s that like?

AK: I think it still sounds like us. It sounds a bit like Gold I guess. A bit darker, but hopefully a more mature sound. It’s a different BPM setting to what we’ve worked with before, but I think it still sounds like us.

GT: Yeah, it’s not like four to the floor or anything. We’ve taken a different approach. I hope people like it, it’s a really good song, and we’re happy with how we’ve produced it. Let’s just see how it goes down.

AK: You can hear that on Zane Lowe’s show next week.

Will that be the official public release?

AK: Yeah, I think it’s 8th October it’s released? Is it? Get it online, and Zane Lowe’s premiering it.

You’ve got 5.5 million Soundcloud followers and millions of hits online, do you feel that that puts pressure on you to deliver?

AK: No. Not at all. We’re lucky to have that. It’s amazing that our music’s got that reaction, but when we perform we are just us. If you like it, you like it. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. We don’t put any pressure on ourselves, in terms of the moment. We do beforehand to prepare for it. But once you’re there you know? We’re just djing, we’re not trying to claim like we’re doing anything crazy. We do put time and effort into making our dj set to make it better than other people’s hopefully. There should be a vibe. It should be fun and we should have a good party. In the end that’s all it is really.

GT: That’s the thing, especially when we DJ we just want to have fun. Like, don’t put bells on it, don’t pretend that it’s proper crazy and artsy, it’s just a party basically.

You’ve worked with Tanya Lacey, Josh Record and Temptation features Erik Hassle. When you write songs do you immediately think of one person that would be perfect for that song?

GT: It varies that. Sometimes we ask to go into sessions with people and we’ve just made the whole song with them. Other times we make the song and ask people to do it. I mean we do have a preferency, as we want a certain sort of voice. But sometimes you get a random vocal that you expect to sound awful and it actually surprises you. It opens your mind a bit.

AK: Like the Josh Record one you mentioned, he wasn’t the original guy singing the track. We didn’t really know he wanted to do it and he just sent us in that vocal and we were saying ‘Yes, that’s amazing!’ So it can surprise you.

Last one, Lancaster isn’t really famed for its music scene unfortunately. How did you progress to better musical cities?

AK: Really it was the Internet. Fullstop, Soundcloud did it for us. Our first gig was in London, not Lancaster! We’d played in pubs, but they weren’t proper gigs.

GT: It’s the people that take your music and pass it on to other people which changes where your music goes. It wasn’t going to be that guy from down the road for us. We wish it was.

AK: But there is a lot of good music coming from Lancaster.

GT: Yeah Aquilo.

AK: There’s a lot of sick people.

Is that the advice you’d give for people, to keep plugging your stuff online?

AK: Yeah, I’d say find a manager or someone in the music industry who really likes you or your sound, and really wants to push you, and is a good person. And if you’ve found that person it’s helpful. But you need to have a certain level of drive yourself. Not enough people mention that it’s the scene around you. We’re lucky to have had good people around us while we’ve been doing this. It’s advice though that is a little bit hypothetical. It kind of relies on certain things falling into place. But it’s the truth sadly.

Well that’s the way it all is at the moment isn’t it?

AK: Exactly. Maybe the guys will pick the right numbers for you and if they do…well work with it. Keep pushing yourself.

It was good talking to you guys, I’ll see you in October. I just have to sort my costume out now!

Bondax will be playing at Lancaster’s A-Wing on Saturday 31st October. Tickets are available at the following links.

A-Wing
Friday 30th October 2015
Lancaster Castle, Castle Parade, Lancaster, LA1 1YJ
HospitalityDnB take over…
Camo & Krooked
S.P.Y
Krakota
Hosted by: LowQui
Tickets: £27.50 + booking fee awing.skiddletickets.com
awinglancaster.co.uk

A-Wing
Saturday 31st October
Lancaster Castle, Castle Parade, Lancaster, LA1 1YJ
Bondax
Guests TBA
Tickets: £27.50 + booking fee awing.skiddletickets.com
awinglancaster.co.uk

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