bdrmm: "We wanted to keep the spirit of Shoegaze but expand other styles"
Originally established as a solo project by vocalist/guitarist Ryan Smith in 2016, bdrmm now includes his brother Jordan on bass/keyboards along with guitarist Joe Vickers and drummer Conor Murray. With their 2020 debut ‘Bedroom’ hailed as a «modern shoegaze classic» by NME, the band have supported both Ride and Mogwai.
Instead of treading on familiar ground, the Hull quartet are breathing new life into the classic sounds of shoegaze with influences from electronic music, Jazz or Hip Hop on their new album ‘I Don’t Know’. Frontman Ryan Smith spoke to us about the new album, the future of the band, and being part of the Mogwai «family» at Rock Action Records.
– 2020 was a great year for the band. Their debut album “BEDROOM” was chosen among the Best Albums, and the response from other media was excellent. How did you feel about this success you have achieved so far?
I mean it’s been pretty insane and unexpected really. We never expected to be able to release a single album, let alone be allowed back to do another! The response has been overwhelming too. Everybody has been so kind. I’m glad everybody seems to get it too, with the new album, we took a different approach and explored different inspirations and that can be quite daunting, but I am so happy everybody seems to be enjoying it.
– bdrmm signed to Mogwai’s Rock Action record label, how did that come about and do you feel that being around experienced musicians inspires more creativity as a band?
We recently joined them on tour, and it was such an incredible experience. I remember being backstage one night and chatting with Stuart about potentially signing to their label, but we had all had a few drinks and it didn’t really sink in, but the following days the conversation carried on, and it just seemed like a perfect fit. They treat us like family, and were so welcoming, the whole tour was just such a brilliant experience (but if they ask… they’re all cunts).
– We liked the songs ‘It’s Just A Bit Of Blood’, ‘Be Careful’ and ‘Pulling Stitches’. It’s been on our Spotify list for several weeks now, so how did these songs develop?
‘It’s Just a Bit of Blood’ and ‘Pulling Stitches’ were one of those classic; in the practice room tracks, which was a nice change of pace considering the majority will have been pre-planned demos that we bring into the studio. Whereas Be Careful was more of an older track that had been knocking around for a while, we played it a few times in passing but it never stuck! I think it really touched a nerve with us post pandemic, it became a lot more meaningful and when we took it to the studio, it was one of those tracks that just came about with ease. We experimented a lot with different sounds to develop the ending into more of an atmosphere than just some guitars playing in the same key at the same time.
– How important are the lyrics on this new record?
They’re so important. Honesty has always been a huge characteristic within our lyrics and I feel like these are laid bare. It’s almost a kind of therapy.
– How was the process of recording this new album and how do you describe the musical evolution in the new album?
It was such a great experience. We were demo’ing on tour and I feel that really came through on the recordings. Alps for example, was recorded whilst driving through the Swiss Alps, which was just a bizarre sentence to even say.
We then went to a Farm in the middle of Yorkshire to start the actual recording process and it was beautiful. It felt very freeing, like we could have loads of drinks and then at midnight start jamming or lay something down. It was very cliche but in the best fucking way.
I feel like the evolution sonically is so vast. We have all been so inspired by so much electronic music and plenty of Jazz and Hip-Hop too. We wanted to keep the Shoegaze ethos and instrumentation, but just expanded more on more of the music we’re interested in too. I’m excited for what is next!.
– They’ve been wowing crowds with their immersive live shows for some time now, is there a particular concert you’ve played that stands out as a highlight for you?
I think playing Alexandra Palace in London is a pretty standout show for us all. It was fucking unreal. To go from Hull, to Alexandra Palace is a pretty huge step. We all felt pretty proud about that one.
– In the month of May they gave a concert in Spain. What can you tell us about that concert? How has been the reception of the Spanish public?
Oh my god! Our debut Spain show was fucking unreal. Everybody was so kind and the vibe was just constantly on, it was wonderful. We have plans to go back quite a bit in 2024.
– And, finally, in addition to the album release, what does the rest of the year have in store for BDRMM…?
Well we have the European and UK tours in October and November, but we’re actually starting to go back into the studio at the end of August to start work on some new music. I feel the momentum is at an all time high and we’ve been writing some pretty interesting stuff so it’s a shame not to strike while the iron is lukewarm!
A special thanks to Enzo Lorenzi for giving us the opportunity to interview bdrmm.
Interview by: J. Lucas y J. Emilio