• Posted by: Kirsten Spruch

    When one door closes, another one opens. It's cliche, but there's a good reason why: because it's true. UK indie rock band Bombay Bicycle Club was at the highest peak in their musical career after the release of their fourth album, So Long, See You Tomorrow, when they decided to announce an indefinite hiatus. Fans were crushed, but there was a silver lining. It's not like all of the members were sick of each other, in fact, breaking old habits and diving into new territories led them to even more collaboration. Enter Ed Nash, BBC's bassist, who took the unexpected turn of events and turned it into an opportunity. Lemonade, baby.

    Toothless is the new indie rock solo project of Nash, which was co-produced by Jack Steadman and features Liz Lawrence and Suren de Saram. Nash has been a secret hiding right under our nose for years, and now he's finally letting his impressively versatile musicianship sparkle for the whole world to see.

    Toothless released their magnificent debut LP The Pace of Passing last month, so we had the pleasure of chatting with the man himself about the making of it, his thoughts on the hiatus, and what his live show will look like, now that he's taking on center stage.

    KIRSTEN SPRUCH: Has it been a smooth transition for you, going from bassist to full on musician?

    ED NASH: It's been a smooth transition. I've always played guitar and produced my own music in my spare time. I loved playing bass in Bombay Bicycle Club, and I still love playing bass, but this is something I've always wanted to do, and now I have the time. The hardest bit was writing lyrics and singing them as a frontman, which I never really had done before.

    KS: How much input did you have in this album?

    EN: This album was mostly me writing. I would write the songs at home, record, take the songs and turn them into demos, take them to the studio to people who might be interested in the sound and the production of them, and then rearrange the songs if it wasn't working too well, and then record the vocals and the drums there. But, you know, most of the song is established beforehand.

    KS: What inspired you to start this new project?

    EN: It's been something I've always wanted to do. I've always wanted to start my own band and make an album like this, but I've just never had the time to do it. Time goes by quick and if you want to make albums and do a bunch of touring, you need to make time to focus on them. At the end of 2014, I finally had the time, so that's what I threw myself into. And it's been the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

    KS: Has the Bombay Bicycle Club hiatus been emotional for you and the other members?

    EN: This is going to sound quite dark and horrible, but no, not particularly. I think when people think of "hiatus" they think it's quite acrimonious. But we just wanted to do something different, and I'm happy that we're doing something different, and I think everyone else is going to begin to explore what they want to do as well. It's not a bad thing - it's going to be a bad thing for fans of the band because we won't be doing much for a long time, but for us, we're all still friends, and we all have our separate things that we're doing. I know it sounds kind of mean, but I don't think too much of it.

    KS: Liz Lawrence is also featured on the new album, who has been a pretty frequent BBC collaborator in the past. What was it like keeping in touch with her creatively?

    EN: I talk to her every day. She plays in the Toothless live band. I wouldn't not be in touch with her. She's one of my best friends and we make music even if it's not Toothless or something for her. I think I'd be making music with her long after Toothless or any of the other things we've done.

    KS: Can we expect any collaborations with any other BBC members?

    EN: There's really not that many more to collaborate with [laughs]. Jack co-produced most of the album with me, so I guess that's a collaboration. About half the drums on the album are played by Suren, and Jamie [MacColl]'s gone back to university. I guess he's the only person left to collaborate with, but I don't think he would do that. He's concentrating on "academia" now as opposed to music.

    KS: I don't want to make this all about BBC, but when I was listening to the Toothless album, I couldn't help but think that it sounded like the earlier BBC stuff, which led me to think that you were a big contributor to the band. Did your role in BBC encompass more than just playing bass?

    EN: A lot of people say that! But I think if it didn't sound like that it would be weird, because that was a band I was a part of. And I mean, just the way you write songs and think about managing a production, it can be learned, and that is what I was involved in. In BBC I did a range of things and little bits of dubs, but they definitely weren't my songs. They were Jack's songs. My role was very much playing the bass and being a part of the live band and the dynamic of the band.

    I also think that if I wasn't connected to BBC and made this music without knowing that link, you might not necessarily think BBC first, you know? You might think something else, and I think it's at the forefront of people's minds because of my connection to them.

    KS: Can you explain the album title, The Pace Of The Passing?

    EN: It's a reference to how your perception of time changes. When we're younger, time appears to go much slower than when we're older, and it was it just talking about that, the pace of it, and how it speeds up. I was thinking of that when I made the record. I felt like I was getting older, I really felt like that. I felt I had to get this album out, and I had felt the pressure of time a lot [laughs].

    KS: You have some shows coming up. Is it going to be odd for you to take center stage this time?

    EN: I've played several shows with Toothless now, and yeah, to be completely honest, it was really, really weird being on the center of the stage, all eyes on you. The hardest bit isn't so much playing the songs - you know you can do that. It's what you do between the songs and what you say. Having done 7 or 8 shows, I feel much better about it.

    KS: Now that you are the frontman, do you feel the pressure to develop some sort of personality?

    EN: I'm very much on just focusing on the music, and letting the music talk. I'm not sure how useful that is, you know? I think people like a frontman with personality and charisma, and I'm not sure I'm giving much of that at the moment [laughs]. I'm very happy with the music that I've made, and I will always stand by that. And I think that's the most important thing.

    KS: Do you have any cool future plans for putting a magical show? Maybe some Beyonce choreography or something?

    EN: Yeah, I got a lot of things I want to do. Because though these shows are quite small again, managing that space is quite hard. You bring in lights and projections and things like that, but the scale is small. I very much do have plans, but it's just of matter of making them work.

    KS: And are you coming to the US this year?

    EN: I'd absolutely love to. I have a UK tour starting this month and beginning of next month, but my intention is to do Toothless as much as possible, and yeah, I want to come to the states, I love being in the states. If anybody wants to see me, or if I'm in demand, please let me know, and I'll try to come over as quickly as possible.

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