Here at Janglepophub towers we have been going all sorts of mental over the first two singles from Belfast based duo, Bobsled Team. Thankfully, we do not appear to be alone as ‘lesser known’ media sources such as Bandcamp and BBC Introducing were happy to jump on the bandwagon.
Janglepophub catch up with the Bobsled Team (Oliver and Kimberley) to ask them numerous meaningless questions, which they have somehow breathed life into with their answers.
Two singles in and you are causing a bit of a stir…Tell us a bit about Bobsled Team. How have you go to this point?
Hi! I’m Oliver, I play guitar in the band and sing.
Hi! I’m Kimberley. I play bass and sing.
[Oliver]: We live in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It’s a cool city with a really interesting and diverse music scene. We’re over the moon about how things are going. The band is totally diy – so to be causing a little stir is really unexpected. And I want to start this interview by thanking Janglepophub. You discover such great music from around the world, so to be included is just wonderful (Ed: Instagram picture taken, that quote is going viral…seriously your too kind!)
We found it hard to review your singles, but they were too good to ignore…With the best acts, it is often difficult to fully pinpoint the exact nature of a sound and its influences? What influences shine though in your music?
[Oliver]: Thanks! We’ve been called the love child of the pixies and sonic youth. Neil Young fronting Wolf Alice. Group Love vibes.Joey Santiao guitars. Kim Deal melodies. Shoegaze, dreamy, lo-fi, leftfield, jangly, slacker, weird. We like weird!
[Kimberley]: The bands and artists we love tend to be difficult to catorgise themselves. We like a lot of eclectic stuff.
BBC introducing love, Bandcamp articles about your debut Pink Moon single and even the Janglepophub eleven strong readership going ‘bon bon ballistic’ over you! Are you surprised at your early success, do you consider it success and if so what do you think it is about your aesthetic that is garnering such appeal?
[Oliver]: We’ll, I’m sincere when I say this – it’s a real honour to be getting noticed in these places. Growing up, the best way I could find out about alternative artists and bands was through cool magazines and blogs. When I was a kid, I literally ordered a cd from Canada because a magazine wrote about it with such passion and enthusiasm.
I think the blogs, radio and zines are picking up on this vibe from us – we are genuine fans of them, and they seem to like our do-it-yourself attitude and bobsled team, lo-fi style. And through these uncertain times, without live shows, you’ve all kept the buzz and stoke going for the new music coming out.
Janglepophub gives you our world famous time machine. You can go back to any decade in musical history and achieve success. What decade would you travel back to and what would you consider success?
[Oliver]:A class question! The Delorean car from Back to the Future was made in Belfast. I have a romantic notion about albums like Pet Sounds…to be in that room with all those melodies….Brian Wilson telling me to play some odd instrument. Or drinking coffee and playing a gig with Bob Dylan in Greenwich Village.
Hanging out at Sound City with Neil Young and cutting an album there. Making my own instruments and joining Sonic Youth in the early days….but if I went back I’d miss all the music that came after, the music now. So we beat on….
[Kimberley]: For me I think it would be the late 1960s – Getting to perform at Woodstock withJimi Hendrix and Ravi Shankar would have been pretty awesome.
What are ‘This Pink Moon’ and ‘You’re So Cool’ about?
[Oliver}: I like songs with a bit of mystery or vagueness. You can’t quite pin them down.
What is your song writing and recording process?
[Oliver]: The song writing process is a real mystery to me. I get all kinds of weird melody in my head. I don’t know where it comes from and I’m always scared that it will just stop. It’s like someone else is putting it all in there. A feeling comes with the songs that create the landscape for the words.
I never want to analyse how I’m doing it though, as if the magic will disappear. I don’t think I’ll ever force a song to come. I love working on them with Kimberley. She always has great ideas. We’re a good team.
[Kimberley]: I have always been surrounded by music. When I was really young, I wrote my own songs and recorded them on my keyboard. It had a multitrack function to layer up all the different parts then I would sing along and record it all to an old school cassette tape.
I still have the tape of my first album! I enjoy exploring the meaning of a song and bringing out the emotion and character with a live raw sound. A true performance with imperfections will always be much better than something overly edited and robotic!
[Oliver]: I have this old eight track, it’s from the 90’s and uses zip disks that are no longer made. A hardy old machine, it sounds great. We started putting songs down on it. However, the punch-in button doesn’t work so it forces you to play mostly live – no cut and paste, no mistakes or you start again. Recording was kind of thrilling. We played Julie McLaron our songs.
She is an amazing producer who works with analogue tape – that process appealed to us. She’s all about the feeling of the song and is so creative.
[Kimberley]: We worked on two songs with her, didn’t quite get them finished as we were having so much fun. They are still there in her studio. Maybe one day.
[Oliver]: She taught us a few things, gave us the confidence in our own process. We’ve continued that aesthetic in our own recordings now. They are lo-fi. And we like them.
What were the last five pieces of music you acquired?
[Oliver]: Thurston Moore, Spirit Counsel. Wasuremono, Are you Ok? Deftones, Ohms. Pearl Jam, Gigaton. Pixies, Beneath the Eerie.
[Kimberley]: Albums by Laura Mvula (I especially love the live orchestral versions of her songs), Real Estate, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Disclosure and a really quirky fusion album called ‘Hidden Seas’ by Maria Chiara Argiro.
Belfast is not particularly associated with jangly indie-pop / dream-pop. Are there are other bands we should be looking out for in the future?
[Oliver]: It’s an amazing scene. I’m constantly in awe of the creativity of the place. We recently got put on two playlists that showcase all these new sounds. If anyone is interested, check out Chordblossom’s Fresh new Music from Northern Ireland and Candice Cather’s The Given Note, both on Spotify.
Candice works for Third Bar Belfast – a development set up by Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and Davy Matchett. They are great champions of Belfast’s new noise.
The musical community seemed to really unite over the Black Lives Matter movement. As a duo raised in a highly politicized area does this make you more inclined to join such causes or do you feel that politics and music are not necessarily natural bedfellows?
[Oliver]: We have that great story of Good Vibrations through the troubles. Then there was Bono and Ash in that famous gig at the Waterfront. Music brings people together.
Is there a need for the physical format anymore?
[Oliver]: There is nothing better than putting a vinyl record on. We will always buy our favourite band’s album on vinyl. My car is also full of cds…mostly in the wrong cases. Maybe that’s a metaphor for bobsled team.
What are the challenges and opportunities today’s ‘streaming world’ present/offer to aspiring artists?
[Oliver]: I’m glad everyone has access to music. We’re so excited to see that we are getting streamed in all these different places around the world. Like Blenheim in New Zealand. Thunder Bay in Canada. Helsinki in Finland. I’m astonished beyond words.
[Kimberley]:Our music is being played in places you can actually bobsled.
[Oliver]: It’s nice to know someone is listening.
[Kimberley]: We’re still underground lo-fi.
What is next for Bobsled Team?
[Oliver]: We will release a new single. An album is coming. The songs are done. Some people have asked whether it will be in physical format so we are trying to figure that all out. A short run. We’re not in this for fame. It’s just nice to put a smile on someone’s face. It would be a dream to offer vinyl and tapes. When the time is right, a few gigs!
The people listening to us all seem really cool and interesting themselves. We’re super excited to see you all. Let us know where you want us to go. Come follow us on Bandcamp or places like Spotify. We’d love your support.
Many thanks to both of you for taking the time to answer our questions and good luck with your debut album.