It’s 6:30pm and I’m drifting in and out of reality. I should be doing something, but instead I’m desperately trying to claw back a few hours sleep before I head out into the blistering cold.
It’s the NME show tonight, and I just want to let this warm haze envelope me before the freeze fries me.
The phone rings, and its Bombay Bicycle Club’s promoter reminding me that I’m due to interview the band in 15 minutes. Shit! The news makes me feel like a man trying to get to an air raid shelter for the first time with bombs falling all around.
OK, so we agree on a postponed time of 7:15pm, but it’s going to take 25 minutes to walk down, and I’m crashing round my room trying to work out what a t-shirt looks like. I’m trying to put my keys on, and open the door with my coat, and I’ve done 60 laps of the room by the time I’m out the door.
“They’re hungover” she says by the time I’m there. She leads me round the back of Academy 1 and into a tour bus. Inside its all leather seats, DVD player, and flat screen TV. Gary Ryan from the MEN.’s interviewing them upstairs, which gives me a few minutes to boot up my computer and generally get myself together.
A little later, upstairs and to my left row-upon-row of beds stretch off into the distance, and I mentally restrain myself from imagining what kind of crazy shit goes down on this tour bus to refocus on Jack Steadman (lead vocals, lead guitar) lying next to Ed Nash (bass player) on the sofa to my right, eyes half closed looking like they’ve been going through the same shit as me, all of which comes as something of a relief.
“The Big Pink brought round a present last night”, Ed says in a barely audible, barely conscious way. Everyone laughs conspiratorially. “What did you do last night”? I can’t remember
“What time were you up till”, I ask.
“Four, five”, Jack replies, “We woke up at eight. There was a girl with me, she’s gone now”.
“Who is your favourite band on the tour, apart from yourselves”?
“The Maccabees”, responds Ed, “They’re great”.
“On a personal or musical level”?
“Both, they’re just really nice guys”.
“And how is the tour going in general”?
“Great, everyone’s really nice. They’re nice to our faces anyway. They probably slag us off when we’re not around”, he laughs – it’s hard to know how much of this is seriousness or joviality.
Having chatted to the BBC boys for a few minutes a few things become clear. Firstly they’re cataclysmically hungover (of course) and secondly they’re genuinely nice, engaging-though-out-of-it, guys enjoying what they’re doing without a trace of pretension. It’s this carefree trait that makes them so eminently popular, even though they deny being even remotely famous.
You try telling that to the screaming fans who greet them like the arrival of chainsaw-armed, boomstick-toting Ash in Evil Dead 3.
Moving swiftly on I ask them what can we expect from their live shows.
“We dance around like retards”. Self-deprecation is clearly a happy pursuit for these guys. They go on to describe how they were too shy to talk to the two girls in the video Dust On The Ground.
Onto the topic of song writing and Jack becomes animated.
“I don’t sit down to write songs,” he said.
“It usually catches me unexpectedly, like when I go on stage before a gig to tune my guitar, I play a few chords or notes, and I think ‘this sounds great’.”
My final question is one that I’ve been dying to ask a musician for years.
“When you’re doing an interview, do you ever think fuck it, I’m just going to make up some random shit?”
“We actually did that for the last interview,” they reply laughing, “but we’ve been truthful for yours.”
That’s it, interview over, and at the finale my bastard computer wipes the entire recording and I’m left cobbling it together from scattered fragments of a memory that’s not been functioning properly for years.
I do, however, recollect how genuinely down to Earth Jack and Ed are, and how successfully they whipped up the crowd later that night.
They’d better watch out for those Big Pink boys though, otherwise there’s going to be nothing left of them by the end of the tour.