With a name that could not be further from the truth, the hype behind indie-funk outfit Bad Sounds has started to gather some serious momentum – especially following the release of debut album Get Better in August. After featuring on the FIFA 2018 soundtrack, latest single ‘Wages’ has also been named Radio 1’s ‘Tune of the Week’. Off the back of seven sold-out dates on their headline UK tour, we got the chance to chat with the Bad Sounds brothers Ewan and Callum Merrett.
You’ve officially made it. You are on FIFA! How big is that for you guys?
Callum: Yeah its huge, the whole FIFA thing is definitely bigger for someone who’s actually into football I guess. But yeah the exposure has been amazing. If you look at our views on YouTube or whatever you can see comments like ‘I’m here cos of FIFA’.
You’re back on the road of course – how has the reception been on this tour?
Ewan: Yeah wicked. Every show has sold out so far so it’s been way better than we were expecting and everyone’s just going mad for it. It’s been weird seeing the different cities and how they react, like Manchester was just insane but it’s been amazing everywhere.
What tracks are getting the crowd going the most?
Callum: Depends on the crowd really but probably ‘Meat on My Bones’ at the minute I’d say. It used to be ‘Avalanche’ but it changes all the time.
Ewan: Yeah depends on what order we play them in as well, cos you come out of a slow one and people want something to lift it up. Yeah I think ‘Meat on My Bones’ is at the point in the set now where everyone just starts going fuckin’ mental.
Your music seems to be a mash up of various genres. Who were the key influences growing up?
Ewan: As kids it was mainly rock bands like Led Zeppelin and then we got into metal shit when we were like fourteen but I guess we only really discovered music properly when we were like fifteen or sixteen and then we went our separate ways. I’m a massive Missy Elliott fan and A Tribe Called Quest were really big for me.
Callum: Yeah it’s hard to pull on one distinct influence, I guess you risk sounding too much like them if you do that. That’s the whole ‘Bad Sounds thing’, you might like a little bit from this artist or just something from one track, like the way the bass sounds or something and then you can pull it all together.
And how does it split up in terms of writing between you two?
Callum: Well that’s kinda the way it started out with the two different opposing angles. We kinda introduced each other into different things and we both got into different elements of these influences.
Ewan: Yeah that’s certainly how it started out, I was definitely more into the hip-hop side of things but I think now we just fill in each other’s gaps. We’ve learned a lot from each other. A lot of times we just produce for each other as well. If one of us has a demo we would bring it to the other and help them finish it and put a stamp on it.
So when did you both think working together as siblings could work?
Ewan: Yeah we literally signed our first record deal like a month before I finished University so it was pretty much from then on.
Callum: We’ve never really known any different to be honest. There’s only been a couple of years where we were doing stuff separately. When we spent some time together recording and stuff we realised it was more interesting with the two different approaches working together.
So, Bad Sounds – where did that name come from?
Callum: It was kinda when we had started writing together, we had written this demo and all the sounds on it were pretty naff but we really like that we had written it, so we just saved it on our computer as Bad Sounds.
Ewan: It does work for us though, everyone has such low expectations when coming to a Bad Sounds gig.
Now what do you consider some real Bad Sounds – what has been the worst tune of 2018 in your humble opinion?
Callum: I can give you the worst one straight off. Its sushi from Japan or whatever that song is (‘Jackie Chan’ by Tiest and Dzeko featuring Post Malone and Preme). I think that is the laziest song writing I’ve ever heard.
Ewan: Yeah the thing about that is he has the whole Jackie Chan thing… who is from China. And he is trying to mix in Sushi from Japan in that. Its like c’mon mate. That song is pretty trash but I do like Post Malone I must say.
And the best?
Callum: There is this album I like with Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins called August Greene. It just sorta ticked a lot of boxes for me.
Ewan: Yeah there’s an album by this one guy, Connan Mockasin which was this weird concept album. There’s one track on it, ‘Con Conn was Impatient’ which is an absolute banger.
So, you’re finishing up this headline tour this weekend, what’s next for Bad Sounds?
Ewan: We’re working with a few people away from the band like producers and stuff doing some remixes and then we’re heading off to do some live stuff in Mexico next month which’ll be super cool.
Callum: I’m looking forward to it a lot. We are playing a festival in Mexico City. The headliner on the Friday night is Robbie Williams and then on the Saturday is Nine Inch Nails, we slot somewhere right down the middle.
Ewan: Yeah we’re gonna pull them together for a duet.
Sounds like a winner.
You can get their debut album Get Better here on their website.
You can also check out the video to latest single ‘Wages’ below: