An interview with Toothless

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Photo: DIYmag.com

The former Bombay Bicycle Club bassist Ed Nash is back with his first album ‘The Pace of the Passing’ and is set to play a date in Glasgow at the end of this month. From his new release to future festivals, from going solo to the fate of Bombay Bicycle Club, Brig’s Amy Pollock got to chat with him about his exciting new career.

Your first single ‘Terra’ is a beautiful, eerie, slow-paced song which is an interesting choice for a debut release. What were your thoughts when you decided to release it as your first Toothless single?

Thank you so much! I wanted to put out a song that was a slow burner, I wanted people to be intrigued as to what I would put out next. I thought ‘Terra’ was the perfect song for that. All the singles after that have built up in tempo and immediacy.

The first few seconds of ‘Terra’, ‘Sisyphus’ and ‘Kairos’ all start out very uniquely and strangely, hence making the listener wonder what’s to come from the rest of the song. Would you say this is Toothless’ signature style?

I had never thought about it like that. I guess you could call it a style. Those three songs start out with samples that I have messed around with which I do a lot on the album!

Did the recent release of ‘The Pace of the Passing’ feel daunting for you or were you excited to finally show everyone your own sound?

I felt both actually. It’s a strange feeling giving something that you have worked on for so long out to the world. It doesn’t just belong to me anymore. I’ve been totally overwhelmed by the response to the record.

For those who aren’t aware, besides the inevitable here-and-there appearances from the rest of the Bombay Bicycle Club members, does your new album feature any other collaborations?

Yeah, I got a bunch of people to sing and play on the record. Hopefully it wasn’t gratuitous, there’s a reason for all the features relating to the themes of the song or the arrangement. For example I got Tom from Wild Beasts to sing on ‘The Midas Touch’ which has loads of vocal harmonies. It had to be Tom on that song as he covers all the low harmonies perfectly – it couldn’t have been someone different.

‘The Pace of the Passing’ album cover. Photo: lyricsfa.com

 What festivals can people expect to see Toothless at this year?

I’ve only booked one UK festival so far at The Secret Garden party. I played it back in 2009 and have wanted to go back ever since. I’m planning on doing a bunch more festivals and shows this year but haven’t confirmed anything else yet!

Do you prefer working independently compared to being in a group? And was this transition difficult for you to accustom to when you went solo?

They both have their merits. I really like having the final say when it comes to songwriting – it’s really nice having spent so many years in a band where everyone had a say. It’s nice to be selfish sometimes.

Ed Nash in Bombay Bicycle Club. Photo: bombaybicycleclub.com

Similar with your comfort zone – how strange was it shifting from being the bassist of Bombay Bicycle Club to being the front man of Toothless?

It’s been pretty easy actually. I had been thinking about doing this for a while so when the time came round I was prepared. The hardest part is talking in between songs at shows…I still have a lot of work to do on my banter.

And finally, the question you are probably being forever asked – but do you think Bombay Bicycle Club will plan any future work together or do you think it’s over for good?

I honestly have no idea. I do know that it will be a very long time before it comes back, if ever. All of us are really enjoying our time away from the band. Toothless will be my main thing for a while.

‘The Pace of the Passing’ is available now, and Toothless’ next live appearance will be at Stereo, Glasgow on February 27. 

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