Don’t rehearse, don’t record, just improvise on stage and see what happens. The Bays ethos is simple and the results are invariably an amazing, seamless mix of every dance genre. Chris Legget caught up with keys, synths and general noice-maker Simon Richmond to find out more.
How did the idea for The Bays come about?
Everyone in The Bays has done plenty of session work and producing in the past. Session work isn’t about what you want as a musician, and a lot of musicians were losing touch with what excites them, a job’s a job. Now we’re in the privileged position of doing exactly what we want, and as it’s very ethereal and disappears as soon as the show is finished, we never have to answer for it either.
Do you discuss a plan for the show before hand?
No one ever says ‘I might go into some dancehall.’ When I’ve had ideas I’ve thought might work, it has tended not to because you haven’t anticipated what everyone else is going to do. Usually its more successful to approach it with no thought as to what’s gonna happen, until it happens.
You welcome collaborations so do you pick people you know will fit in without rehearsals?
Occasionally we don’t have the luxury. We did a gig in St Petersburg and this eccentric promoter announced at sound check that he was going to play. He joined us on stage with a conch, just him making these bizarre wailing sounds with a seashell and a delay pedal. It had a certain impact…it wasn’t bad. But yeah we try to.
We saw you in the studio a couple of days back. What were you working on?
A project called the Imagine Village, fusing folk with electronica and world elements. It’s with Martin Carthey (folk royalty), an obscure folk electonica super group; it’s got Ali from Red Snapper and Sheema from Transglobal Underground. It’s just nice to be in the studio because The Bays don’t record.
The music industry is moving back towards live, you are pioneers of using live shows to generate revenue rather than album sales…
Yeah we wasted years of interview time explaining why we didn’t make records. It wasn’t that we were weird, it was just never where we were at, and then slowly the music industry swung about. Now a lot of revenue comes from advertising synchs etc, and the recorded product has became so devalued that there’s no revenue to be had anymore. Suddenly we’re doing what everybody thought was bizarre years ago – concentrating on what, in thousands of years of music’s existence, has been the norm; performers playing live.
Photo credit: Tom Oldham
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