A Letter From The Editor
Let me be honest about Revolve. It’s not for all Bondax fans. If your looking for an album containing track-after-track of “All I See”esq clubs bangers, you will be disappointed. And I’d probably recommend you to whichever most recent song was twerked out by Nicki Minaj.
But, if you’re looking for something pure, the kind of album that should be listened to on vinyl, the one where you don’t skip to your 3 favorite tracks but rather listen to its entirety for the experience? Conceptually, it’s beautifully. Musically, it’s complex. Revolve is filled with subtle layers of live instrumentation, syncopated drum patters and mix techniques where the end of one track blends into the beginning of the next. Revolve is more than a collection of 10 songs, it’s the reemergence of real music.
DnM: It’s a real pleasure to have you guys here – thank you for taking the time. This may just be another interview for you, but to me you are the ones that got away. We were actually supposed to meet back in 2012 when you did a show here in Vancouver.
Bondax: Ahh no way! Sorry we didn’t speak to you then, hope this in some way rectifies the situation!
DnM: Totally! So, how the hell are you guys?
Bondax: We’re both good thanks! We’re so happy to have the record finally out there! We’re both enjoying working on new stuff and different projects while we have the time.
DnM: Glad to hear it – both the album and yourselves. Now you’ve been at this some time, 6-7 years and counting. This gives us a lot to go over and lots to talk about. But before we dive into it, let’s break the ice…There’s a movie called “Green Street Hooligans” and in it Frodo goes to England to join a soccer gang. He learns Cockney rhyming slang. You guys have a favourite Cockney rhyming slang? Like Bees and Honey?
Bondax: Haha in England it’s just Green Street but I like the addition of “Hooligans” just to make sure the violence is expected from the get go! Probably “Pull up your Alan Whickers” (Knickers)
DnM : For the readers, I want to get all the redundancies out of the way. Your name has nothing to do with latex face mask and chains, basically you picked it because it sounded cool. You met in high school. You’re from Lancaster (or possibly the outskirts of Lancaster). You used to make Ed Banger style French House. You now both share the workload of instrumentation and production. Did I miss anything?
Bondax: Thats pretty spot on! To be more specific, George grew up in a little town called Bentham and I’m from Kirkby Lonsdale. Both not far from Lancaster.
DnM: Now you guys meet in early high school and Bondax blows up before you graduate. What was it like touring and doing shows at bars/clubs when you couldn’t (legally) have a drink after?
Bondax: It was quite bizarre! Mostly strange going to North America from England as over here kids are (not legally) drinking from 14/15. I think the strictest place we played was SF, there was two separate occasions we got kicked out of the club straight after our set!
DnM: Haha, that’s hilarious. I truly think there is “The Story of Bondax”. Which is kind of ironic considering how much of readers you are. But starting with those early high school days, Jet Jamming with Star Slinger, JustUs Records, stolen laptops, hiatus, label challenges, and now a new album. There’s a few obvious lows, but any favourite chapters in the experience thus far?
Bondax: Nice you’re covering a lot of our history here! It’s hard to pinpoint our favourite times but I’d say there’s two favourite eras from this time, from the earlier ‘gaz’ years to when we were living together in our apartment B9. The gaz years were when we were 17-19, both still living at our family homes, getting the train down to London for sessions or to the airport for gigs, that was a very exciting time for us! I called them the gaz years as throughout these years we’d meet up most nights at our best friends garage -(the gaz!) to hang out and listen to music and play video games, those were more innocent times! B9 was the first apartment either of us had ever moved to away from home. We both lived here with Andy-another producer friend of ours, from 19-22. These were almost like our University years, lots of parties and social gatherings, our decks were always set up, the table tennis table always ready to be arranged into beer pong! We had a studio set up in there for the first two years we were there and a few ideas that made it onto Revolve started there!
DnM: I don’t think it’s possible to put your music in a box – or most music for that matter. Trying to genre-ify and classify it. Some people throw as many adjectives at it see what sticks, others apply an endless list of sub-genres or artists. A question I like asking though – especially knowing how tight you are with family – is say you’re at a family reunion and Grandma Bondax comes up and ask what kind of music you make. What do you tell her? An Explain Like I’m 95?
Bondax: Hmmm it’s a good question! I’ve definitely said to my grandma before that our music (esp Revolve) is our attempt to make modern production versions of older music we love so dearly: Leon Ware-era Motown/Philadelphia Rec-era Disco/Tenorio Jr-era Bossa/Brazilian jazz etc. It’s funny because I don’t think we ever actually laid out that as a goal for our sound, but the influences pierce through the fabric of our music I think!
DnM: It’s certainly noticeable in the album. After all this time how do you guys stay true to that sound, to the ‘Bondax’ sound? Balancing who you are, your creativity, the overall sound you want to make and “shit I ‘ve got bills to pay and food to eat, let’s just make a pop banger”?
Bondax: We definitely realised quite early on that there is no point in compromising with third parties whilst we’re creating our music. We started this together and gained popularity doing what we love so to then pander to the zeitgeist and what’s playing on the radio seems counter-intuitive to our growth as musicians and producers. It also seems disrespectful to our original fan base who’ve been there from day 1. We realised that the album had to be a true representation of us and since we live in this sad time where Long-Play releases are almost obsolete, it had to be the album we dreamed of making.
DnM: We can’t talk Bondax music with jumping into the new album. Let’s talk “Revolve”. It’s more than an album, it’s an experience. Even more so, when you know it tells the story of a day – so to speak. How did this concept come about?
Bondax: We wanted to encapsulate all the different genres and sounds from around the world that we’ve discovered and been influenced by along the way. We’ve always appreciated the importance of context while listening to music and we wanted to try to make an album that had many different tracks for different moods. The combination of those two main thought-processes led us to make an album that loosely goes from morning to the early hours the next day.
DnM: Yeah, you guys have said on several occasions how culture exploration heavily shape your music. I’m curious, where had the most influence on the album?
Bondax: That’s a hard question to answer categorically! We’ve both probably been the most effected by the beautiful places we never really imagined we’d get to see like Asia and South America. We’ve made amazing friends in Seoul and had many good times there (hence ‘Neo Seoul’!) incredible places like Tokyo/Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta/Bali/Bandung spring to mind when we think about Asia and the lovely reception we’ve had there! We’ve honestly met the most incredible people doing this, in Asia and also in South America, places like Mexico and Colombia were both amazing to explore too!
DnM: We know people like LCD Sound System, Prince and D’angelo have hugely influenced your sound. Did anyone new influence the new album? Someone fans wouldn’t expect.
Bondax: We’ve been heavily influenced by lots of different music during the 5-6 years it took this album to come out! Early on we were very inspired by the UK underground scene and our core influences like Bonobo, Quantic and Floating Points have been a constant throughout our musical careers thus far. We’ve both been heavily influenced by the greats such as Alice/John Coltrane, Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, Dorothy Ashby to name a few. Many Brazilian Jazz greats too Tenorio Jr, Luiz Bonfa, Wanda Sa and Luiz Henrique to name a few there! Too many to name really. Also very influenced by Kevin Parker, Nick Hakim and Hiatus Kaiyote.
DnM: How long did it take to finish including the hiatus?
Bondax: Took about 2 years to write and another year recording all the other live instrumentation, we went to Skopje in Macedonia to record the orchestra in summer last year. We also recorded a choir in a church in Hackney, live drums, brass and many vocalists. We also re-recorded all our piano parts on a real Grand Piano, re-did Guitar and Bass parts through better Amps with better preamps and mics.
DnM: The complexity and attention to detail really shine through. But the Reprise of ‘All Inside’ is beautiful. What made you want to come back to this song in particular? And in such a naked way?
Bondax: Thankyou very much! All Inside was always one of our favourite earlier tracks and often one mentioned as a fan favourite. The original track was never properly released, so we felt it would be good to revisit this track on the record and apply the new musical styles/recording techniques we’ve learnt along the way. We finished off the writing for the album in a house in Silverdale, a little seaside town near where we grew up. It felt like we were rediscovering why we made music in the first place, inspired by the scenery and isolation from the beautiful surroundings. We started and basically finished All Inside (Reprise) in Silverdale, but it was never really finished until we added the Macedonian strings!
DnM: Considering this album came at a price (literally), years of time, I’m sure a few laughs and life lessons along the way. What does this album release mean to guys both as people and artists?
Bondax: It really does mean a lot! It’s a milestone in our career that we’ve had in our minds since 2012, so to have finally achieved it despite all the obstacles is amazing. I remember when it came out I was trying to play it down but when I saw the artwork (by Eilish Briscoe) on iTunes it was a crazy feeling! I think it means the most because it’s a marker of our journey, the sound has clearly evolved and developed into something we never even imagined we could make back when we first started.
DnM: Lastly, what can the fans expect moving forward? Whether that’s just 2019 or the next 7 years?
Bondax: We’ll definitely be playing a lot more shows and releasing more music consistently. It will definitely be a while before our second record, however we’re already making plans about what to release next year. More gigs, more music, new releases on our label Recur Recordings!
DnM: Guys, thank you so much for sitting down with me. Hopefully next time you’re in Vancouver we can take this URL to IRL. Until then, Christian Slater China Plate.
Bondax: Thanks a lot for still listening all these years! And massive thanks for waiting so long for the record! We promise not to make you wait another 7 years!