Ed Nash talks branching out from Bombay Bicycle Club with solo outfit Toothless

When Bombay Bicycle Club announced they would be going on an indefinite hiatus it didn’t mean that they were quitting music by any means and for us, while we were bummed out by the band’s decision to put the Bombay focus on the back burner, the concept of new music projects from the members was exciting on its own.

Already, their decision to take time and explore their own avenues has been a positive one, with bass player Ed Nash coming out the gates swinging with some great new music under his new moniker of Toothless. Recent months has seen him debut new material in “Terra” and “Kairos” – combinations of dreamy soundscapes and sharp production that harks back to early Bombay for some, while definitely striking out as something fresh and new.

Toothless’ acoustic set for Vevo at The Great Escape marked Nash’s second-ever live performance with the material, before a full electronic set would follow later on that evening. The set wasn’t without its initial shakes, but it took little to no time at all for Nash to find his rhythm and deliver a stunning show (backed by some impressive musos on stage with him).

Following his set, we take up a spot outside the venue to talk some more about the origins of Toothless and where Nash is headed with his music now Bombay Bicycle Club is in the rearview. A longtime friend of the AU’s, he recalls sharing initial pieces of what would become “Terra” with our Founder, Larry Heath, a few years ago.

“I actually played it to him a long time ago, when I’d first written it. I’d gone for lunch with him, completely unrelated, and he asked what I was doing – I played him “Terra” in its earliest form, I believe. That was over a year ago now.”

“It [“Terra”] was the first song that was written for the record,” he says, talking us through the beginning of the whole Toothless project. “When we were touring the last Bombay record towards the end of 2014, I was like, ‘I’m going to put an EP out and do something with this music that I’ve made’. There was quite a lot there and I thought I may as well make it more public. That was written around then, so a year and a half ago. The foundation for the record was laid down then, but I’d been thinking about doing it for years and years. An indefinite amount of time.”

Though in Toothless we’re seeing Nash at the forefront more than ever before as vocalist, guitarist and frontman, he admits he’s been writing his own music for way longer than his career with Bombay has extended.

“I think about 25 years, really!” he laughs. “Everyone has their whole life to write their first album and while I was part of Bombay Bicycle Club, those were Jack‘s songs. I wasn’t the songwriter. I’ve always written music and played music and played in bands aside from that; I started playing music when I was 12 and I started writing music and recording it a bit later on, maybe when I was 16.”

“It’s fantastic,” he says of his new project. “It’s the best thing that I’ve done. It’s one of those things that I kick myself for not having done it before, but if I’d done it before, I probably wouldn’t have done it right. I was really enjoying what I had before, so this is the perfect time for it. It’s amazing.”

While enthusiastic about the music he’s been crafting on his own over the past year especially, Nash is slightly coy when I turn the attention to the show he’d just played.

“It’s a baptism by fire.” he laughs. “I must say, one thing that was great about playing with Bombay Bicycle Club and helping out making music on all the stages, was that I could see and learn from other professionals that we worked with. Look at touring and how to put a show together that works and learn that all while I wasn’t in the firing line myself. There were four of us that bore the brunt of it, whereas here, if it fucks up, it’s just me! Which is fine! That was the second show and I think I’ve gotten it to a good place; it’ll get better, but it’s in a decent place now.”

“I guess there are slight nerves,” he admits, noting the prospect of stepping up and taking the solo limelight. “Good nerves. Because we decided to take some time off from Bombay Bicycle Club, I made the decision that I’d wanted to do this professionally and for myself, whether it be with those guys or not. I was going to go for it. Any nerves that are there are because I’m excited. I’m happy to stand be these songs, I like them.”

“That was the turning point with the project; I guess you could associate it with stuff outside of music, but you have to be able to stand by the art you make to be able to fully go with it. With music, probably the reason I didn’t put it out or go solo or make a record before, was because I was nervous or apprehensive about what people thought of me or the music. Now, I don’t really care. I don’t really mind and I’ll stand by it. People won’t like it and people will like it. I’m very happy to be associated with the name Toothless.”

At present, we’re still in the early stages of seeing where Toothless is headed. A debut album is currently in the works and live shows are still being locked down, opportunities for Nash to further explore how this new music can be realised in a live environment. Working out of Bombay bandmate Jack Steadman’s studio and having the ever-talented Chris Coady on board with production duties has Nash feeling good about how the album is coming along.

“I wanted to make sure I could do the shows first, both electric and acoustic,” he explains of his current approach to performing live. “Now that they’re there, I want to play as many as possible. I’ve mixed the first part of the album and I’m aiming to finish recording and mixing the second half, which shouldn’t take too long. It’s mostly written, but I need to re-record some vocals and go into Jack’s studio for a bit. Chris Coady, the guy who mixed TV on the Radio and Beach House, is mixing the record, so when the songs are done he’ll mix the remainder of it. It’s full steam ahead, onwards and upwards.”

“The thing I’ve found most exciting is that I could make a record in my living room,” Nash says. “I’m really, really excited to wake up every day, with technology as it is, and have a laptop there where I can plug in guitar, drums and record it all by myself at home. You’re creating something from nothing every day. That’s what I’m most excited about.”

Find out more about Toothless HERE and on Facebook.


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