Interviews

In Conversation with…BEDLAM CROOKS

Bedlam Crooks are an indie five-piece from Bromley. With their infectious, melodic indie pop they are sure to get you dancing. They are one of the most passionate bands I have ever come across, their love for music is beautiful to see and the dedication that they have to their craft is unrivalled. They are truly good at what they do, and they are only just beginning, with the release of their début album imminent, they are about to take the country by storm. 

I caught up with the band’s frontman, Zakk Dodd, for an exclusive chat about their début album, Stay Curious, and everything else in between. Read on to hear what he said.

Hi Zakk. Firstly, I’d like to say thanks for this interview. Can you introduce yourself and the band and what role you play in the band?

Yeah, there’s Tom on bass, Eren on synth, Dave on drums, Rob on guitar and I’m Zakk and I play guitar and do the vocals.

For those people that may have never heard your music before. How would you describe it to them in 5 words or less?

Honest, passionate, creative expression recorded.

What’s the story behind your band name? It’s always intrigued me to know, as I’m sure it has many others.

Yeah, well we’ve actually been asked this question a few times to my surprise. Well, originally we wanted to be called Crooks, but there were a million and one other bands online with that name, including a band of relative size at the time called “The Crookes”. They’re actually doing quite well now, whereas at the time they weren’t as big, so it’s quite fortunate that we decided to add a prelude. We spent a few days thinking of words to go before it, and I was on a bus and I saw the word “bedlam” on an advertising poster for a TV program or something. Anyway, it stuck.

Your début album, Stay Curious, will be released on 5th October. How did you come up with the album title and how long did it take you to finally decide on that name?

I read an interview with Heath Ledger a few years ago. I can’t remember exactly how it went, it was a while ago now, but he was basically saying how he wanted to live his life and the philosophy that goes with it. He ended it by saying something like “…I just want to be happy and continue to grow as a human being. I just want to stay curious.” I thought that was a brilliant sentiment and the last two words always stuck with me. “Stay Curious” is the last song on the album, and we thought it would be a good title for the record, it fits with a lot of recurring themes, such as freedom, youth and the feeling that we have outgrown our current situations and that possibly, there is more out there.

You spent the last year working on your debut album, how has that process been?

Brilliant. It’s been amazing to create something of this size, it’s completely different to anything any of us have done. We love playing music, and we’re all on a pretty similar level. I think as bands go, we really get along most of the time. I think we’ve learnt a lot writing it. It’s also been the biggest stress ever though, I’ve woken up every morning thinking about the next move and what needs to be done since last August, that’s nearly a year of obsession haha. 

In anticipation of your début album, you will be headlining your own album launch gig at London’s Borderline. I’m sure that will be a special night.

Yeah, we’re looking forward to it. We want it to be more of a party than a gig, but we have a lot of ideas for it. That show is the precipice of 14 months of sheer graft. You only get to release your debut album once, and I wouldn’t like to give away too much, especially as a lot of it isn’t set in stone yet, but we really want to make a statement with that show. I want us to lose our heads, really give in to everything we’ve spent so long crafting, and it would be nice if everyone joined us.

Thank you again for sending me a preview of one of your new songs, Next Animal. I see a real new direction with that song. It is safe to say that you’ve refined your sound and it’s evolved since your début EP, Beaches, came out. Do you agree?

Oh yea completely. With this album we’ve got a lot to fight for. I think we’ve all come to the same place at the same time and realized a lot of things. This album is really honest, there’s nothing written for the sake of it and everything relates to us. I think with “Beaches”, save for the title track itself, it was a confused record. We didn’t really know what we wanted to say, and we had too much of an idea of what we wanted to sound like.

With “Stay Curious” we’ve got under each others skin, when we’re feeling it there’s a telepathy that runs through us that we didn’t have then. We also threw away any preconceptions of what we thought we should sound like and just wrote the notes and beats that made us “feel” the most.

How many songs did you write for the album in total?

I don’t think we can say for sure, the writing process was very manic and frenzied. We easily wrote 25 full songs, but there were half written songs that got scrapped before they were even done, and there were more riffs and ideas than I would like to even imagine.

In the past year also, you found the time to tour the country. Do you have a favourite place that you’ve travelled to, or a favourite venue that you’ve played?

Yes, definitely The AKA in Banbury. Everyone would agree. We went there on our last tour and it was just brilliant. It’s a really cool venue anyway, it’s got a nice vibe, but that’s the best experience we’ve had. The crowd was good and they got involved and that was cool considering they most probably had never heard us before, but the guys who run it and put on shows are absolute dons. They know what they’re doing, I’d recommend artists and punters alike, go there.

Speaking of touring, can we be expecting a full UK tour any time soon?

We’re not really sure actually right now. It’s a strange feeling. Since we started everything has been so regimented and organised, we’ve always known our next move and we’re always working towards something. But right now we can’t deal in absolutes because it depends on how everything is received.

Once we start putting out the single, that will determine how we put out the album, and once we put out the album, the reaction to that will determine how we do everything else. This is the first time we’ve been stuck in limbo, and it’s a little frustrating but we’re moving forward and for now it’s just a case of working and waiting. In any case, whatever happens we will definitely tour January/February time.

Any bands that you’re dying to tour with?

Yea loads! I’d love to tour with Drenge, I think we’d fit quite well on a bill, and I love their sound. Also King Krule, what a chap. There’s a band we played with a few months ago at Scala called Alaska Campus too, they were really good. Also Coasts, they have a cool sound and quite a few people keep telling us we should play with them, that would be pretty awesome.

If you could create your dream line-up for a gig. Who would you choose to be on the bill?

I think taking everyone into consideration:

David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust era)

Foo Fighters

Biffy Clyro

Foals

Frank Turner

Which songs do you have on repeat at the moment?

I’m so addicted to Do I Wanna Know? by Arctic Monkeys. I’ve also been quite partial to Seven Nation Army again recently. Eren won’t shut up about Grimes at the moment, but I couldn’t tell you what songs haha.

Are there any new artists that have caught your attention recently that you’d like to share with us?

Yes actually. We played with a band called Bordeauxxx a few weeks ago. They were incredible, go check them out. As I say Alaska Campus were beyond good, and Edit/Select are a cool band from South East London that we’ve shared a few stages with over the last year.

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A big thanks to Bedlam Crooks for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below.

https://www.facebook.com/bedlamcrooks

https://twitter.com/BedlamCrooks

https://soundcloud.com/bedlam-crooks

Charlotte Holroyd
A lover of music and cinema. Constantly attending gigs and in search of a great experience.

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