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The Review - MUSIC - grooves with RóISíN GADELRAB
Published: 12 November 2009
Bombay Bicycle Club: Jack Steadman, Jamie MacColl, Ed Nash and Suren de Saram
Bombay Bicycle Club: Jack Steadman, Jamie MacColl, Ed Nash and Suren de Saram
Bicycle boys on the frame game


REMEMBER Saffy from Absolutely Fabulous? Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jamie MacColl evokes memories of the studious, sensible offspring of a hard-partying PR in the now past-it BBC sit-com.
Almost the reluctant indie star, Jamie, whose dad Neill is the late Kirsty’s brother and son of folk legend Ewan, explains: “I come from a family of musicians but I only really started learning guitar when we formed Bombay Bicycle Club. A lot of what I learned is from (lead singer) Jack and a little from my dad. You know when kids rebel against what their parents did and what they wanted to do? I wasn’t that interested in learning guitar when I was younger.”
The band has been attracting critical acclaim for some time. The BBC are about to re-release the much-lauded Always Like This single, yet Jamie’s happier at home reading about Romans.
The band, whose members attended USC and Camden School for Girls, will share the bill with Everything Everything, The Maccabees and Editors on the launch night of Mencap’s Little Noise Sesssions at the Union Chapel on November 16.
Jamie said: “It’s really atmospheric and the acoustics are amazing. We’ll be doing an acou­stic performance with strings, brass and a cello. There are two sides to the band and one of them is more folky. We are going to release an EP next year so we’ll play a few songs from that.”
To counteract the cramped, intense conditions of tour bus life the boys spend as much time apart as possible when not working.
But Jamie admits: “We’re thinking about living together – we might kill each other.”
And when on tour what do they get up to? “Sleep, try and party but kind of fail because you’re on a bus and there’s not really all that much room,” says Jamie. “I read quite a lot. I’m reading a book called The Roman Revolution by Ronald Syme. I like classics, play rugby, I enjoy not doing anything. The rest of the band are quite quiet ­people as well and I’m not particularly talkative.”
So typical rock stars then. Despite his late musical enlightenment, Jamie’s pedigree has left some impact.
“Some of my earliest memories were of going to my dad’s gigs,” he says. “He’s done a bit of everything – he’s David Gray’s guitarist, does quite a lot of folk. That’s probably part-influenced my interest in folk music. [Kirsty McColl] died when I was 10. I didn’t actually see them that much but she’s an amazing singer and it’s great to be part of that family.”
Jamie admits he’s not that keen on the band’s name, which came from a curry house in Hampstead. “It was the day before our first gig and Jack just walked past it,” he says.
But has he come round to the idea of re-releasing Always Like This? “It came out three months before the album and under the radar I guess,” says Jamie. “I’m not that into the idea of re-releases but on this occasion I was talked into it I think – by ourselves as well. It’s got a lot more attention. I genuinely think it’s a really good song, it deserves to be heard. So I think it’s good. It’s not a big pop song, it’s a song that’s got something about it – it’s interesting and catchy.”

• Mencap’s Little Noise Sessions run from November 16-24, and include Alexandra Burke, Florence and the Machine, Richard Hawley, David Gray. Lostprophets, Mika, Taio Cruz and Newton Falkner. Visit www.little
• Bombay Bicycle Club play Koko on December 18

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