"We all found something to do - I went to Japan - but honestly we were raring to get going again."
"Honestly, it took less than a day probably of getting off the road from our UK tour to ringing each other and going 'is anybody bothered about this time off? We need to get going again'," Bond says down the line from London, reminiscing about the band's "forced holiday" last December after wrapping up their UK tour. "We went gradually insane from having a bit too much time on our hands. Management was saying 'you need this because in a year's time you'll be going around and going why didn't you let us have that time off?'… We all found something to do — I went to Japan — but honestly we were raring to get going again."
With their debut record The Balcony capturing the public's attention and having just taken out a Brit Award for 'British Breakthrough Act', the four piece are excited about getting out on the road again this year to share their new record with fans. "We're all really at a relaxed and excited place at the minute," Bond continues. Having already done a short UK tour this year, the band have bought in some new crew members, new equipment and changed their live sound ahead of their big touring schedule, which takes them through until September. "It was only six dates but it was six of the best dates we've ever done," he says of the tour.
"We were playing to shoebox rooms. It was great to do that again where you're jumping into each other on stage and tripping over each other."
"It's left us all at a really comfortable place to go and do what we need to go out and do this year. We just came back from doing a string of underplays in America where we were playing to shoebox rooms. It was great to do that again where you're jumping into each other on stage and tripping over each other."
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Indeed, the lads have 'blown up' since the release The Balcony in 2014 and Bond says it can be overwhelming at times. "We went out on that six-date UK tour and we put out four new songs. After we took two months off, there was already that little bit of nervousness of 'we're getting back into it now, what if people don't go as crazy any more'. We were playing Soundcheck third in the set and literally the first guitar chord hit and we were able to step back from the mic and [the crowd] did pretty much the entire song before we started.
"It was just the nerves before playing a new track and then it's like 'right, ok, this is going to be good'. We were putting the lyrics from new tracks on our website and people had no idea of the songs but they'd seen the lyrics. We noticed that people in the first few rows were going and learning the lyrics to the tracks but with no melody to put them to."
The Ride, the band's second record, was produced by David Sardy (Oasis, Red Hot Chili Peppers), to the delight of the lads. "Sardy is responsible for making these sounds that we've grown up listening to and would recognise — like that certain acoustic guitar sound," he says. "He worked with Dandy Warhols on that Thirteen Tales [From Urban Bohemia] album, which, for me, some of the guitar sounds on that record are absolutely incredible. It was just lovely to have that security and absolute faith in him that… There was next to no argument making this record because we were coming from exactly the same place. It was just a really easy, fun album to make."
But as for LA, where the album was recorded, the boys didn't have much interest. "As a musician, there's nothing you want outside of Dave Sardy's house," he says. "From the moment you walk in, you've got intricate guitars, pianos, the dreaded synths — no I love synths," he laughs. "Just every instrument under the sun that you can imagine in different rooms. You can go in to each room and mess about and if you don't want to do that then there's a balcony area in the middle where you can just sit around and play each other music. There's a big balcony in the studio and we were trying to get Sardy to let us build a zip-line down to the swimming pool, but he was having none of that."
Although the band is booked out on tour up until September, Bond is certain they'll be back down-under soon. "I'm not actually sure of anything beyond September but I'd imagine end of the year we'd be coming to Australia and Japan," he says. "I don't know of any specific dates but I know that we'll be there and I know that we're all dying to get back over because we truly, truly love the place. After we came to do The Kooks support dates we did, we got to play some of them beautiful, big amphitheatres with them guys and we just really fell in love with the place. It just feels like a holiday touring over there."