BDRMM – ” Bedroom “

Posted: July 29, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , ,

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The freshly released debut album by these Brits isn’t reinventing any wheels. In fact it could have also been released in the early 90s sounding exactly like this and you can take that as a compliment. bdrmm sound like the lost love child of Slowdive and The Cure, mixing mighty shoegaze moments with dark wave spirit. If you love the sound of those classics and also new groups like DIIV then “Bedroom” is the album for you. It’s a record for the hopelessly romantic indie kid in you, one that chooses a certain nostalgic timelessness over state-of-the-art innovation. bdrmm are doing a great job in recreating this very specific sound and personally I don’t need any innovation here as long as the music is as good as on this one.

With an awkward, vowelless name that has to be constantly explained, it is unsurprising that the titling of Hull / Leeds-based quintet bdrmm’s debut album is eponymous. “We have been pronounced as Boredom, Bdum and my old boss actually thought we were a ska band called Bad Riddim. We’re all sarcastic cunts, so Bedroom spelt correctly seemed like the perfect title,” explains frontman Ryan Smith. Widely praised for their innovative approach to shoegaze in their early singles, the group have taken a sonic and lyrical step up from last year’s If Not, When? EP. With named influences such as RIDE, Radiohead, The Cure, Deerhunter, Slowdive, Beach House, Alex G, Björk, John Maus and DIIV, the album spans krautrock, post-punk, proto-shoegaze and their cross-fading of some tracks means the album is an almost seamless listen.

As intimate as the name suggests, the whole album spans the violent ups and downs of being in your early twenties: “mental health, alcohol abuse, unplanned pregnancy, drugs… basically every cliché topic that you could think of,” reveals Smith. “But that doesn’t mean they ever stop being relevant. It’s a fucker growing up, but I’m lucky enough to have been able to project my feelings in the form of this band, surrounded by four of the best people I’ve ever met.” These four include his younger brother and bassist, Jordan, an old bandmate, Joe, synth player Dan, and drummer Luke. Ranging in age from teenagers to their mid-30s, they played incessantly over the last couple of years, supporting the likes of Fat White Family, Her’s and Viagra Boys. They found themselves on the radar of indie label Sonic Cathedral last January, who initially offered them a show at The Social and asked if they’d be up for contributing to the Sonic Cathedral Singles Club series of 7”s. From there, they went on to release debut EP, If Not, When? and it hit a nerve with BBC Radio presenters, critics and their peers from the palpable and universal feeling of “everything being too good, that it’s inevitably going to come to an end” (Smith). 

Four months in and out of the studio resulted in something truly remarkable, at once elating and dark. More than just a genre record, as something stamped with the label ‘shoegaze’ so often is, Bedroom works its way from fuzzy indie-pop to heavier dirges via sound collages and a distorted sample of a Megabus driver. We’ve been sent this exclusive track by track of the album, so delve into bdrmm’s world as you listen:

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Momo

‘Momo’ is named after a pretty fucked-up online hoax – a viral game that allegedly got sent to students’ phones that would goad them into violence and suicide. Our manager works in a school and he got really convinced that it was real, and to this day we’ll never let him live it down. It seemed only fitting that it be cemented in history as the first track on an album he helped create. I’ve always been a fan of instrumental openings to albums, I feel they’re like the opening credits, and set the mood of what the listener is in for.

Push/Pull

We really wanted to make an album that flowed seamlessly throughout, so hearing ‘Momo’ going into ‘Push/Pull’ like it does is something special. It’s not an album filled with random tracks, it’s meant to be listened to in full, in order. We spent so much time deciding on the tracklisting, there were so many different combinations. ‘Push/Pull’ is a recollection of the first time you meet somebody. It’s quite dark as it’s not a generic ‘how I met the love of my life’ story. It’s remembering them from the End.

A Reason To Celebrate

A reason to celebrate was actually going to be the name of the album. This is our ode to the genre, I think; we wanted to make a proper shoegaze record. I was sat in my old house about two years ago just messing about on an acoustic guitar with five strings and came up with the chord progression and sent it onto Joe [Vickers, bdrmm guitarist]. We agreed it needed to be something. It’s about proudly, yet stupidly, letting go. It’s the voice in your head giving you all the different reasons why you should. I love this track, it’s a personal favourite. When we play it live, we never want to stop.

Gush

‘Gush’ is a very, very, very old song. It’s a very personal track, too, probably the most I’ve ever delved into my own life with a track. As much as I would love to share this topic, I feel it’s too much. I shared something very special with somebody, which we lost. It was a very upsetting couple of months for us, but we got through it. This track is filled with optimism because things do get better, no matter how bad they get. Be there for your loved ones, always.

Happy

Ahhh, ‘Happy’. This is our song. We have been playing it live, practicing it, working on it since we started playing together. It’s one of the first tracks I ever wrote and has proudly stood the test of time. I actually have a video of the first show we ever played which includes it. This song is all about bitterly yet humbly wishing somebody who has hurt you the best. You’re sick of fighting, you’re tired, you just want to move on, and if that means you have to be the bigger person, so be it. You deserve to be.

(The Silence)

(The Silence)’ was created in the studio. It was a day when it was just me and Alex [Greaves, producer], working on some guitar parts and some extra synth. I think we got a bit carried away in dragging out the ending of ‘Happy’, which can happen when you’re working with a Space Echo. They’re like crack for anybody making this kind of music. Alex added layers and layers of synth, and a beautiful guitar line. Nothing about it is in time, it’s very disjointed, especially when the drums come in. We’re both huge Deerhunter fans, so took a lot of inspiration from them. I went into the vocal booth and it was a proper turn all the lights off moment. The vocals were recorded in pitch darkness. “The silence, you speak, in my ear. Proves that, you can’t, be here”.

It’s literally about somebody having nothing to say. There’s nothing to be heard.

(Un)Happy

We always follow ‘Happy’ with a little jam, which is playing the same chords in half time, kinda just trudging along. It’s very moody. I didn’t expect it to make its way on the album, but I’m so glad it did. It’s a part of ‘Happy’ now. ‘Happy’, ‘(The Silence)’ and ‘(Un)Happy’ are a trilogy. There is a sample underneath at the end which you can hear which is a voice recording I took of the driver of the Megabus from Manchester to Leeds. I’d had the worst night, I had to steal a phone charger from Poundland to book a coach home because I had no money. I was stealing food from Tesco, it was raining and it was a real low point for me. I had a real problem with alcohol and drug abuse, this was the day I realised it needed to sort it out, which I’m definitely on the road with. But when I was on the bus home, the driver was having a conversation on the phone with his mate about meeting up after his final journey. It brightened up what was a very bleak day, I’m glad I stole that charger now.

If….

This track is named after the 1968 Lindsay Anderson film If….. Not because it’s about Malcolm McDowell or school shootings, but because I watched it a lot during the period when I was getting over somebody. Its sheer bleakness made me realise that there are a lot more fucked up things in the world than getting out of a relationship, so stop moping about and do something about it. It’s now become one of my favourite films of all time. I’m a big film enthusiast, so I am indebted to who showed me it. She’s great, too.

Is That What You Wanted To Hear?

This is the first track we completely finished in the studio. It all came together so beautifully; it was a symphony of one-takes. This is another one we love playing live, it’s got all the parts to be a really pretty song, but it’s not. It’s about standing up for yourself. “Fine, you win, I never felt what you felt. Is that what you wanted to hear?”. After constantly reassuring someone that you love them, but they don’t believe it, you just give up. There’s only so much truth telling you can withstand before you start lying to yourself.

Forget The Credits

This was originally just called ‘Forget’. It’s almost like a weight being lifted from your shoulders. The chords drift off into space taking everything that’s just happened with it. It was always meant to be the last song on the album. I remember when I recorded the first demo, it was the first time I played drums for a track. It’s very open ended. It’s the end of a chapter, not the end of the story.

bdrmm release debut full-length album Bedroom on Sonic Cathedral on 3rd July 2020.

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