BAGHEERA is a young band from Liverpool, England. With only the self produced, released, and shared Hollow Home e.p. under its belt, (and under 7000 hits on their Myspace page) it’s safe to say they’re new to the game. But it’s not too hard to see that this band is going places. The as-yet-unsigned trio consists of Tom Cowcher, Sam Twidale and Jacob Silkin. All of whom are students of music at the University of Liverpool, and by the sounds of things they have been paying attention. Tom and Sam took some time away from rehearsals to talk about who they are, perfectionism, and how a young band can sound so accomplished so early in a career. Also included is the link to the Hollow Home e.p. We don’t condone stealing, so understand that the band intended to give this away for free. And enjoy!
Chris Bowman: So first off, this is BAGHEERA from Liverpool, not Missouri.
Tom Cowcher: Yeah, that’s right. I think there’s a Dutch symphonic rock band as well, with the same name. We’re not them.
CB: So there’s three Bagheera’s then?
Sam Twidale: Yeah, maybe.
TC: Maybe more!
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CB: After having a quick glance at your Myspace page, you seem to be getting a fair amount of positive responses, even some attention from the BBC.
ST: Yes, the blogs have been fairly kind to us. We’ve had some nice things written.
TC: Yeah, we were on BBC 6 as the unsigned band of the week a few weeks ago. We’ve been played on there a couple of times now. A few people have emailed as well and asked for a copy of the e.p. It’s been quite exciting.
CB: Have you been getting any label attention?
TC: We’ve got lots of ideas for labels and stuff like that. But we’re still students. Our aim is to get a bigger name for ourselves over the coming year.
ST: We haven’t sent anything out to any labels as of yet. We’re hoping to record and self release another e.p. toward the end of the year.
TC: We don’t have a big enough repertoire. And we’d like a better idea of how things are going to be before we start doing things like that. The e.p. we just put out was more for promotion and getting gigs and things like that. The next one will be more of an official thing.
CB: I wanted to talk about the e.p. it’s self produced. It has incredible depth and texture to it. Have you had producing experience before?
ST: This is the biggest thing we’ve produced together. We all study music tech. as part of our course at university. But we’ve never done anything at such a length.
TC: We’ve done it before, it’s quite a learning opportunity. We were definitely getting better as we went on and by the end we were a lot better than we were at the beginning (laughs)! So we’re going to continue to do that, and get better.
CB: How does that sound translate live? With all the harmonies do you all sing?
ST: Yes. We all sing. We use a fair amount of samples and loops to translate the songs live. And we aim to get them as close as we can to how we recorded them. Obviously little details have to be dropped here and there. But with the loops, samples and drum pads we can do a fair amount just the three of us.
TC: We write the stuff, and well, we’re kind of reluctant to let anyone else join the band (laughs). We’ve just not found anyone that we thought we’d get on well enough with and just sort of trust enough. We spend ages adding bits and pieces and then we think, “Well how can we feasibly do this with just three people?” So we end up making loops and noises and we trigger them (with a drum pad). But it’s quite an energetic thing. We try to make it epic and big. The recordings are little more spacious I think, but we try to give it a little more of a punch.
CB: You are a young band. 20-21 years old. How is it your songs sound so much older than you?
ST: Well, we’re all studying music at university so we’re always sharing new bands that we find. Our influences are Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective and things like that, which you can probably hear (laughs). So basically it just comes from listening loads of that kind of stuff and discussing it.
TC: We’re sticklers for perfectionism. We spend a lot of time just going over and over and over bits until they sound as we want them. We don’t tend to settle for anything, which can be laborious, but it’s good. I think, the two of us certainly, have played guitar since we were quite young. We’ve been in jazz bands and things like that. So we’ve got a fair bit of theoretical knowledge behind it as well. I think we just listen to our favorite bands and we want to make something as good, even if we’ve borrowed from them a lot.
CB: Well, you have your influences but they are definitely put through a BAGHEERA filter.
ST: I think you get that with all three of us coming together. The ideas that may be similar to one band or another get changed when the three of us come together and make the complete song. Then it ends up sounding like BAGHEERA other than Grizzly Bear or whomever.
TC: We all bring different influences to the table. Jacob loves his world music and anything that came out of Mali really (laughs). And I have a Simon & Garfunkel obsession. So it’s quite a big compromise.
ST: Yes. Definitely.
TC: We all have a little say in each bit, I suppose. But I think a lot of the sound comes from the production though, and the fact that we have very limited resources. We’ve just used to condenser microphones to record the whole thing. And we had to record each drum separately. So from that it has its own features. I suppose a lot of people would use proper studios and be more professional.
CB: What is the band currently working on?
T: Well, we’re out in the countryside working on ideas for our live performance. But at the same time we’ve got a lot of plans for some new songs that we’re quite excited by.
ST: Yeah, we’re looking forward to recording those songs when we get back to university probably in September. We’ll spend a couple of months on that and also gigging around that time as well because we need to get the name out.
CB: How many songs do you have in your live repertoire?
TC: Well, it takes ages to work out how we want them to sound.
ST: They change for every gig. We realize how they could be better and then we have to make another load of samples. But there are probably six that we can do well live now.
TC: It’s a small amount but we don’t want to just get up and do like the normal three piece. Drum, bass and guitar. It takes so much time just for one song, just to try and work out how to make it as good as it can possibly be. We have a lot more songs in the pipeline, it’s just a matter of getting them to sound the way we want them. But they’re on the way.
CB: All of you are currently in school. What is the plan for the band in the immediate future?
TC: We’re going to do our last year, and then take the next year to really push BAGHEERA. By then we’ll have enough material and confidence and we’ll feel ready to really go for it. I think at the moment we’re stuck between our commitments to university, which we know we have to finish, and then when that’s done we’ll be able to really immerse ourselves in it. That’s our plan.
Keep an eye on this band. It may be a year or two, but they will be in a town near you. And when they get there, they’ll be ready.