“Our parents told us to be something,” says Simon Briley, “so We Are Bandicoot.” The five piece Alt-Rock band from Kent, England, was in fact called that because they liked the name of the small Australian animal, made popular by the Playstation game, Crash Bandicoot.
Like their video game counterpart, We Are Bandicoot are focused on being bright entertainment. “We are all about the live, festival vibes. We go down well there and get to wear crazy shit like tutu’s and cloud outfits. We love festivals too, so it’s win-win,” Simon continues. “We focus on bringing a party live so people want to see us.”
I’m writing this piece, compiled from a conversation between two of the bandmates, Simon (lead vocals, guitar, synth) and Lewis (bass, back-up vocals), while listening to their debut release, the nine-track Temper (November 2016). Recorded live off the floor, this album is very much belongs to the most experimental band I’ve ever covered on my blog. Being described as “Psychedelic Noise Spaz” by a festival is a pure compliment – the way they go off each others’ unconventional instrument lines is far beyond their one and a half years of playing together.
Within that time, they had already toured halfway around the world: six weeks in Cambodia, of all music markets! Lewis explains that they might not have genetic family there, but many close friends for work. “We just got chatting to local promoters and played local shows, as many as we could. There is a tendency to live your life online these days as a band, but we get our kicks through our live shows. We also plan to go to Europe and Australia this year and see where our music will take us.”
On lessons learnt while touring, Lewis shares: “in all seriousness there is an expense to touring but it is possible to survive if you are willing to play anywhere. We are excited for our next ones. We’ve learnt that we shouldn’t sit and wait to be offered the chance to tour. If we want to do it we can!”
Simon’s favourite memory of Cambodia was “[playing] Otres Market; that was dope. Loads of people, sick atmosphere all on a wooden structure over a lake, pretty surreal. Lewis’ is probably different though, what is it dude?” “We played on a deserted island to about ten people and got to pitch our hammocks next to the ocean.” “I guess it wasn’t completely deserted then!” Simon laughs.
For future tour dates, the band recommends signing up for their mailing list, via the We Are Bandicoot Facebook page. “We aim to send out an email every month or two. We manage it ourselves. It’s important and a great way to open up conversation with punters at venues. It’s [fairly] easy to do, just time consuming. But like everything if you’re on top of it, then yeah mailing lists are cool.”
We Are Bandicoot still does most promotion themselves. Even though they recently signed a deal with the “renowned local label” Blizzard Records, they still helped produce Temper. “I would encourage artists to take on as much as the think possible before getting anyone else involved. Let the deal come to you. Keep playing, and writing and loving it,” Simon advises. “We love music, all music and we love playing and we love people. Playing in front of people and seeing them have a great time makes us have a great time, regardless of venue, size of crowd, or our own image brand. We can’t wait to lay some new material down. We have been writing a lot recently and will be testing some of this material in our upcoming festival sets.”