This article first appeared on The AU Review
For many Australian acts the age of the bedroom recording project is in full swing and Melbourne’s Terry Mann, aka Coach Bombay, is perhaps one of the best examples around at the moment. Dishing out chirpy electro-pop tunes since 2009 from within those four walls of his, the Coach has built a reputation on fun, all the while claiming an inspiring fan base before even playing his first live show. With the latest single Girls impressing everyone it comes in contact with, Coach Bombay has been trekking about the east coast for a few shows to support it, and Jesse Lewis chatted to the man behind it all about finally going live, what makes up a bedroom recording and of course, the Ducks.
How’d the show go in Melbourne last Friday?
Oh yeah, it was a bunch of fun. So great to play with Halcyon Drive and The Twoks, so it’s always really exciting to have a really fun line-up too. We haven’t had a live show since April, so it’s been a little while. It was so great to be playing again.
Yeah, wow. On that, you’ve been around since 2009…
Yes, so I’ve been kind of doing it – as a lot of them are – as a bedroom producer project since 2009. The first song that I had a go at in this kind of style got picked up out of the blue from the Triple J people and there was a bit of buzz around it. I’ve just been putting out heaps of music really and it was only the last year I finally got the live version up and running.
So you’ve only started playing live shows since 2013. How come it took so long to get that going?
Well I’d always imaged it kind of coming together a little bit sooner. It’s not that I hadn’t been thinking about making it live, it just turned out to be quite a long process really. I guess the process of finding the people to go ahead with it this time around, getting those people together, rehearsing it up and figuring out which songs are going to work the best probably took almost a year before we were around to the very first show. There was always a lot going on in my mind about how to how to get all the millions of layers in the songs translated to live. What to keep and what to get rid of. Whether to put extra live things like guitar in there. Because there is guitar in the live show, but there’s not in the recordings. So yeah, it took a lot longer than I ever expected to before it was a live project, but I’m really glad I’ve done it now.
Yeah nice. Well, the 2012 album Pops came out when you hadn’t yet played live shows. Have you found a difference in the reception from fans for the new tracks like Cool Thing and Girls since you’ve started playing live?
I guess the main difference is that you can see how it works in a room full of people – which is a completely different thing. You can see the response you get in a much more exciting way rather than hearing about people enjoying the recording. I always love hearing about what people think of the recording, because that’s where it all started. But seeing people’s response to a live show is just that extra level exciting.
You mentioned before that it began as a bedroom recording project, and I always wonder when people say that. How much of the actual process between writing to finished project is actually done in the bedroom?
I never thought about it that way actually, about just someone being in their bedroom getting it done. Almost sounds a bit sexy. I think it’s the production side of it that definitely happens in the bedroom, that’s where your computer is. But writing all the different melodies and lyrics and all the elements that go in can happen all over the place. If I’ve got a strong melody going and I wanna develop it into a song and get the lyrics down, a really good place to do that is riding a bike. You can have the melody floating around in your head and while you’re trying to figure out the lyrics you’re also getting all this oxygen into your brain. So, it’s definitely not all happening in the bedroom.
Ha, cool. Well I think what I’ve heard from you so far is about the happiest sounding tracks around. What inspires you day to day for you to make that kind of electro-pop music?
Something that clicked with me one day years ago is that I’d be looking through my iPod for an album that was just feel good happiness without being completely terrible, from start to finish. I realised that there wasn’t something, that I knew of and really liked, that I could go to for that. And I thought, I kind of wish there was. So I thought wouldn’t it be great to endeavour to make something like that. To see if its possible and see if it can be done well. So I guess that combined with the general feeling that I think positive thinking is the most undervalued resource in the world made me want to just do this and pursue it for a while.
Nice, well I think you’ve got it down pretty well. You’ve gone through a massive transition in the last year, finally playing live and releasing the new singles. What is Coach Bombay about now?
It’s definitely about the positive thinking and feelings. In our live show we try to channel that as well. If we’re just about to go on stage we don’t really say to each other, “Make sure you hit this note, or do this thing or remember the way we rehearsed it”. We just try to have heaps of fun out there. It’s a completely different situation to being in a rehearsal and hopefully that translates.
The film clip for Cool Thing is an epic collaboration of old connery-era James Bond films, and it just fits so well with the song. Did you have Bond in mind when you wrote it?
Unlike a lot of the other ones that could be about personal things, that one kind of was about a made up character really. I wanted to make a character that is kind of like that Bond, that charming guy who’s also a bit of a bastard that girls can’t resist. The Bond style of character was floating around in my mind when I was working on a song. So when I was thinking about what to do for a video that popped into my mind. I do really like editing video, that kind of archival stuff or whatever I can get my hands on. I had many hours trawling through the first four Bond movies to find the right shots to fit the lyrics.
Well it’s a top clip, you can’t really go wrong with Connery’s Bond. So yeah, for the remaining legs of the tour for “Girls”, you were at BIGSOUND in Brisbane as well as Sydney this weekend. Is there any you’re looking forward to playing particularly?
Well I’ve never played a Coach Bombay set in Sydney or Brisbane before, so I’m just looking forward to playing interstate for the first time. Wherever we would be playing I’d be excited about it, but it does sound pretty fun to be down at Bondi playing near the beach and hopefully it will be nice day and evening.
So now that we’ve got all the music related questions out of the way, I figured I should ask a question I’ve personally wondered about. What’s your favourite Mighty Ducks movie out of the three?
Ha, yeah, I don’t think anyone could say the third one, it’s pretty forgettable. It’s gotta be number one really. Except I’m always tempted to say number two just because of the implausibility of how far they’ve gotten and still being from pretty much the same neighbourhood and all of a sudden they’re deemed the best in the country. And for the scene where Coach Bombay is eating ice cream with the enemy, Iceland’s assistant coach and having a bit of a flirt. That was a pretty excellent scene.
The single Girls is available on iTunes and Spotify right now. Coach Bombay’s tour in support of the new track continues this weekend, Saturday, 13th September in Sydney at Beach Road Hotel, Bondi.