Electronic music duo Bondax, consisting of English musicians Adam Kaye and George Townsend, begin their U.S. headline tour in San Francisco with a live show at The Independent. When they return to SF on February 17, they plan to bring a few surprise acts, which have yet to be revealed.
February 3 Update: Bondax has announced 21-year-old producer and DJ, Karma Kid, as support on all dates. This will be Karma Kid’s first time touring the US after touring throughout Europe with Bondax.
Bondax’s current momentum draws similarities to that of fellow UK act Disclosure. Although they have yet to reach that level of popularity, their recent string of releases suggest they are onto something special and are on the rise. While harnessing infectious dance-friendly vibes perfect for the club, their sound can be enjoyed no matter what the environment.
To preview their upcoming concert, we spoke to both Adam and George about the formation of Bondax, their influences, and discovering new music – among other things.
When would you say you formalized Bondax and was there a defining moment when you knew the project had taken off?
Adam: I mean, I guess we started together when we were fifteen [years old]. It’s hard to say a defining moment cause they all kind of add up. What would you say was the defining moment?
George: I don’t know. I think the minute we started to be able to play outside of the North of England. We sort of gained a bit of confidence. We realized our music went a bit further than we were expecting it to. The first London show was quite a big one for us. And then, I don’t know, there’s been a bunch of moments after that. That was the first one where we went ‘wow, something is happening’.
How did you come up with the band name Bondax?
George: It’s one we don’t really like to answer. We dwell in the mystique of it. We basically created the word to sort of give the sound a title. The meaning is personal, but the reason for it is so people would only relate the work with our music. That’s why we kept the name rather than change it. We had some names we liked more but they were less unique. We stuck with Bondax.
Who would you say are your biggest electronic music influences?
Adam: One of the first ones is Bonobo, he’s like one of the originals that took it from being dance music to electronic music that has a lot more depth. When we started out, we were influenced by early dubstep like Pinch and Dark Sky. People like that. There’s too many to name.
George: It’s progressed because our musical knowledge has progressed and our tastes have change. You’ll probably hear that in the music we’re gonna put out – we’re not just going to make the same music forever. Hopefully people enjoy that instead of being deterred by it. Early on, it was very UK influenced.
Speaking of UK influences, I saw that you did two remixes for Foals, what do you admire most about their recent sound?
Adam: We’ve always been a fan of Foals, especially the first album was amazing. We loved how they changed direction for the second album. Proper switched it up. The new album is like a combination of the first three. Cause the third one was more arena rocky, but they toned it down and used old influences of the first two. The fourth one they created a new thing we’re fully down with.
What is the primary way you discover new music?
George: We buy a lot of records, cliche as that sounds. That is an important way for us to connect with cities when we’re travelling. Being able to go and talk with the local record dealer. I think that’s important to us. To buy an LP, not just do it all on the Internet. At the same time I use Spotify and SoundCloud, although Soundcloud is starting to die now.
Is the SoundCloud thing because of all their copyright nonsense?
George: It’s the major labels.
Adam: Always the major labels.
George: There’s still a lot of really good beats you know. You’re not going to find old gems. It’s very rare unless you’re listening to mixes, So we don’t tend to use it for that reason. For finding new producers, it’s the first place we go – as well as for friends and people we know. That’s the best way of finding music, especially in social situations. So many times we’ve been at festivals, parties, or even coffee shops, heard a tune, and asked a person what it is and they give you more recommendations. We find a lot of music that way because we’re travelling a lot of as well. We’re in a good position to find a lot of music. We always feel sad if we haven’t found new music for a while.
How did you meet Swedish singer and songwriter Erik Hassle and how was the process of co-writing the track, “Temptation”?
George: Basically, we knew of Erik and we were fans of his music. We had a link through our manager and he basically, it sounds like a bit industry a bit, but it was actually really natural. We got sent some bits from Erik that we thought were really great. We traveled to his home in Sweden. We got him to co-make tracks with us in London. He’s actually been in the studio with us last week in Manchester, our home studio.
He’s basically a good friends of our. We tend to make music with people we like. Obviously you’re going to achieve something great if you can connect with them both on a personal and social level, and also a greater level of sharing ideas and being able to share what you think about the sound and the lyrics. It’s progressed and we’ve written quite a lot of tunes together. You’re probably gonna hear more from us soon I think.
What was your favorite memory from the New Year’s performance at Dollap Music Festival in Nottingham?
Adam: It’s obvious to sat the twelve o’clock. It was amazing. We’ve never played a midnight set before. We did the countdown and confetti and all that bullshit. It was sick. We played “Chic”. We went for a safe bet. We thought, do we play something a bit more left. It’s not a guilty pleasure, in those situations it seemed obvious it was the right thing to do. It went down well. It all good.
Do you guys have a favorite ice cream flavor?
Adam: That’s interesting. I love the Häagen-Dazs solid caramel vibe.
George: I’d probably back that up as well actually
Adam: In fact, my auntie owns an ice cream parlor in England. They do this amazing coconut ice cream.
What do you enjoy most about visiting San Francisco?
Adam: [We've played] a few times. We played 1015 Folsom three times. It’s like, it’s always one of our favorites cities in America. We love the ‘European-ness’ about it.
George: It seems really liberated compared to a lot of American cities. There’s so many great ideas coming from your part of the world. It’s quite like you can feel it in the air. There’s an exciting feeling about San Francisco. Everyone we’ve met there has inspired us in some way. The city is obviously beautiful in itself in the way it looks. And obviously the weather. We’re not used it to it. We probably have some of our favorite shows in SF. Just playing, it’s like one of our favorite places.
Adam: I think our best shows in America are in SF.
Any chance you could share which of your friends will join you for your live show in SF?
Adam: We can’t yet. We’re gonna do a whole lineup announcement soon. There’s some good friends of ours as the name suggests.
What are you goals for 2016?
Adam: I think the main goal is to just to get all this music writing out and write more. Just keep creating and keep releasing. We have so many songs we’ve made over the past few years. We have to make sure we know which ones to put out, put them out, and then move on. We just kind of do as many as we can. We’re working all of January and a couple weeks in February. Then we’re off on tour for a month and a bit. We get back in April, keep working through May, and have stuff out by end of year. We’ll have stuff out before then, but a bulk of work.