The phone line is awash with chicken bravado. “We like to do a bit of cheffing when we’re on tour,” brags Adam Kaye one half of Bondax; the 20-year-old garage revivalists three years into a blazed trail across the dance industry. “We have a speciality southern fried chicken that we marinade for two hours, normally in Reggae Reggae Sauce,” laughs his colleague George Townsend.
The pair have taken a precious hour out of writing their debut album to chat to DJ Mag about their increasingly bustling schedule. Today, aside from writing some material with Southampton ambient producer Tropics, their diary is concerned with a recently-announced 12-date UK tour, a rumoured mix CD and a new summery single called ‘All I See’. And this is a schedule that doesn’t even include having to talk about THAT internet photo all the time. A point we’ll come to later.
However, just now they’ve moved on to boast about how they’re going to schmooze their parade of tour guests. “We’ve mastered our milkshakes,” breezes Adam. “So we are really going to look after all our secret tour guests. We’ll prepare dishes depending on how special they are. They might even get a steak. Or maybe some sea bass, but they’ve got to be serious to get that out of us.”
Judging by the fast ascent of Bondax, this cheeky pair will probably be flash-frying all manner of bass fairly often. They have engineered a meteoric rise despite a scant discography. Yet the clichés are working in their favour, as quality reigns over quantity.
Hurl in mixes for well-respected magazines and acclaimed American podcasts, then warm further with some Red Bull Studios incubation, before liberally simmering with vocal talents from MNEK, Kate Stewart, Zach Able and Karma Kid. The result is a banquet of justified hype, a feast of alluring and soulful dance music with a zesty garage twist.
If we rewind to the start of this journey, Adam and George admit they were unlikely pals. Adam was sitting about writing predictable teenage indie platitudes on a sad guitar. George was more into sport and increasingly digital music. However Lancaster is a small place and before too long boredom had driven them to hang out, start making ropey tunes and enter a Danish remix competition for a band called Kiss, Kiss, Kiss. As George remembers, “We had no links to anyone in the industry. We had no way of getting our music heard. So we entered in our remix.
We thought it was the best thing ever. In fact it was terrible. But we won the competition, and our remix went out in Denmark on EMI.”
At this point they formed a cross-town alliance to blend their love of softer music with an electronic twist. “It was great just knowing your music was good enough to be released,” enthuses George. “Life is about confidence.
So if you have the confidence to go with the flow and do whatever you’re going to do then personally I think you will achieve anything, because you’ll drive to success regardless of talent. For that reason, that was one of the most important moments of our career. We went on to just make music all the time and hang out all the time.”
Adam further pinpoints a key moment of their catalytic friendship. “The real point that shaped our musical taste was when we started sampling. Because that was when we discovered soul music and the whole world of neo soul. We got into Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield. That’s real music. And then we realised that we wanted to combine the soul with the synthetic music.”
Their results as Bondax are dizzying. Not afraid to tangle with pop or R&B their edit of Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’ has been streamed two-and-a-half million times on SoundCloud. Their mellower track ‘Gold’, (streamed over 1.5M times) is a warm jaunt into an emotional fuzz. Yet despite its lack of sharp edges, it clearly resonates with a very diverse fan-base. Their latest single ‘All I See’ is a summery pop nugget.
It’s got ‘Ibiza Closing Party’ scrawled all over it. George knows exactly why. “Our natural preference is definitely summery. We like pretty chords. Maybe we are a bit girly in our tastes, but that is how it developed.”
But Adam quickly refutes they were ever planning bangers for the seasons. “We were snowed out of our houses when we wrote it!” he defends. “We were just craving the sun. We write our music as escapism, that’s why it is so full of summer. We never expected our music to hit this many people. We never started out to make anthems where 6000 people sing back our lyrics to us!”
Yet with fame comes a price. And in the case of Bondax it was a very strange introduction to celebrity. A photo of two lads, dressed not unlike Bondax was published on the internet. The two males were fingering a girl in a club. Simultaneously. One was hilariously checking his smartphone. Obviously their world was temporarily inverted, as their Facebook feed was bombarded with snipes and outrage. They were battered by a torrent of puns on their song names, previously innocuous, suddenly now ripe with innuendo as trolls name-checked songs such as ‘All Inside’ ‘Enter’ ‘Giving It All’ ‘Just Us’ or ‘Only You Know’.
The boys enjoy their right of reply. “It’s been really weird,” confirms George. “As all our friends know, or anyone who has looked into it knows, it's not us. There is actually another photo that proves it is not us. We did wake up to about 60 texts from our mums and our girlfriends, which was weird because whilst they knew it wasn't us, they wanted to know if someone was out to get us.”
Meanwhile Adam suddenly has empathy for the truly famous. “It has given us an insight into what the really famous celebrities have to put up with. They wake up with that all the time. You have to laugh at the ridiculous nature of it. So two people like me and George, who look as we do, start making music. Then we get successful and get a fan-base just as two people who look like us go and do such a weird thing in a club, and there's a photographer there and the photo then is found and gets put on the internet? You’d get mad odds for that on Bet365.”
Regardless, the pair have moved on. As they studiously pen their debut album drawing in influences and singers from all over the place, our parting curiosity is, just how much of an assault on the charts are they planning? George gives us some final insight. “So we are working with some great singers, and we like ‘songs’ and we like music close to that end of the spectrum, so it's easy for us to sound very poppy anyway. We are also not going completely crazy, like we’re not going to present some mad gabba track. But we do want to push the boat out more than people will be expecting.”
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