Ed Nash - formerly of Toothless, currently of Bombay Bicycle Club, and now also of Ed Nash - is branching out with a new solo venture under his own name. Billed as more personal than ever before, it's a proper DIY venture: home studio, no label - the works. While it wasn't born from lockdown, the quieter-than-planned months since his band's in-hindsight-pretty-prophetic pre-lockdown album 'Everything Else Has Gone Wrong', have been a great help in developing not only his new batch of songs, but in rediscovering his joy for music.
Hi Ed, how's it going? What are you up to today?
Hey, thanks for having me back. All things considered, it's going pretty well with me. I'm super excited to get this new music of mine out and start a new musical chapter.
Today is looking pretty similar to all the other days over the past six months. I've got a small studio set up at home, which is where I've been spending most of my time, either working on new music or just playing guitar for the fun of it. After years of playing in bands, the joy of just playing kind of went away, so it's great to have it back.
What can you tell us about your new music plans?
I've got a bunch of songs recorded and ready to go now. The plan is kind of not to have a plan, just put up the songs I'm happy with when they're finished and see what happens. No label, everything recorded at home by me, totally DIY.
When did you start working on these tracks? Did it begin as a lockdown project?
I'm very happy to say this isn't a lockdown project and is something that has been in the pipeline for years now, lockdown just provided the impetus for me to get going with it.
After I released my first solo record, I kept writing songs with the idea of putting out a follow-up album. During that time, we got Bombay back together, which took up most of my time, but I kept writing any chance I had with the idea of doing something whenever Bombay got quiet. With the pandemic making this year's touring plans impossible, I jumped right back into doing my own stuff again. Some of the songs I will put out are three years old, some were written in the past few weeks!
What else have you been up to over the past few months?
I've been trying to learn skills that will make me as self-sufficient as possible going forward. Like I said before I want everything to be as DIY as possible... I did an online graphic design course at the start of lockdown, so I would be able to do my own record covers and merch instead of relying on someone else. I love that I can just come up with an idea and follow it through without waiting around.
Aside from working on this project I've fallen for all the obvious lockdown activities, I've been baking sourdough and growing vegetables... basically living like a retired hippy.
How much does 'the state of the world' impact you when it comes to being creative?
Not a huge amount, to be perfectly honest, I follow the news and current affairs religiously but they never find their way into the music or art that I'm making. Music is probably more a distraction from these things for me, and hopefully, my music can provide a welcome distraction for other people too. I think it is incredibly important that people get political in their music, especially at the moment, but I don't think it's a necessity. I've never thought I was clued up or eloquent enough to get involved in that world.
How would you describe your new music's vibe?
I never know how to answer this question! The thing I care about the most is writing songs that will stand up however they are played, be it strummed on an acoustic or with a four to the floor under them. So I guess they are all concise pop songs at their hearts. That's always come first. Having said that, the second song I'm putting out is six minutes long, so maybe concise isn't the right word.
This batch of songs are all guitar-focused. I've fallen back in love with playing guitar, and I wanted to write parts that give the listener the same feeling whilst listening to them, be it a quiet fingerpicked guitar line or a ripping solo (apologies in advance for the guitar solos).
What led to you using your real name this time - is it the end of Toothless?
Yeah, this is the end of Toothless. Toothless was a real learning curve for me, and I'm incredibly proud of the music I made, but with the new music I'm making and the place I'm at in my life that moniker doesn't feel right anymore. The lyrics and vibe of these songs is homegrown and personal, and it didn't feel right going forward with anything but my own name.
In retrospect the name Toothless really spoke of all the anxieties I had about going out as a solo artist, I didn't quite realise this at the time. Going into this new chapter, I feel very excited and confident, and I don't think going under Toothless shows this.
What do you get out of your music being more personal, do you think? Are you looking for anything in particular?
I think honesty and authenticity is important in music, especially in lyrics. You can really tell if someone is phoning it in. Writing music about my personal experiences is the most authentic I can be.
What are your medium-to-long-term hopes for this project?
I'm enjoying making music the most I have ever probably... if I can continue to put out music that I'm excited about, that's all I can hope for.
Also, at some point, I would love to start playing shows again whenever it's feasible, it's always been the thing that I have enjoyed the most about making music. Hopefully, the wait isn't too long now, and hopefully, there is still a live music scene to come back to!
Anything else we should know?
I guess on the point above it's worth saying that the music industry is in a terrible place right now. It feels more important than ever to support your favourite musicians/venues however you can otherwise they might not be around when the dust settles after this pandemic.
Taken from the November issue of Dork.
Featuring Shame, Beabadoobee, Ashton Irwin, Boy Pablo, The Cribs and more.