“This is the first record we’ve made that a year on, I still like.”
Louis Barabbas and the Bedlam Six divide audiences like few other contemporary bands: while some people just don’t connect with them, others are slavishly, rabidly, crazily enamoured with them.
They do it all themselves, with a DIY label and ethos that doesn’t compromise on quality or intent. They’re not cool, and they don’t get buzz.
Because of this – not despite it – they are one of the few bands I know that can book a large venue and sell it out without much worry, time after time.
One of the most amazing things about that is that, outside of their fanbase, most people probably don’t know that the gig is happening in the first place.
“I feel like if we stopped now… we’d still have this *thing*. Wait – I don’t want to stop now, because we have a thousand boxes of them!”
They attract fans by some sort of outsider-osmosis; finding people who feel alienated and have a base need for grimy, outré character-driven rock.
Sitting down with a bottle of gin – and another bottle of gin – Louis and I talk about how they went about recording Youth: an album of songs that were designed to be played live.
All the following questions are answered, in a roundabout way: how do you capture the spirit of a live rock band on an LP and make it work? What similarities are there between his band and 1970’s pop behemoths Slade?
And just how hard is it to record seagulls? (Very, apparently.)
This album commentary is best enjoyed with: gin, more gin; Slayed? by Slade; a photo album of your childhood; a deep-seated fear of seagulls.
NB: Louis has also described the LP’s lyrics in great depth: it’s a great companion to the above (by which I mean, it probably makes more sense)