After playing bass for ten years for the much-loved Bombay Bicycle Club, who announced at the beginning of 2016 that they will be taking a hiatus, Ed Nash is now pursuing his own project. Under the name Toothless,
Ed invited various friends and fellow musicians to contribute to his musical vision, including Marika Hackman, Tom Fleming of Wild Beasts, Liz Lawrence and The Staves, and he produced the album with Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jack Steadman. The Pace of the Passing is a stunning solo debut from Ed, and with the evocative atmosphere it creates, it’s an album to be devoured in its entirety. Captivated by Toothless’ music, we asked Ed to tell us more about working on his own, his inspiration behind the album and his plans for the future.
You play bass for Bombay Bicycle Club, who are currently taking a break as a band. Tell us about this decision, and why you wanted to start a solo project?
We all started Bombay when we were 15 and none of us did anything else for the next ten years. While we had a great time and loved playing in the band, it was time to do something different. I had always written and recorded music while in the band, but never had the time to do anything with it. When we finished with Bombay it was finally time to stop putting it off and put myself on the line.
How would you describe the music you make as Toothless?
It sounds like a man sat over a laptop in his living room for two years trying to work out what to do next.
How has your experience playing in Bombay Bicycle Club informed the music you’re creating now?
It’s hard to detach myself from Bombay in terms of what did and didn’t inform this project, as I said before it was my main thing for ten years. Aside from directly learning about music and production through the band, it allowed me to travel and meet people I never would have otherwise.
What was your aim when starting a solo project and how did you craft your new sound?
I just wanted to get all the ideas I had out into the world and to prove to myself that I could do it. There’s nothing worse than someone who talks about all the things they plan to do but never follow through.
What’s it been like writing and making music by yourself as opposed to in a band?
With Toothless I have the final say with everything, even if no one else is into what I’m doing. It’s nice to not be democratic.
What did you want to convey with your debut album ‘The Pace of The Passing’? What’s it about?
The title ‘The Pace of the Passing’ refers to our perception of time and how it speeds up as we get older. While writing the album this was something I thought a lot about; I got a real sense that the window for making this record was closing, which really pushed me to make the best record I could. Most of the songs on the album relate to the idea of time passing by.
What’s the inspiration behind the album?
Before writing this album I had never written lyrics before. When I first started trying it became clear that writing literally about my own life would be incredibly boring. I started using myths and other well-known stories as a starting point to get my ideas across.
Various musicians feature on the album – what was it like collaborating with all of these artists?
It was absolutely amazing. I’m a huge fan of everyone that played on the record. I felt like I was punching above my weight as everyone that I worked with is way more accomplished than me! I learnt a lot from the sessions I did with everybody.
What do you think the future holds for Toothless?
It will be a very long time before Bombay gets back together (if ever) so this is my full time thing now. I’m planning on touring as much as I can next year and have already started working on the next Toothless record. I’m also keen to start producing other people’s music. No time to waste!
Watch Toothless’ latest video for ‘Sisyphus':
Toothless’ debut album ‘The Pace of the Passing’ will be released through Island Records on 27th January 2017. Pre-order the album here. Toothless will be touring across the UK from February to March, including a show at London’s Lexington on 1st March. Tickets are on sale now.