The singer tells NME that the Africa Express collaboration is 'one of the most surreal things I've ever done'
Bombay Bicycle Club frontman Jack Steadman was joined onstage at Manchester’s HMV Ritz last night (September 5) by former Joy Division/New Order bassist to perform a version of Joy Division’s classic ‘She’s Lost Control’. Click above to watch a clip of the performance.
Steadman was performing as part of the Africa Express tour, which is currently touring the country and also features Blur and Gorillaz mainman Damon Albarn, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, Amadou & Mariam, Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, Giles Peterson, Maxïmo Park The Libertines‘ Carl Barat, Rizzle Kicks and The Temper Trap as part of the touring party.
Speaking to NME about the tour, Steadman said that the whole event had been “surreal” and that the other musicians on the tour are “out of this world”.
He said of this: “It’s been one of the most surreal things I’ve ever done. The whole thing is just amazing. The musicians are out of this world, incredible. Everyone picks them up so quick. The train’s great too. I’ve been doing ‘Shuffle’ with some African percussion, it’s been really great.”
Steadman added that the tour “couldn’t be further away” from his regular band and that he was glad to be able to take part as he’d had to turn it down previously as he was in China.
He added: “It’s been a long time coming. I got asked to do it a couple of years ago, but I was in China so I couldn’t do it. But thankfully I was able to do it this time. It couldn’t be further away from Bombay, everything’s improvised, everything’s completely insane.”
Then asked about playing with Hook, he added: “Last night I did a cover of Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control’ and Peter Hook came onstage and played bass. It was incredibly surreal and just before we started playing, Peter Hook says to me ‘I’m following you’, and I was like ‘It’s your song, I should be following you!’. “
Steadman also said he would like to continue to write new music in the same improvised manner, but felt he would do it separately from Bombay Bicycle Club.
He said of this: “Being influenced by African music is nothing new to me. But improvising and being spontaneous is something I want to keep doing, but I don’t think that will be with Bombay Bicycle Club.”
The Africa Express is a collective of African and Western musicians and DJs co-founded by Damon Albarn. The tour will now take in gigs in Cardiff and Bristol as well as pop-up performances at railway stations, schools, factories, offices, shopping centres and people’s houses.
The train will then finish up at King’s Cross station in London, for a finale concert at London’s Granary Square on Saturday (September 8).
Africa Express began in 2006 with a trip to Mali, when Albarn took Fatboy Slim, Martha Wainwright and Jamie T to work with African artists such as Toumani Diabate, Salif Keita, Amadou & Mariam and Bassekou Kouyate.
The Africa Express tour calls at:
Cardiff Solus (6)
Briston The Big Top @ Creative Common (7)
London Granary Square at Kings Cross (8)