Bondax were always synonymous with my time at university: where starkly different musical preferences lived under one roof, they had us united. “Is this Bondax?” my housemate used to giggle when she was enjoying literally any song. Their sun-drenched electronic pop soundtracked many pre-drinks, and just as many hangovers. Then we graduated, and Bondax seemed to go quiet. The duo have been DJing in the years since but they’ve been silent on the production front, stuck in a major label deal they felt was stifling them creatively.
Now, four years down the line and free from constraints, Bondax are finally prepared to release their long-awaited debut album. With Revolve, Adam Kaye and George Townsend have established a palette that’s fresh, adventurous and confident. The record retains a dancefloor blueprint, together with the catchy melodies for which Bondax are beloved, but the pair have expanded their musical horizons; harnessed an admiration for live musicians across the globe, got lost in the world’s most extensive record shops, and enlisted a myriad of collaborators, from rapper Duckwrth to a 40-piece strong Macedonian orchestra.
Spanning soul, jazz, hip hop, and disco, it’s a record that belongs both on the dancefloor and at home. Ready to present a body of work with a rejuvenated sense of pride and excitement, Adam and I spoke about growing up, getting on, and refusing to compromise.
“…with the homogenisation of music nowadays, how do we fit in?”
There’s a palpable excitement in his voice as we talk about their new record, and he goes on to explain how they seem to take turns losing momentum momentarily, before hearing the music again and the excitement returning with a vengeance. It’s something they’ve alluded to before; the stalemate period between completing a project and release. “It’s been testing our patience,” Adam admits, as they finished Revolve back in 2017.
It’s no surprise patience is a fraught virtue for Bondax right now. After years of being unable to make the music they wanted to make, Revolve is the fresh start fans have been waiting for since 2013. “It’s no fault of the majors, they want something they can sell,” Adam explains, “and it’s easier to sell something obvious.” Though their early work had a distinctive flavour, Bondax always aimed to be as diverse as possible. Inspired by eclectic artists, they wanted their own catalogue to offer the same (Kaye names Brazilian pianist Francisco Tenório Júnior, Eli “Lucky” Thompson and The Brothers Johnson as key influences on Revolve). But eclecticism brings with it an obstacle.
“That’s the problem we’re going to face with this record,” Adam says. “With the homogenisation of music nowadays, how do we fit in? Revolve is so many different things. How will it fit into this playlist, this label, this genre…”
Now releasing on their own label, Recur Recordings, they will not only retain creative control, but also provide a platform for others: “We have so many incredibly talented friends, more talented than we are!” Adam says earnestly. Revolve is a coming together of those friends and a cementing of new partnerships; the album features the likes of Andreya Triana, Aquilo, Zak Abel and Shells, Tim Burns engineered the record – educating Kaye and Townsend in mastering live instrumentation – and close friend Ben Chetwood is on percussion throughout. The album marks the duo’s biggest challenge to date, a challenge that’s also proved to be the most rewarding point of their career thus far. They’ve mastered new musical techniques, scored music for an orchestra, worked with countless incredible musicians, and done “what all musicians dream of”… they’ve made an album.
When the pair first began to build momentum, they were barely old enough to be in the clubs they were selling out. Adam and George were making music together, socialising together and living together. A few years older and a few years wiser, how do they sustain a productive partnership that remains fun and exciting? Well, they no longer live together, for starters. “We need our own space,” Kaye explains. “I ask other duos this too, and the trick is to make sure you’re looking forward to seeing each other.”
Bondax may not live under the same roof anymore, but musically they’ve never been so closely aligned.
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