The Bedside Morale are an indie fourpiece that was born from the remnant of the metal band, Sail. When their second single, “Bitter Things,” released at the beginning of December, the band’s lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Tim Kazer, took some time out to chat to Post-Burnout about their metamorphosis from metal to indie rock, their upcoming EP, working with producer Josh Gallop, fake blood, and future plans.
How have you been?
Yeah, not too bad. You?
I’m good. It’s nice to meet you.
Yeah, you too.
The first thing I wanted to ask, quite simply, is how did The Bedside Morale begin?
Previously, we were all in another band, called Sail, which was a bit more aggressive. It started very much in a place of bands like Mastodon and Baroness. And as we sort of evolved and grew as songwriters, what we wanted to write didn’t fit that sort of narrative, so we reached a breaking point where we were saying, “Look, what we’re writing just isn’t fitting what’s come before. There’s this real dissonance between them.” So, we had a lot of chats and, eventually, we decided that starting afresh was the way to go. So, yeah, we started as The Bedside Morale.
When would that have been, roughly?
Eh…last year, I think? Last year, the decision was made. [Editor’s Note: This interview was recorded in December 2023] But I think, certainly for me, I had a feeling that it was on the horizon for a good long time before that.
Did you find that, collectively, your music tastes were changing, or how did that work? Was it, collectively, you were all listening to similar things?
I think, to a degree. I think some of us… – it was definitely not an easy decision – I think some of us struggled to let go of that heavier side and to allow the newer stuff to come through, but I think there was a sort of collective development away from that sort of exclusively listening to heavy metal and weird, angry stuff to allowing more of that pop side in.
Did you find that difficult, when it came to the transition, in terms of not just the band itself but, also, you accrue fans over years and stuff, and now you basically have to start as a blank slate, or did you find that there were people who came over for the new thing, as well?
I think it’s a mix. I think because we weren’t a particularly large band, a lot of the people following us were friends and family, and they were always happy to support whatever we do. But I do think you’re always going to have people who have varying music tastes, especially in this day and age, when you can listen to whatever from whenever that you want at the drop of a hat. So, I think there are a few people who’ve come along. There are some people who have said, “No, this new project is not for me; I prefer what came before,” but I think it’s that difference between, “Are you following the band because of who they are, as a band?” or “Are you following them because of the music they make?” and, if this isn’t the music for you, then that’s absolutely fine.
Yeah, that’s a really interesting perspective on it. I think sometimes when someone does a transition to a new thing, there is kind of…some people have a bit of a hangover from the previous thing that they liked. I think it’s a very mature thing to be like, “Listen, we’re doing a new thing now, and if you’re not into it, that’s absolutely fine. [Laughs] You know, you don’t have to feel pressured into coming along with us for this new thing.”
Yeah, I always struggle with people who sort of go, “[Sighs] I don’t like their new stuff; I preferred their old stuff,” but keep…they almost have that loyalty, and they keep going. It’s like, it’s OK to say, “I love their old stuff but here is the point at which I draw the line. They’ve gone somewhere where I’m not going to follow because that’s not my taste,” and that’s fine.
And from that transition – because you said that it was only about a year ago – obviously you have an EP on the horizon. I was wondering, how quick was the turnaround in terms of, “OK, we’re going to go in this direction” to actually writing songs?
The nice thing was, to a degree, we had a lot of stuff already written. This EP, originally… – at one point we were looking at writing an album, but, again, we had that fracture between what had come before and what had come after – and this EP was almost…Originally, the idea was that this would be a branch between those two, and it would lead people from one genre to the other, but, again, that difference was too much. So, fortunately, we had a lot of it written. [The Bedside Morale’s first single] “Safeword,” we had gone in to do just as a single, and we sort of built upon [it]. I think the other songs came after that, and it built upon what came after. So, it was a fairly quick turnaround, yeah.
Yeah, that’s what I was going to ask: When did you actually get to recording it?
I think it was…I’m so bad with dates! I think it was over the past couple of years that we sort of wrote and recorded it. The writing to recording was, fortunately, very quick; we were in a good position to get them down. And I think, as we’ve grown and matured in our writing style, we’ve moved from, “Oh, we have to have everything perfectly together before hitting the studio,” to, it’s more fun and…some more interesting ideas come out of that studio experience if we go in a little bit not together and there are spaces where we’re not sure.
Yeah, and I wanted to ask, why did you choose “Safeword” as the introductory single to this new project?
I think from the outset we knew that it was a really strong single. It was very much a toss-up between “Safeword” and “Bitter Things” as to what would come out first, but we felt that there was something anthemic, there was something…there’s a little guitar line that Charlie [Dowzell] has, that actually came out in the studio when we were getting him to try out some things, that was very The Cure, that we all loved. I think for me what it came down to was, Josh, our producer, said that was his favourite track on the EP, and I thought, “That’s a good sign of approval.”
Yeah, Josh Gallop – who you’re talking about – I’ve heard some of his work, actually, with other artists. For the type of music that you’re making now, he just seems like the best fit for that, in terms of production. I was wondering how you got involved with him?
Yeah, I can’t even remember. I think T [Coles], our drummer, knew the owner of Stage 2, Dan [Flitcroft], through his work with Sergeant Thunderhoof, and, obviously, we knew then about Stage 2 Studios through that. I knew and loved Phoxjaw anyway, so when I heard that it was Josh Gallop of that band [who] does recordings there, then that was sold to me. So, yeah, I’ve sort of have said that the EP and the songs are as much his as any of ours. I think half the trick to putting out music is finding a producer who not only gets your work, but builds it with you in a way that sort of brings out the best of your band and he definitely does that. Whenever we come up with a ridiculous idea, like, I think it’s in “Bitter Things,” Charlie had this car that just made an awful noise when it started up. I think we had gone out to get food or lunch or something, and we came back and we’re like, “We’ve recorded on our phones. We need to put this in there!” And Josh is always a producer who goes, “OK. We’ll give it a go.”
And, actually, talking about “Bitter Things,” that’s your latest single. You were mentioning earlier that it was between that and “Safeword” as the first single. Was this kind of the natural selection for the follow-up?
Yeah. So, again, I think it was a toss-up between two songs after “Safeword” was chosen as the first one; both of which are strong, but they’re strong in different ways. The other song is a bit more emotive, a bit less energetic. I think we wanted to keep the energy going with our second release, “Bitter Things.” Plus, we adore that song; it sort of met a lot of the criteria for what we wanted to do with this band. It’s got that real sort of ‘80s rock, retro feel that we all love. It actually came out…I remember we were recording “Safeword,” and Charlie had that little guitar lead, and we were just messing around on guitars during, I think, Kynan [Scott] doing his bass. So, that song was sort of born out of recording “Safeword,” which was quite nice.
Oh, that’s cool! And, actually, you were mentioning there that it kind of keeps the high-octane energy that you guys are establishing. It seems like a good move, then. Would the next be the more emotive, pensive song that you were mentioning?
Yeah. Yeah, I think it will. I think that single will then be the release of the EP. It is a song we all love. It’s a song that we all went in and wrote, and it’s a song that means a lot to me, but it was the song that we all came away and we’re like, “The more I listen to this, the more I like this song. This is a bit of a dark horse.” So, we’re excited to put that one out into the world, as well.
Yeah, I was thinking, for the first two singles, you’re establishing your sound and the energy you bring. Is the third single, then, meant to kind of show your versatility and range as a band?
I think it’s less thought out than that. It’s just that we love that song enough that we want that to be…it could’ve been any of the other songs on the EP, but we love that song enough that we want to sort of highlight it.
Perfect. And talking about the EP, how many songs are on it?
So, it’s a four-song EP, so there’s only two more left, but we are looking at recording more in the near future, so it won’t only be four songs for too long. But, yeah, it’s a four-song EP. It’s a nice in-and-out, and I think it’s a nice way to introduce people to The Bedside Morale.
And when’s the release date? Roughly, when’s the window, I guess?
I think spring next year is the current thinking, assuming nothing comes up to delay that.
[Laughs] And between now and then, what’s the plan for the band?
I think we’re starting to look at booking gigs in the New Year and putting out a video for “Bitter Things.” That would be nice. I’m looking forward to that being a bit more fun than the video for “Safeword,” which was freezing and about as horrible to…No! It was really good fun, but there was a lot of fake blood. But, yeah, put out a music video for “Bitter Things” and then play some shows would be really nice.
I think people who haven’t worked with fake blood don’t know just how irritating it is! [Laughs]
It would have been fine, but I got obsessive with getting the colour right, so I think there was a whole concoction of things in it.
Yeah! [Laughs] Well, thank you very much for your time, I really appreciate it. Is there anything you’d like to add before we wrap up?
Um…Listen to our music. When we start playing shows, come to our shows. We’re really excited to really put some love and effort into creating a set that people will enjoy. And, yeah, if you have listened, thank you.
The Bedside Morale’s latest single, “Bitter Things,” is available to stream now. You can keep up to date with the band’s music, live dates, and social media accounts here.
Aaron Kavanagh is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Post-Burnout. His writing can also be found in the Irish Daily Star, Buzz.ie, New Noise Magazine, XS Noize, DSCVRD and more.