“I think the main band we have sort of taken things from is Hidden Charms, who have split up now, but playing with them on a night to night basis on tour was watching a band really hone in on their live show and it was so cool,” says Bay Rays drummer Maxwell Oakley. It’s no doubt the band take influences both musically and stylistically from great bands such as this. The fast paced garage rock is also very reminiscent of the great 00s bands such as The View or The Fratellis with their big noise, cheeky lyrics, and explosive energy.
The Bay Rays are by no means just purely a pastiche for past indie bands. With a name inspired by member East Bay Ray from The Dead Kennedys, the trio bring a formidable sound. Members Harry Nicoll, Maxwell Oakley and Anthus Davis formed in 2015 when they received a heavy following in their local area.
The raucous edge to their loose rhythms will have you bouncing off the walls. Tracks such as ‘Satisfaction’ show colourful guitar riffs, which showcase the pure talent, complemented perfectly by the unique vocals. This previous single released has sky-rocketed and is now close to achieving two million streams on Spotify.
The success has been spurred on by their video, featuring a mysterious black and white filter. “We just wanted to do an old school,” Harry explains. “It was inspired by The Ed Sullivan Show.”
With its dark aesthetics and hidden messages, it creates mixed thoughts and feelings for their audience and musically it takes you through a journey. “The EP that ‘Satisfaction’ was on was quite anxiety driven,” Maxwell tells me. “Harry was essentially showing a breakdown as such, but in a playful way. I think in all our videos we like to mix it up and do something different.”
Alongside this immense achievement, The Bay Rays also headlined Glastonbury’s BBC Introducing Stage. “That was definitely a big deal!” admits frontman Harry. “We clashed with Craig David who was playing the stage basically opposite. We were going on in like 10 minutes and we could hear him.”
Maxwell laughs: “People were literally like running out the tent! We were up against some pretty sick people but it’s alright, we had the die hard Bay Rays fans there.”
Receiving interest from influential individuals such as Annie Mac, Huw Stephens, Abbie McCarthy and Steve Lamacq, there has also been a noticeable amount of support and backing across social media platforms. When supporting bands such as Slaves and Estrons, the boys seem very thankful. “I think seeing another band out there doing their thing on a large scale was inspiring,” says Maxwell. “It’s good to see how they operate and working on that scale. We started off in that punk sort of crowd amongst ‘Lady Bird’ who are friends and stuff. It has been amazing with Slaves, those two are lovely lads and it truly was an insight,” Harry goes onto conclude.
With ‘Begin Again’ being the first track to be lifted from the bands new EP ‘Darkness and Doubt’ and fresh new track ‘The Chamber’ recently dropped, what else is there to expect?
“Just a huge amount of rock ’n' roll,” Maxwell giggles as he clutches a pint. “Couple of shit songs, couple of good songs,” he grins. ‘Definitely broadening our sound scale and palette showing different aspects, as before we’d always do three-four track EPs,” Harry says. “There’s a bit of a journey on it for sure as you can tell by the name. It has taken us a year to bring out this EP and there has been quite a lot of things going on in that time, with doubt about different things.”
After the release there will be other surprises to reveal. “We have other tracks to drop,” Maxwell mentions. “Finally we are actually ahead of ourselves!”
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Words: Lauren McDermott
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