The Bays have already established a huge following from Glastonbury to Tokyo for their own particular take on improvisation. For The Bays don't write songs, rehearse or make records, instead it's the performance which is the product. They now want to take their work further into the realm of the orchestral ensemble and The Heritage Orchestra is the ideal partner for this creative voyage of discovery. Originally commissioned by Fresh Festival, Music Beyond Mainstream is now taking this special project out on the road. The performance kicks off with The Bays laying down improvised electronic music while John Metcalfe (Duke Quartet / Durutti Column) and Simon Hale compose live parts on laptops for the orchestra in response to what they hear. Conductor Jules Buckley then sends these new scores, via a custom built touch screen network, to the orchestra who will pick up the newly written work and play them instantly, on the fly. Neither the Bays nor the Orchestra know what to expect - in short the whole ensemble is improvising.
The network of screens specially built by AV designer Adam Seaman (Big Chill / Protein Dance Company) extends to a big screen where the audience will be able to witness this ambitious work being created in front of their very eyes, never to be heard or experienced in the same way again.
Forget every rule you've ever been taught about live music. Ignore every outmoded notion of what it is to be a 'live' band. Forget even what you think you think 'live music' actually means.
What drives this band is a need to communicate with their audience in a way not possible with traditional live bands. There are no 'songs' as such to perform, there's no album to promote, there are no commercial imperatives at play. The Bays only perform live, they never rehearse, they don't have a set-list and they couldn't ever do the same performance twice. It's all about the moment - an experience or an event that exists between the band and the audience for one time only.
The Bays have no intention of releasing any material in the immediate future, but even if you could capture the performance in digital format, it would only represent a fraction of the total Bays experience. Because what they do that is so unique, so unprecedented, is that they enter into a creative partnership with the crowd, receiving feedback from the dance floor and reinterpreting that response, rewiring the vibe and taking it to a new level.
Each of The Bays is feeling a progression in the music and is anticipating where the performance is going to next. It could change at any moment and pursue a new direction in a second. Taking the concept of the DJ - presiding over a seamless continuum of music - The Bays drop sets like a live band creating a 90-minute DJ-mix. And reinventing the concept of studio remixing, The Bays are creating new tracks on stage and remixing these ideas live without any planning, verbal communication or commercial consideration.
The guys are pushing boundaries with their sound. They are giving their audience something radical, revolutionary even. So much so, that if the hype is to be believed, the 21st century notion of what it means to play live will henceforth be understood in entirely new terms - in terms first defined by The Bays.?
The Bays first came together for a one-off gig in London in November 1999. This was an immediate success and they were booked for more shows including a headlining appearance at the 'Nancy Music Fest' in France. The spring of 2000 saw The Bays appearing at London's Imperial Gardens as part of an event organised by Zildjian / Rhythm magazine, then on to a series of UK dates as part of the SleazeNation / Jockey Slut tour. This took them to Glasgow, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and London causing a huge stir wherever they played. At the end of July they played as part of the Rhythm Sticks Festival, a prestigious annual event held at London's South Bank Centre.
In August they appeared at the Big Chill's Enchanted Garden Festival, integrating into their set a string quartet. Still with the Big Chill, but this time on the Greek island of Naxos in October, The Bays played 2 nights and immediately picked up some more bookings for future dates before they'd even left to go home!
On then to 2001, which saw The Bays take on Brighton's legendary Concorde Club, The Arches' cult Glasgow hang-out The Sunday Social, a new monthly residency at The Vibe Bar on Brick Lane and the piece de resistance, a showcase billing at Amsterdam's universally-acclaimed Drum Rhythm Festival, where they were regarded, without qualification, as the highlight of the entire 3-day Festival, topping a poll of journalists voting for their favourite act. Such was the overwhelming response from that show, the band was booked for Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium, Lowlands, Woodstock and Eurosonic Festivals in Holland, Transmusicales de Rennes in France and the Guildford Festival and Ministry of Sound's Knebworth Event amongst others.
In the years from then to now The Bays have continued to spread their sound, not only across the UK, packing out clubs such as Audio in Brighton, Hi-Fi in Leeds, Stealth in Nottingham, The Arches and Sub Club in Glasgow, but all around the world, performing in Mexico and Georgia for The British Council, playing in Moscow, St Petersburg, Israel, Norway and all across mainland Europe. There have been more John Peel sessions, an Arts council funded tour of the Uk's larger Arts venues including the QEH and Sage Centre Gateshead, and an appearance at the WOMAD Sri Lanka festival in Sept 2005, playing to some 35, 000 people. 2005 also saw The Bays sell out The Barbican with a collaborative performance with Herbie Hancock, and headline The Big Chill festival. Other festivals The Bays have performed at in 2005 alone were two appearances at Glastonbury, T In The Park, Shambala, The Glade, Summer Sundaes, Lovebox, Lost Vagueness, the Brick Lane festival, Pantiero in Cannes, WOMAD in Gran Canaria. Following on from the success of their sellout month's residency at The Jazz Café in Autumn 2005, The Bays plan to establish rotating residencies across the UK, running the whole night with their live performance, Bays Soundsystem DJS and special guests.