The Bays

The Bays

The Bays are a group of English musicians that only play live improvised dance music. They have never rehearsed nor recorded in a studio as they do not release music commercially. This means they are also completely independent of record labels. The only way to listen to The Bays is by seeing them perform live or by downloading free mp3s of their performances from their website.


Despite a lack of marketing, The Bays gig constantly and have garnered a lot of praise and admiration with both audiences and promoters alike due to their impressive live shows. Because the whole set is improvised, the band will play off the mood of the audience and play the styles of music that they feel best fit the atmosphere. This means that performances can vary from a mostly ambient set to one that is predominantly drum and bass, although typically a set will include several different genres melded into each other as a continuous piece of music, similar to a DJ set. House, hip-hop, trance, ambient, drum and bass, reggae, UK garage, breakbeat, funk are all styles that are often mixed together in The Bays’ live improvisations.They have headlined several popular festivals including The Big Chill Festival and the dance tent at the Glastonbury Festival and have played at other prominent events all over the world including the Sri Lankan WOMAD festival, the Hotaka Mountain Festival in Japan, and the Skol Beats festival in Brazil.

Line up

The current members of the band are Andy Gangadeen (drums), Chris Taylor (bass), Jamie Odell (keyboards) (or Tom Szirtes (keyboards)) and Simon Richmond (effects and samples). Previous members of the band include Simon Smugg, Tom Middleton & Nick Cohen. Because every performance is completely improvised, The Bays welcome other artists to play with them on certain occasions. Past contributors include Herbie Hancock, Richard Barbieri, Matt White, Mark Pritchard, Bluey, Stamina MC, Ty and Hexstatic.The Bays have also done two British Council tours in which they travelled to Mexico (2003) and Germany (2004) to do music workshops with young musicians, resulting in performances with those that took part.


“It’s important for people to know that we are actually improvising even though they don’t a lot of the time. There are no sequencers running or tapes or any kind of thing that would tie us down. We just purely go off in any kind of direction that we want to. For people to know that, it should be quite exciting for them because they know that what we’re doing is totally off the cuff” – Jamie Odell

“It’s a creative idea we think of at the time, and it doesn’t get diluted by having any business sort of side. There’s nobody watering it down before people actually hear it.” – Chris Taylor

“If you do like 70 gigs of a set that you’re just doing every night, I would imagine that you were not actually giving value for money near the end. You’d just be sort of pissed off and know it back to front. But every gig, we’re basically shitting ourselves a lot of the time because we have no idea what’s gonna happen. Not only do I not know what they’re gonna do, I don’t know what I’m gonna do, and that applies for all of us, so it’s very edgy all the time. That tension comes across and that’s why people get into it.” – Simon Smugg

External links

* - Official website
* - 2002 Peel session (real player)
* - 2002 Amsterdam & Big Chill festivals (real player)
* - The Bays workshop with the British Council (mp3s & video)
*,+The - Discography of released live recordings
* - Video of sessions with roots and d'n'b MCs (David Boomah, Yush, Levi Roots, Levy Sill, Top Cat & Earl 16)
* - An interview with The Bays

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