As I take a seat with Superfood’s Dom Ganderton on the plush leather sofa, he says it’s good to be back where it all started.
It’s particularly fitting that the venue for tonight’s gig, Mama Roux’s, is located in Birmingham’s creative quarter, Digbeth. “I lived here when we started out as a band,” he tells me. Dom isn’t completely at home however; scratching the sofa nervously, he remarks how much the area has changed since he moved out of his hometown. “It’s great to be back and see the new places, but even this venue wasn’t here when we first started out.”
Such rapid change has also been felt in Superfood’s career. The band released their Britpop-tinged debut album Don’t Say That way back in 2014 and despite rave reviews, have been quiet ever since. That was until this summer. After stripping down to a two piece; retaining Ryan Malcolm as the other band member, and changing their record label, the group leaked three tracks from their upcoming record Bambino. Those numbers: ‘Unstoppable,’ ‘I Can’t See’ and ‘Double Dutch,’ signified a move into a more funk-induced sound, with a slick use of sampling.
Dom himself describes the album as being very “funk”, along with the descriptors “long” and “proud”. At the grand length of 13 tracks, Bambino’s release on September 8th brought us more of the same. So, was the change in sound a move which Superfood purposefully made?
“I wouldn’t say we did it on purpose,” says Dom, “When we got into the studio it was mainly about finding our feet and taking the record song by song. In the back of our heads we felt that we were starting again. So we just experimented.
“While doing so, we came across all these references to childhood and samples of children playing.”
A theme of childhood subconsciously runs throughout the record, the name itself meaning ‘little boy’ in Italian. This tied the album together, alongside an eagerness to try something new. “I guess those two are interlinked around the idea of freedom.” Dom explains, “With our new record label we just wanted to experiment. We weren’t thinking “this is a Superfood song”. In doing so, we made something that was much closer to what we wanted to produce than our previous effort.”
Dom’s personal favourite track, the psychedelic ‘Clo Park’ comes at the end of the album. ‘Raindance’ however is one that is particularly memorable due to how long it took to make. “We originally had a different chorus and we took that out and messed it around for a while. It’s one of the most personal tracks on the record so we wanted it to be perfect. It references our experience of riding bikes as kids.”
It’s clear that Bambino is a record that sees Superfood breaking all the rules of their previous album. Nevertheless, Dom is adamant that fans have reacted really well to the change in sound. “Every night on the tour we’ve had positive responses. I hope the shows create a buzz, and people will want to come and see us again.”
The avant-garde nature of Bambino is also carried through by its album artwork. Created by esteemed artist and animator Zolloc, the image is an abstract shape which represents the 13 album tracks. “On each single, we showed a different part of that shape,” says Dom, “and then on the album it all came together. I wanted a shape to represent all the tracks but my idea was much more rigid. What Zolloc came back with was really cool.”
However one takes Bambino, Superfood’s sophomore record hasn’t been as difficult to make as they had once anticipated. Left broke and label-less just a few years ago, they’ve reinvigorated themselves and shut up anyone who doubted their ability to bounce back. As much as the band and the city of Birmingham have changed over the last three years however, some things always stay the same.
“No doubt we’ll end up at the Sunflower Lounge later tonight,” sighs Dom, “We always do.”
Words by Paige Tracey