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Meet bby, the indie youngsters creating chaos out of a London DIY hub

From their Shoreditch studio space, the band discuss their soon-to-be-legendary live shows – or ‘hangs’ – with fans and how it’s influenced their debut album.

By Will Richards

bby (Picture: Tricia Yourkevich)

When Rolling Stone UK call bby, the band are in the middle of one of their weekly Wednesday hangouts at their London HQ at State51. The band ­– vocalist Benjy Gibson, bassist Deon Graham, drummer Tom Parkin and guitarists Jessy Jacquet-Cretides and Tommaso Medica – operate out of a warehouse in east London that houses a number of artists and multi-disciplinary creatives.

“I have no idea how it hasn’t been gobbled up by flats,” Gibson admits, appreciating the luck and fortune of being able to maintain a totally DIY space in such a central location in 2024. From this space, the band have also started hosting special live events for fans – which they affectionately refer to as ‘hangs’ – that have become a word-of-mouth phenomenon. “That’s the best seat in the house, there,” Gibson smiles, pointing to a double-decker sofa that’s proved the perfect crowdsurfing launchpad for both band and fans.

While it has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated, the chaos is captured excellently in the video for the band’s debut single ‘Hotline’, where Gibson writhes around among the crowd while singing the electrifying indie hit.

Ahead of the release of a new single this month, the band discuss meeting online and then immediately pivoting to a deeply IRL-centric approach, the future of their ‘hangs’ and an already-completed debut album.

How did you all come to meet?

Benjy: Me and Tommy linked through Instagram and then started making shit together, and realised we needed to build a band. I found Jesse on my For You page and he was already putting out loads of sick guitar stuff – I just messaged him. It was all weirdly easy.

We then met on January 2, 2023 at Pirate Studios in Dalston and it all came out pretty hot straight away. Then we moved into this space in April.

After meeting, how quickly did you work out what kind of band you wanted to be?

Benjy: Just by jamming and playing live a lot – that was a big informer. It’s basically now how we decide what to release – put out whatever is slapping live.

How early on did you realise you wanted to make the ‘hangs’ an integral part of the bby world?

Jessy: It was pretty early! We liked the space and decided to do something here that feels very different and very human.

Was creating these events that are so in-person focused a reaction to how you all met, and the dominant forms of music discovery being online now?

Benjy: Definitely. We wanted to do something very present and very real. It also means we don’t have to play small venues and deal with sound engineers!

Deon: ‘Oh, you wanna hear yourself play? Try again!’

How would you explain a ‘hang’ to someone who hasn’t made it down yet?

Deon: You sign up online and get chosen – not everyone that RSVP’d gets in. Then – lucky you! – when you get here, someone from the band will greet you and sign your name off the list and take you to our room. The actual space itself is a warehouse and massive. We walk you through and it’s more of a party or gathering than a gig.

Tom: Everyone mingles around and we’ll all head to the pub afterwards.

Benjy: It’s so nice to see lots of people come on their own as well – it’s nice to have created a space where people can do that.

Are the shows pretty loose?

Deon: We always play unfinished ideas and bits of new songs. At the last one, we were half way through a song and Benjy told everyone to stop and just said: ‘I’ve had an idea!’ So we chatted about it, finished the song, and then worked on it more based on the real-life response. It’s what makes sense in the room as well as in the studio.

Benjy: It’s quite jamm-y! After we play songs at the ‘hangs’, they always become about two minutes longer.

What else is on the horizon for you this year?

Benjy: An album is pretty much ready, but we’re still writing a new song every week, so maybe it’ll change.

And how is the album sounding?

Deon: Everything. I’m talking folk, I’m talking electronic.

Benjy: Imagine, if you will, Mumford & Sons through the lens of Daft Punk…