For more than two decades, the career of Belle & Sebastian has flourished. Keyboardist Chris Geddes has been with the band since its inception in 1996, and he has seen a lot of changes with the band’s structure and the world over the past 23 years.
The band, which recently returned to its roots in Glasgow, is gearing up for an extremely busy summer. The band recently announced plans to release the soundtrack to “Days of the Bagnold Summer,” a film adaptation of Joff Winterhart’s graphic novel, as well as go on a tour of North America. It also willbe performing “If You’re Feeling Sinister,” its second record, in full at this year’s Pitchfork Festival in Chicago.
“Days of the Bagnold Summer” will be released on Sept. 13, featuring 11 new songs from the band, as well as re-recorded versions of “Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying,” and “I Know Where the Summer Goes.” The first single, “Sister Buddha,” was released on Monday.
The last time the band worked on a film project was with 2010’s “God Help the Girl,” which featured music from Stuart Murdoch’s side project, also called God Help The Girl. One of the main differences between that project and “Days of the Bagnold Summer” is that instead of pulling music from the side project, Murdoch wrote new music specifically for the film. Geddes notes that everyone was involved less than they would be if it were a “band thing” with “God Help The Girl. “
“Days of the Bagnold Summer” also will feature a song that predates the band by about two years. “Safety Valve” is a track that Murdoch called “ancient.” The coming-of-age film is set for release next year, and the director, Simon Bird, is a “proper fan” of the band.
The band has been rehearsing for weeks ahead of its North American tour working on old songs in its back catalog. Geddes is looking forward to the tour because it means he can look forward to catching up with old friends. Traveling also means the band brings special guests to its shows, like unique trumpet and string players. Traveling for tours and festivals also gives Geddes and the band the opportunity to see other bands and socialize with them.
Belle & Sebastian’s stop in Charlottesville is a first for the band. With the rise of setlist.fm and social media, fun surprises artists have planned get spoiled. “Nothing stays a surprise for long,” Geddes said.
Despite that, the band still has some surprises planned for its upcoming concerts. Geddes added, “If I told you, they wouldn’t be surprises!”
One of the last big things on the band’s agenda for the summer is the Boaty Weekender, “an exciting and once- in-a-lifetime cruise holiday through the Mediterranean” featuring 21 other bands on the lineup.
Geddes can’t even bring himself to say “Boaty Weekender” at times, because of how silly it sounds. The band “got their hands on quite a large boat,” a new take on an old classic: The Bowlie Weekender. The Bowlie Weekender was a music festival curated by the band in 1999 that will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. As for the name Boaty Weekender? There was a small bit of influence for its name from the infamous Boaty McBoatface.
Belle & Sebastian will be joined by Ex Hex when it performs at the Sprint Pavilion on Thursday.