Kaotican Alphabet

Bishop Briggs interview

Bishop Briggs has been opening for Coldplay on the US West Coast leg of the AHFOD Tour. Anchorman spoke to the up-and-coming "trap soul" singer in Salt Lake City to find out more…

Hello Bishop, how are you?
I’m good. I’m excited!

How is life on the road treating you?
Oh my gosh, it’s been insane. This whole thing has been a huge dream come true!

It all seems to have happened quite early for you? Songkick says there’d only been 15 Bishop Briggs shows before this tour.
I mean, I have always been performing, and I’ve played so many shows on my own. I guess it was five years of working hard in LA, hustling as much as I could. But with this project, it’s just been this year. So it has come super early. But I think no matter how many shows you’ve played, when you get that type of phone call, it doesn’t even compare.

When did the phone call come?
Well, I was in the studio and we were writing. My manager was actually the one who got the phone call. And when he came in he had this look on his face that I’ve never seen apart from that moment! Just total disbelief.

How did you react?
You just have this human reaction. It’s pretty indescribable. There were a lot of tears and there was hysterical laughing. It was just not knowing how to think and how to process this information. But there was no thinking about it! It was just a definite yes no matter what.


How did you prepare for playing these big stadiums?
I think there’s no way to prepare for something like this, you just have to hope that the lessons you’ve learned along the way will help you in some way. At the Rose Bowl, which was the first show, I heard myself physically gulp as I looked at the stage! I’m someone that’s naturally very nervous when I perform, so for something like this I really had to meditate as much as I could.

And how was that first show at the Rose Bowl?
Insane! Actually, I feel like this whole interview is just going to be me saying, “It was a dream! It was insane!” because it really has been! I was trying to take in every second. It was one of those situations where it was too surreal to be nervous, if that makes sense.

Did it go well?
I hope so! I just know I had a lot of fun and the audience reaction seemed good.

It’s not always easy playing the first slot, when the venue’s not yet full and people are just getting into the mood.
I don’t know if this makes a difference, but before this whole year happened, I performed probably every couple of days in Los Angeles, generally in a coffee shop to three or four people that were very uninterested! So, I think I would be appreciative of this tour regardless, but I think that experience definitely puts things into perspective and it makes you very thankful.


So now you’ve been on the road for a few shows, what have you made of the whole Coldplay touring experience?
It’s definitely given me a false sense of reality! I mean the catering is amazing. There is ping pong backstage. There’s always confetti around. These are not normal things! It’s so surreal. I can only just take notes and hope that one day I can replicate it and do as good of a job as they’re doing.

And are you a Coldplay fan?
Oh yes! My parents are Scottish and they are huge Coldplay fans, so for as long as I can remember, Coldplay was always being played in my house. The first phone call I made when we found out the news was to my dad. I’d never heard such a high-pitch scream! That was definitely unique.

Are your parents coming to one of the shows?
Yes, they came to Rose Bowl. So there was a lot of tears and a lot of filming. They were very excited.

Have you been able to meet up with the band?
Yes. I actually met Chris while he was playing ping pong! So that was great. But everyone that we’ve met, all of the crew, have been so incredibly kind and supportive. And I think that makes a huge difference.

For those who haven’t heard your music, how would you describe what you do?
The music is trap soul, but it has a lot of influences with rock and some folks elements. But the main thing that happens at our shows is that we try to be as authentic as possible. So there’s a lot of jumping around and a lot of sweatiness! But it’s also a lot of emotion. And we’re definitely inspired by Alabama Shakes, Jack Garratt and, of course, Coldplay.

Did you just say trad soul?
No “trap”. T-R-A-P.

Um, without wishing to sound very uncool, what is that?
I mean, what I think of it as is including hip hop influences with soulful sounds and adding some electronic elements, in the way the instruments are set up. But I’m not sure if it’s actually a thing. I might’ve made it up.

I just Googled it. There’s an article about trap soul. I’m going to read that and then pretend I’ve always been into it. In the meantime, what should people look out for if they want to explore your work further?
Well, we just released a new single called Pray (Empty Gun) and after this Coldplay run we’re actually going on tour with Kaleo, which I’m really excited for. And just stay tuned. We have music that we’re excited to release and it’s just about the right timing.

Have you played outside the US yet?
We actually have a show coming up on 13th September at the Courtyard Hoxton in London. I can put you on the guestlist. Y’know, if you like trap soul?

Oh I love it. I’ve always been a huge trap soul fan.
Yes, I’m sure!

And you were born in the UK, right?
Yeah, I was born in London, but my whole family are Scottish. If you ask me my favourite kind of candy, then I suddenly seem very British! There’s a lot of Cadbury’s going on. But I mainly grew up in Asia: in Japan and then Hong Kong. So I’m kind of an alien no matter where I go!

Had you seen Coldplay perform before these shows?
This was my first time seeing them officially, but I have watched YouTube videos of them playing live for years and years and years! So to be actually in the pit seeing it has been incredible. They are gold: for performance, for emotion, for being real. They’re a true inspiration. They do fireworks within the first one or two songs. I mean, who does that?! They just take it to a whole other level. And the audience responds amazingly.

Final question. What is your favourite Coldplay song?
It’s Fix You. Because it makes me cry. I think that’s all you need to know!

For more info on Bishop Briggs, check out her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Live photos by R42