deadwords » interviews 22.08.2007
Boombip – Musikalisches Chamäleon

Boombip ist wohl einer der wandelbarsten Künstler unserer Zeit. Viele kennen ihn noch von dem Album „Circle“, das er zusammen mit DoseOne 1998 aufnahm, und das für soviel Furore sorgte. Auf seiner neuesten EP „Sacchrilege“ hat Boombip wieder bewiesen, dass er ein musikalisches Chamäleon ist – wie sich diese Entwicklung vollzog, soll das Interview klären.

Dead: Do the early years, when you first started music, still affect you when you make music to this day?

Boombip: Yeah of course. You can’t really help keeping your musical roots out of what you do today. I acquired recording techniques and a style of playing that I can’t seem to shake. So those early days of not knowing what I was doing really helped shape what I am today. I am grateful I had to struggle with not having proper gear most of my life. It made me make due with what I had and in turn discover new things about familiar equipment.

Dead: From your point of view, did the whole music-business/industry change? Considering that everything is getting faster and there is a so called overflow of music, e.g. via myspace, mp3s, etc. – is this good or bad for the music industry?

Boombip: I think it is bad for the industry and great for the listener. Since I am part of the music business and a listener myself, I am a bit torn on the subject. it is strange to have the rug pulled out from under you as a record label, meaning music is basically free now and the „industry“ has no idea how to keep the machine rolling. So everyone is scrambling except the musicians themselves. Things will come around. It is a big shift that is happening and in the end musicians will have more options and outlets to make a living. You just have to be a bit wiser to get by. It is an exciting time for everyone involved.

„It is a big shift that is happening and in the end musicians will have more options and outlets to make a living. You just have to be a bit wiser to get by.“

Dead: You perform with a band, but do you prefer to compose alone or with others?  Who is this band – are they session musicians or are they an actual group? How did you get to know them?

Boombip: I prefer to write and compose alone. It is just easier for me. I have a technique and a way that I write that does not lend itself to having others in the process… unless they are extremely patient. The band is Jeff Byron and Marty Sataman at the moment. Jeff is in a band called the Mae-Shi and Marty is part of several bands. They do a bit of session work around Los Angeles but for the most have their own thing and just help me out when I tour live. I heard about Marty through a mutual friend when I was looking for a keys player. Marty then suggested Jeff when I needed a bassist for the Interpol tour. We all can handle our own on various instruments so it is nice to have that luxury. I also think 3 is the magic number.

Dead: How do you work in general and what do you use?

Boombip: I like to work from my home for the majority of the writing process. I have a small studio that is very refined at this point. In it I have Logic as my main software. I use various Native Instrument programs and a handful of others for synths. I have some analog synths, guitars, amps, toys, etc. that is used often. I like combining the digital with the tangible. My songs usually start with a simple melody or else a drum pattern. Then it is just a compose and record as you go at that point. I eventually want to just write and have a few musicians play with me and record it to get more of a swing.

Dead: You have also remixed works of a wide range of people. How do you choose to remix a track and is there anyone you would love to remix?

Boombip: Usually remixes come out of social interactions with people. It is kind of like „keep in touch“ when you say goodbye to someone. So most of the people I have remixed I met through some random musical gathering or social situation. It is an easy way to work together without much effort or interaction. I choose remixes based on the artists work. It is simple, if I like it or think they make good work then I am happy to work on it. Sometimes it is based on respect for their work then the actual track I am working on itself, so it varies. I would love to remix P.J. Harvey.

Dead: How did you get to work with Gruff Rhys? Did you know Super Furry Animals before working with him and is that how you got together?

Boombip: I was asked to open for Super Furry Animals on their north american tour. I had heard the name before I was asked but did not know their music. So I literally went out and bought everything I could. I really enjoyed their range and their work so I agreed to the tour and thought it would be a really good jump for me on the live end. It was. I became such a fan of that band after the tour. Their live show was amazing and I learned a lot from Gruff and the others. After the tour they asked me to do a remix for them. Instead of payment I asked for Gruff to sing on a track of mine on the album I was working on. That song became „Do’s And Don’ts“ on „Blue Eyed in the Red Room“.

Dead: In an earlier interview, you mentioned a defensive stance toward HipHop because you had already worked with all the interesting people in the Hip-Hop scene – so how did it come that you produced busdriver’s new album „Roadkillovercoat“, which seems to be new dancefloor versions of your earlier break beat works?

Boombip: Well, to clear the record I did not say I had worked with all the interesting people in the HipHop scene. I simply stated that I worked with the people that I respected and thought stood out from the others and had something fresh. There were many others doing the same and I did not work with them. I really never planned to return to doing Hip-Hop tracks again after „blue eyed in the red room“. In fact, my heart was moving in more of rock direction but Busdriver approached me with ideas about his new record and some demos of what him and nobody were doing and I was blown away. Busdriver’s range is amazing and he has so much more to offer then what the world has already heard. I am really, really happy with what we came up with and would work with him again in a second. He, to me, is making underground HipHop exciting again and it brings me back to what was happening in the early 90s but with a new twist.

Dead: On your new EP it seems that you totally changed your mind. Do you think this was a progress that you took step by step or did you want to try something really different from your older records?

Boombip: Well a bit of both. I like to challenge myself with my music and try new things. I was listening to a lot of early dance music that I was into in college. The cycle came back around for me and I was hearing it again for the first time, know what I mean? So I became obsessed again with bands like 808 State, Front 242, Black Dog Productions, Phuture, early acid house, etc. Italian disco was also a huge influence on this album. Just listening to the CBS top 100 while in London was a massive influence on the EP. I wanted to mess around with making the stuff but not just recreate what I was hearing. Just take bits and pieces and make it my own. So that is where the sound of the new EP comes from.

Dead: So aren’t you worried that some of your early fans might get disconcerted by this?

Boombip: I don’t think it is that much of a departure where fans will run away screaming. You can still hear „me“ in the music. I think the fan base I have developed know my influences come from all different types of music and they themselves enjoy many types of sounds. Actually, I am not worried at all. The right people will continue to support and follow me where I may go.

Dead: What does the title of you new EP ‘Sacchrilege’ mean for you?

Boombip: The EP is a bit happier and dancier then what I usually do. The artist of the EP artwork and I talked about how the sound is „sugar coated“ and how it sounds like boom bip on the effects of sugar. I also knew it was a departure from what I usually do and some fans may view it as sacrilige to what they are familiar with. So put the artificial sweetener sacchrine together with the term sacrilige and you get sacchrilege. The album artwork is all based around the idea of sugar as well: the cake, the rabbit, the teeth, the bladders, look close and you will see it all in there.

Dead: What are your projects for the next few months?

Boombip: I am mixing and finishing the Neon Neon project with Gruff. We have a bunch of amazing guests such as The Magic Numbers, Spank Rock, Fat Lip, Yo Majesty and others. I am really excited about that. I am also working on getting the new Boom Bip album out this fall. I am doing tracks for Har Mar Superstar’s new album on Dim Mak. Dany Warhol’s remix, something for Bjorn of Peter Bjorn and John, etc. etc. I have a lot to do. I should get to work…

Published in DEAD Magazine Issue III
Foto(s): Christian Netter, Bryan Sheffield