Berlin-based duo ‘Symbiz Sound’ are a popular name in the global bass scene. Merging hip-hop and reggae with dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass, they’re pioneers of what is best described as ‘future dancehall’. It’s the project of Korean-German brothers Buddysym (Buddy) and ChrisImbiss (Chris), who reek of energy both on and off stage.
Despite the music scene in Germany, this wasn’t what the brothers grew up listening to. “It wasn’t always like this. Our parents made us play the violin and piano when we were kids,” shares Chris, the older brother, to which Buddy adds, “Until three years ago, I didn’t really listen to electronic music. I always liked more bass-oriented music like ska and reggae while Chris would hear a lot of hip-hop and dancehall.” The two agree that dancehall plays a big role in their music because it was the first ‘club music’ that they were exposed to.
For the experimental nature of their music, the duo’s varied influences only proved beneficial. “It’s a good combination. I’m more into harmonics and theory while Chris is the visionary when it comes to this music. Even though it’s really tiring sometimes and we get upset with each other, it really helps having him there to double-check,” confesses Buddy. Chris laughs and says, “The musical conflicts aren’t that heavy. I think the beauty of this project was that we weren’t too into the scene. We could naively do whatever we liked and didn’t have to follow rules of what is acceptable or not in a certain genre.”
Describing the chemistry between the two brothers, Chris shares, “We love and hate each other. Buddy’s the more musical one while I’m more into the production side of things. As brothers, there’s crazy fighting. But we’re also like best friends travelling the world together. We’re very blessed to have that!”
Having released their debut album titled ‘OneFourFive’ earlier this year, touring and collaborating are their main forte at present. In fact, “collaboration is the very nature of this project,” as Buddy puts it. “It’s all about travelling, finding artistes, making relationships and friendships all over the world and keeping in touch through the magic of the internet,” he says. Chris adds, “There are no Indian collaborations yet but I’m sure that’s going to work out. We’ve always been here for a very short time and will hopefully get more off-days the next time.”
This is the duo’s fourth visit to India and despite the initial shocks by the levels of poverty and pollution, “there’s no big culture shock anymore”. “You can see the change in music culture. For example, NH7 Weekender was something really unthinkable 10 years ago when we visited. Since we saw India then and now, we can see that there’s a growing music scene, which is really interesting,” says Chris. On a deeper note, Buddy recalls, “The first time I was here, I remember a little girl following me and asking for money and it made me cry. It doesn’t anymore but still, coming to India is a reality check.”