'We're influenced by day-to-day things'

Blending Genres
Last Updated : 23 September 2013, 07:48 IST
Last Updated : 23 September 2013, 07:48 IST

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It isn’t common to associate hip hop, reggae, rap, funk and drum ‘n’ bass with a single band. But that is where ‘Bombay Bassment’, which opened for Snoop Lion in Pune, differs from the rest.

A quirky crew comprising two Goans, an African and a South Indian, they make groovy music that is urban and rooted at the same time.

Sharing the band’s songwriting process, MC Bobkat (Robert Omulo) says,
“Usually, Chandu (Chandrashekhar Kunder) calls me up when he gets an idea and sits on my head for two weeks till I come up with the lyrics. Then we meet at the jam room and everyone start throwing in ideas to put their fingerprint on the song.”

Their music reflects the role that the city of Mumbai has played in their lives, making it almost a dedication of sorts.

“Our love for the city is always going to be there. We still do gigs at the same venues. But the crowd is getting better and more appreciative,” says Ruell Barretto, who plays bass.

Drummer Levin Mendes adds, “We’re influenced by day-to-day things. But in our songs, there’ll always be something about the place where we are when the song was made.”
The band’s first album, temporarily titled ‘Double Decker’, is in its mastering stage — progress that the band sees as one of their biggest achievements.

“It’s the furthest we’ve ever been. So we’re just glad about the fact that it’s going somewhere. The album will have all the early stuff because we don’t have a reference to our early tracks,” notes Ruell, adding, “our sound has a reggae feel with electronica, which is shifting sands all the time. That ensures that we stay relevant.”

DJ Chandu is the one with the duty of keeping it relevant through samples and electronica.

“Before joining ‘Bombay Bassment’, I played in clubs as a DJ. I know I only have to press ‘play’ but hard work is done when I’m writing samples for the songs. I feel it’s getting better and better,” he says. Why Bobkat and the rest of the crew feel that this album is an important step for them is because it is the main point of contact between them and the listeners.

“Most people watch us live. But after the show, there’s no ‘Bombay Bassment’ to take back. That’s where the problem lies. Also, we have a lot of people overseas who listen to our music. They have a hard time picturing what our music is like. The stamp of legitimacy comes from having an album,” explains Bobkat.

“It’s not a necessity because with short attention spans and dot com generation, hardly anybody listens to a band from start to finish. But people have always asked us if we have an album and we just want to get that out of the way,” he adds.

What also stands out is how they believe in keeping it live even in the studio. “As an artiste, I feel that one should get the live act together before jumping into the studio. It took us long to get it right but it’s just easy now because everyone
remembers their parts and lyrics.

You’re able to sound organic emoting the same thing you’d be doing on stage,” sums up Bobkat.

Published 23 September 2013, 07:48 IST

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