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The revolution will be remixed

IN THE THICK OF ACTION Bombay Bassment has earned a confirmed slot at one of UK’s biggest festivals, Glastonbury

IN THE THICK OF ACTION Bombay Bassment has earned a confirmed slot at one of UK’s biggest festivals, Glastonbury  

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Bombay Bassment’s X Func VIP, the result of a collaboration with Randolph Correia, has turned out to be a refreshingly different electronica album

While talking about the challenges of taking a remixed, electronica-leaning sound live to the stage, Mumbai hip hop band Bombay Bassment’s frontman Bob Omulo says, “The new sound is more electronic than our original sound, so right now our bassist is having a tough time figuring out how to re-engineer his parts. The drummer is also having a problem keeping up with the rhythms but he’s already getting into it. Thank god, the vocals don’t have to be tweaked.”

Omulo is talking about Bombay Bassment’s X Func VIP, their recently-released collaboration with guitarist-producer Randolph Correia (from well-known bands such as Pentagram and Shaa’ir + Func), who has remixed the band’s mix of dancehall, reggae, rock and hip hop and turned it into an electronica album. VIP has been long in the pipeline, taking root when Correia nearly drastically changed the band’s self-titled debut album in 2014. Omulo explains, “After he (Correia) finished working on a couple of tracks, when we heard it, there was this difference of opinion – ‘Woah, this is too radically different’. This sounds like somebody else. The thing is, the stuff was still too good for us to toss it away.”

While working on a follow-up EP release for this year, the band revisited Correia’s mixes and found it was the right time to put it out there. “We reached out to Randolph and told him we wanted to release that [remix] album and he said, ‘Oh man, it’s been a while! Don’t release it, because I have got to work on it again and update the sound’,” Omulo says with a laugh. VIP is more of a varied take on their original tracks, with Omulo favouring ‘Reggae Revolution’ and ‘Represent’ as his favourite tracks. He adds, “‘Represent’ is really one of the low-energy tracks on the debut album, but here Randolph has funk-ified it and given it a new life.” The vocalist certainly recommends that artists collaborate with more experienced musicians in the Indian music circuit. “It’s breathing in freshness that neither would be able to pull out on their own. It’s a cool way for an artiste to represent themselves rather than the same old stuff,” he says, adding that they will probably work with Correia in the future as well.

But for now, they’re in the middle of a multi-city tour promoting VIP, with a stop at Bengaluru venue The Humming Tree on June 17. Omulo recalls their last gig in the city was at brewpub Toit in Indiranagar. “The start was a little bumpy, because like any band will tell you, the worst day to play a show is when there’s a cricket match going on. But once the match was over – and I think India won – everybody got in the groove. So it was a happy ending,” he laughs.

Bombay Bassment are going well beyond the Indian club scene later this month, though, with a confirmed slot at one of UK’s biggest festivals, Glastonbury. Being on the same line-up as the likes of Muse, Coldplay, Adele, Ellie Goulding, Anoushka Shankar and more across nearly 100 stages at the sprawling festival, the band thinks it’s still surreal. Omulo is still waiting until each and every detail is sorted, though. He says, “First we were told we were chosen, and then we thought, ‘No, really? Let’s wait until the mail comes in’. So the mails come in and confirm it and we’re like, ‘Oh, really? Let’s wait for them to make the official announcement’. The roster comes out and then I’m saying, ‘Okay, let those visas come in and then we’re really going’. That’s where we are. We’re still trying to pinch ourselves and say this is reality.”

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 8:49:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/The-revolution-will-be-remixed/article14425931.ece

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