Bombay Bassment: ‘We Just Want People to Have a Good Time’
The Mumbai reggae/hip-hoppers aim to soundtrack your parties with their third release ‘OK, Dance’
In December of last year, Mumbai-based reggae/hip-hoppers Bombay Bassment parted ways with longtime drummer Levin Mendes. The rest of the band, comprising MC/rapper Bob Omulo, bassist Ruell Barretto and DJ Major C, decided not to look for a new member right away. On Mendes’s departure, Barretto says, “Levin wanted to move on with other avenues as far as music is concerned. When someone leaves, it takes away creativity from the band.” However, this setback didn’t stop the now three-man-act to hit the studio and craft a brand new record titled OK, Dance.
The band already has two albums under their belt, their 2014 eponymous debut LP and 2016’s Bombay Bassment X FUNC VIP. But this time, the group has opted to release an upbeat five-track EP. “It’s a reality that given the nature of our lifestyles [that] attention spans [sic] is that much less,” says Omulo on why the band decided on putting out an EP. The new record has an overall party vibe to it and is packed with fresh sounds, smooth bass lines and slick samples. “We’re making happy music, when you see us live we want you to dance,” says Barretto.
The opening track on the record, “Yes Yes Ya’ll,” is almost anthem-esque. The song has a community feel to it and draws from hip-hop, fusion and electronica. “We wanted something at the beginning of our set to act as an ice breaker so everyone sings along,” explains Barretto. Other songs on the record such as “Put Em Up” and “Party Party” are basically “party tracks,” according to the band. Just as Omulo is about to explain the inspiration behind his lyrics, Barretto interrupts in jest: “The one and only inspiration for any Bombay Bassment track is ‘Hello Ladies.’”
Jokes aside, the frontman of the hip-hop crew mentions that DJ Major C usually comes up with a few samples and he tries to hone in on the ones he likes. “I start listening to the track and write what I am feeling at the time and come up with lyrics that make sense,” says Omulo.
OK, Dance was recorded at DJ Major C’s home studio in Mumbai. The EP was mixed by Mumbai-based producer Abhi Malhotra and then sent to AudibleOddities’ Shawn Hatfield in the U.S. for mastering. “When people come they want to hear the live element, but when they are chilling at home not so many are looking for that live element or appreciating that live element,” says Omulo. “It’s almost like we got two sounds; our live sound and recording sound.”
Bombay Bassment are on a multi-city tour all this month and most of June to promote the new record. The group will be playing at venues they haven’t performed at before, such as Chennai’s Bay 146 and Bengaluru’s blueFROG. They’ll also perform at Mumbai’s Bonobo for the first time since they played their debut gig there seven years ago. “It takes a lot of work and energy to execute a tour. This is why I got to bring up Mixtape,” says Omulo. “The difference between us and many bands is that we’re with the right people and it makes a huge difference.”
Joining the band on drums for their gigs in May is Jeremy D’souza from Mumbai punk rockers The Lightyears Explode. Barretto stated that the group still hasn’t locked a drummer for the June leg of their tour but hinted at Mumbai alt rockers BLEK’s drummer Linford D’souza.
The reggae/hip-hoppers have already started writing material as a follow up EP to OK, Dance. The group intends on heading back to the studio as soon as they wrap up their tour. “The rate at which we are producing music and the way we’re putting it out is a mismatch, so there is a lot of backlog building up,” says Omulo. “We want to keep progressing and keep it going.”
‘OK, Dance’ Launch Tour Dates:
May 12th – Bay 146, Chennai
May 13th – Goa Food & Cultural Festival, Goa
May 27th – Bonobo, Mumbai
May 28th – High Spirits Café, Pune
June 22nd – Bandstand, New Delhi
June 24th – blueFROG, Bengaluru