DOUSTER & BONJAY @ THE HIFI 05.13.10 • INTERVIEW & MP3S
THIS THURSDAY @ THE HIFI (CALGARY) IS A MASSIVE THOWDOWN OF EPIC PROPORTIONS INCLUDING MY #1 RANKING DJ AND PRODUCER - DOUSTER! ALONGSIDE CANADIAN HOME GROWN DUO, THE UBER TALENTED BONJAY! WHO IS BONJAY YOU MIGHT ASK? I RECENTLY SAT DOWN WITH ALANNA & PHO TO BRING YOU UP TO DATE:
STEREOBAIT: What/Who is Bonjay?
Alanna: Bonjay are Alanna Stuart on vox and Pho on beats and effects. When we have to put a name on it we say we sound like dancehall meets R&B and indie. And we're from Toronto.
STEREOBAIT: What/Who started you on the dancehall sound?
Alanna: Dancehall for me started when my sister brought home Lady Saw "Raw" on cassette. My mother banned it from our house, but it didn't stop me. It was this music that I wasn't allowed to listen to, but all of my friends at our West Indian Pentacostal church would chat about during choir practice. I would go to church on Sundays, but on Saturdays I would copy the Chaka Demus and Pliers video on Xtendamix and practice wining while doing a head stand. As a 13, 14 year old girl, listening to dancehall made me feel grown.
Pho: One of my earliest memories is visiting my cousins in Toronto, walking down Yonge and feeling the bass. I didn't know what it was but I liked it! So it's been a long time. But I didn't start making dancehall-influenced music until the mid 2000s, around the time that hip hop started running low on new ideas beat-wise and stuff like the Applause riddim and South Rakkas was coming out. I was always big into both UK bass music and hip hop and here was a style related to both with NO RULES at all. I can't think of a better starting point if you want to build a unique sound in 2010. . .
STEREOBAIT: What/Who is your 2010-2011 influence/inspiration?
Pho: A lot of my favourite music walks the line between forward-thinking and accessible. So right now I think producers like Joker, Zinc and Sticky are probably doing that the best. Lately I'm listening to a lot of weird old soul music like ESG, Labi Siffre and the 20th Century Steel Band. Really in terms of inspiration I learn so much from guys I run into in Toronto like Egyptrixx, Graham from Thunderheist, Alias, Nacho Lovers, Alister from Grand Analog, Azari & III, Marcus Visionary - and lots more.
Alanna: During the vocal writing phase of this EP, I really surprised myself with my influences. At first I reached for Aaliyah tunes and the Roisin Murphy and Seiji collaborations for ideas. I'm a big fan of both vocalists and they both feature on big beats. But in the end it was Talking Heads, St. Vincent, Dirty Projectors and other music that I listen to more regularly that I studied most. Like Pho's influences, I think those artists are excellent at making forward-thinking, complex music easy to listen to. There's a lot of dimension to the vocal production of those records too. You think you're listening to one lead vocal, but on the tenth listen pick out a ghost-like backup tucked in the back. That's what's influencing my side of things: finding ways for our EP to earn that tenth listen.
STEREOBAIT: What is your creative process for making music?
Pho: For me it starts with an idea for a story to tell - an emotion or a situation. So I start putting together the sounds to get those feelings across. In dancehall they say you "build a riddim" and that's how I think: starting with a foundation, constructing the scaffolding then adding the decorations. And leaving holes here and there when it feels right.
Alanna: For me, I like to sit and riff on vocal ideas until I find one that locks into the instrumental. But, I will take away Pho's idea for a story and create vocal parts that achieves the mood of the story. I record myself these days and it gives me the mental freedom to go 'out there' with my ideas without worrying about what the engineer is thinking. My general rule for creating is, not so much going for 'weird', but if an idea feels too safe for me, then I have to go in and write again. I try to push myself to think that much further ahead.
STEREOBAIT: Whats next for Bonjay?
Alanna: Our upcoming EP is called Broughtupsy and it's our first all-original body of work. I feel like we're finally starting to get close to the sound we have in our heads. It's definitely dancehall-inflected, but with more singing than chatting and a bunch of twists and turns. It comes out in the fall, but we're already looking ahead to writing the first album.
Pho: Yeah it's hard to describe. I was in the studio with our engineer today and trying to get at what kind of a finished sound we're aiming for - we ended up touching on The XX, Beenie Man, and Shuggie Otis. And once the Broughtupsy tunes are sent off to the pressing plant I REALLY can't wait to start fresh on a bunch of remixes and sketches of album tracks...
BONJAY WILL BE @ THE HIFI CLUB THIS THURSDAY PERFORMING LIVE ALONGSIDE SMALLTOWN DJS AND A MASSIVE DOUSTER DJ SET! CHECK OUT BONJAY MUSIC BELOW & GET PUMPED FOR THE SHOW! HIT EM UP ON TWITTER
BONJAY • GIMME GIMME
BONJAY • FAAT GYAL
@ 9:27 AM by gordon thomas