Fifteen Questions With Back Beat Sound System
by Lauren John. Published June 19, 2009.
Back Beat Sound System has only been together a short time, but they’re already making a name for themselves in the South West with their summertime blend of reggae, funk, Jazz, Pop, and Soul. I caught up with band member Dean to find out more about the band who are winning over fans and media alike.
1 – What is your band / artist name, and why did you choose it?
Back Beat Sound System. Choosing names has always been somewhat tricky, but when we were searching for a name, this one just kind of jumped out. We wanted something that was going to give people an impression of what they were going to get, and I think the name works perfectly with our emphasis on dance & reggae.
2 – What stage are you at in your career at the moment?
We’re just really starting to push the band onto bigger things. We really want to spread the reggae love as far as the eye can see, playing bigger and better parties, gigs & festivals!
3 – What is your music background? (Who are you and your band members? Tell us your story!)
Well the band basically got together as somewhat of an experiment in sound. I started fiddling around in the studio writing some reggae, purely because I had never done it before, and it was fun to make. I realised that I was onto something good when everyone I played the track to absolutely loved it. That’s when I got Darren, lyricist extraordinaire, to lay down some vocals with me on the track, and ever since then we have been writing together. I then called in my Brother Elf to plays the keys, as we had been itching to work together musically for a long time, and this was the perfect opportunity. All the rest of the band members were guys that I knew well from previous projects and bands, and after a few minor changes, we ended up with the band that we have now.
Musically, none of us actually came from a really reggae background, obviously we all liked reggae, but none of us were heavily into until we started the band. I think that’s why our sound is different to most reggae you’ll hear. We throw all our influences into the songs, from hip hop, funk, jazz, pop, soul, ska, it’s all in there!
At the end of the day, we write songs that we can pump out live, but also have deepness to them, so it really doesn’t matter weather you’re listening to them in your car, or in a club, they should hopefully touch you in some way!
4 – How do you describe your music to people?
I’m usually a bit stuck for an exact way to sum up our music, as it merges a lot of styles, but I think “party, sexy, funky reggae” does the trick!!
5 – What do you think about people downloading music online?
I think it’s inevitable. I don’t think it’s all bad though, at the end of the day, it means that you can get your music to a much much wider audience, and people who might not have gone out and bought your CD, will know the tunes, tell their friends, and hopefully turn up to your shows.
6 – What dream tour would you love to be on, with any past or present bands?
That’s tough, at the risk of sounding incredibly cliché, I think it would have been amazing to go on tour with Bob Marley. He always had such emotion and intensity on stage, and the music was just so much fun, plus I think they definitely knew how to party!
7 – What have been the biggest obstacles for you, to get your music heard?
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8 – What is the best freebie you have ever been given?
I don’t think I’ve ever really got any big freebies (woe is me!)….a free pint is always nice!!
9 – Everyone has a song that annoyingly sticks in their head, what is yours
at the moment?
I hate to admit its Lily Allen’s new ridiculously infectious tune. Every time it comes on the radio im damned to perfectly engineered pop choruses for days!!!
10 – Who are you tipping for the top, music wise?
I don’t really listen to a lot of music that could make it ‘to the top’ in a commercial sense. I like Jamie T, and also a guy called Natty from London who is really going places. I would expect to see a lot more of him around this summer!
11 – What do you do with your free time?
Drink a lot of tea! I like going out and having a dance. Quite a few of my friends are DJ’s, so I really enjoy that. The usual really I also got really really addicted to watching David Lynch’s 80s TV series Twin Peaks, that totally took over my life for a while!!
12 – Have you discovered any interesting music related sites online?
Not so much a music site, but there is a free program you can download called Spotify. It lets you basically search and stream any music you could think of for free. It’s all totally legal, and it’s great. Thoroughly recommend it for anyone who doesn’t have it already!
13 – Which comes first, the music or the lyrics?
It depends really. Sometimes I start with 4 lines, a chorus, or something that I’ve written previously, and sometimes it’s the tune. Whenever I’m writing I always have a melody in my head, but not always with lyrics.
14 – Tell us about your next gigs and why we should be there!
We’ve got a few small gigs coming up with an amazing bunch of DJ’s called HongKongPingPong which are always amazing fun. Everyone in the room just seems to share the same energy and fun we have on stage, which always ends up as the whole crowd dancing their legs off and having a great time. We’re also playing at the Relentless Boardmasters festival in Newquay in August, which we’re really excited about. We’ll be sharing the same stage as Cypress Hill, The Streets and loads more amazing acts, so that should be an awesome weekend! We have also just hooked up with a touring festival venue, so we should be on a lot more festys to come!!
15 – Interview questions can be quite dull, so what do you really want to be
to talking about now?
How much fun this year festival season is going to be, and what ridiculous antics are going to take place!!
If you want to see what antics Back Beat Sound System get up to on-stage, then head on down to Cornwall this summer, or if you can’t make it surf over to www.myspace.com/backbeatsoundsystem to listen to their tracks. Get into the Reggae Groove this summer, you know you want too!