Boozoo, Bajou, Dust, Broom
Boozoo Bajou Hit the Bayou
BY JOHN C. TRIPP
It should come as no surprise that four years passed before Boozoo Bajou followed up their first full-length “Satta” with a new release. After all “Satta” means relax in Jamaican patois and the German duo are well-known for their totally-chilled approach to music and life. The rush of daily life might be the driving force for our world but Boozoo Bajou have decidedly opted to take it slow.
The laidback feel of their sound reflects the eased-out attitude and pace with which the Boozoo´s produce their music. Good things simply take time and “Dust My Broom”, meaning to make a clean sweep, marks a fresh new chapter for Boozoo Bajou. Firstly, they’ve parted ways with Stero Deluxe records and joined K7. Secondly, their sound has expanded into blues-influenced vocal territory, with some of their musical heroes like Willie Hutch, U-Brown and Tony Joe White appearing on the album.
Boozoo Bajou have left the lounge behind for the swamp and the resulting blues-meets-dub-meets-downtempo sound is a tasty gumbo straight out of the bayou. “Dust My Broom” is seeped with the trademark laidback Boozoo vibe but is not a rehashing of “Satta“. Yet at the same time, the classic Boozoo sound remains with deep, cinematic textures, a dub sensibility and strong songs.
Boozoo Bajou convey the essence of various roots music styles to the surface and show their intrinsic affinity, no matter if it´s reggae, soul, blues, folk, jazz or original r´n´b. The big bracket that combines the roots cultures with Boozoo Bajou is dub – that particular technique that emerged in the early seventies in Jamaica. A technique that cultivated the dissection and rearranging of music, which is now masterfully applied to the contemporary by Boozoo Bajou.
Mundovibes spoke with Boozoo Bajou’s Peter Heider and Florian Seyberth from their fishing shack, deep in the heart of Alabama.
Mundovibes: You guys have a DJ set tonight at what are you going to be dropping?
Florian: It’s at the deep space Cielo, with Francois K. We played there last year and what I really like about this place is you have so much freedom of what you can play. So I would say the fist hour would be very low and a lot of deep, roots reggae tracks, some dub cuts and some very low, deep soul tracks and take off very slowly.
Mundovibes: Which is what you are all about.
Florian: Yeah, take the time for that, not a hurry.
Mundovibes: It’s been a few years since your first full-length “Satta”. What has changed since then in terms of what you are doing?
Florian: It sounds totally different compared to the first. And after we put this record out we thought “it’s impossible to do a second Satta”. And we have some different tools and it just came out a totally different sound. And on the other end it was working with singers, like Top Cat, and it was a totally different way of working. And we moved into our studio, the studio before was a very big one, now it’s a very small one. And there’s a lot of influences from that you know?
Mundovibes: Would you say one of the biggest changes was more collaboration.
Florian: Definitely, because when you only do instrumental tracks you have 100% control. When you have singers they give the lyrics and we had several tracks where the wrote the song.
Mundovibes: For ‘Dust My Broom’ you have so many interesting collaborators. How did you find these guys?
Florian: Well, we are fans of them and one of our managers, Willie, found them by looking for over a year constantly calling them up like every day. Hunting them like bounty hunters.
Mundovibes: What is it about the blues and southern music that inspired you to do so much of it on “Dust My Broom?”
Florian: It’s, how do you say, “every thing comes out of the blues”. So it doesn’t matter what kind of color you get, it gives it a background you know? You can find blues in reggae, in old soul tracks, funk can be blues. Everything can be blues, so we get all of the electricy from it.
Mundovibes: With “Dust My Broom” is the overall mood and the overall direction or mood you wanted it to be or did it just grow a certain way?
Florian: It should be more spread out this time, “Satta” was more one flow and this time we wanted to try different things out and because of the different characters of the singers we think that the tracks are really more diverse than before.
Peter Heider: The main thing is that we really like music with a cinematic kind of feeling. Our point is always to bring the little things up, it’s really important for us that the little musical things are strong.
Mundovibes: I read somewhere that you don’t really like playing fast music live because you cannot put in those “little” elements.
Peter: That’s true, normally we are more into the flow of the music and working in the studio is not like working on a track in a couple of days. We are working on it for maybe a couple of months and for us this is much more inspiring.
Florian: Slower things come more natural out of us.
Mundovibes: Do you feel like you’re moving and maturing beyond that lounge thing?
Florian: We’ve always been outside of this. People that do this same kind of stuff, Tosca and Peter Dorfmeister, was really supporting us but we didn’t have too much contact with the people. We only saw them if we went to Berlin but there was never a lot of contact with other groups. That was the scene which was really supporting us four or five years ago when we did “Satta”.
Mundovibes: You are both musicians, you play instruments right?
Florian: Me not, I never learned how to read notes and stuff, it’s just instinct.
Mundovibes: Do you feel it’s very important, the live element?
Florian: Of course
Peter: For me, I’m doing the instrumental part of most of it or we organize musicians to do it. It’s good for me just to concentrate, to work with an instrument with Florian beside me telling me what to do or what to leave out.
Mundovibes: Considering all of the people you’ve collaborated with and all of your influences, I read again that you define yourselves as ethnomusicologists. Can you tell me what you fell about what you are doing with the music?
Peter: Overall it’s really to use the different kinds of elements and we try to do it with a lot of respect, you know? And not with just a little trick or a little sample to make it more sophisticated or progressive or something. Really, we try to keep it very respectful. We are mostly influenced by the musical culture of America or Latin America or Africa so this is what we work with.
Florian: For us older records are more interesting than the records that come out now. Now the only major thing is how they use a sample, you know? So, it’s mainly the old music that interests us.
Mundovibes: You worked with someone like U Brown who is so famous and now, instead of sampling him you’re working with him.
Florian: Yes, this was a very nice opportunity.
Mundovibes: What did these guys think when you wanted to work with them? Were they very receptive?
Florian: No, I would say no they’re not really open to that, many because they’re old you know?
Peter: They don’t really know what’s going on here (laughter).
Florian: Maybe we’re surprised sometimes, but they’re just trying it and then hopefully they’ll like it. Most of them we got personal contact with. It was very important to get a common vibe but there were some situations like Willie Hutch, we never met him and we just sent him the track. But this track was not so very progressive or out there you know. We thought that he wouldn’t be comfortable with that.
Mundovibes: Will you be putting together a live band or do you have one already?
Peter: No, we don’t. Nobody is paying for it and we need a big band to do that, but we are doing it as a sound system with a DJ and a singer. But to put together a band is difficult and we would rather be in the studio working on new material.
Mundovibes: What remixes are you doing, since that is such a big part of your work?
Florian: We did a couple of remixes recently, one for Nickodemus, one for the Funky Lowlives and some bootleg stuff–we mixed Jamaican and blues elements.