Bombay Harambee are almost two years old – but after listening to their excellent single “Check, Check, Checkmate” I’d swear that they’ve been around for decades. Not too far off a fusion of 80s post-punk icons Mission of Burma with the hooks of say, Ted Leo, BH dump a lot of fervor into their music. CCCM starts with a wicked hook and quickly ramps up to full speed – almost like the band is rushing to get to the next song. But even then they don’t slow down and rip right into “Blew La Lune” for another 3 minutes and 20 seconds of catchy post-punk.
The band has pulled together ten tracks for a tape-only release on Wiener Records called Wolfman Fellowship. It will be released on January 13 and is limited to 150 copies. You can order it HERE
Vocalist, guitarist Alexander Jones answered our questions.
I’m Alexander and I sing and play guitar. Trent also plays guitar. Dave’s on bass. Jason drums.
We are originally from…..
Trent, Jason, and I are each from Arkansas originally. David was born in Chicago and lived in New York before moving to Little Rock.
50third: People say we sound like….
In write-ups we’re often compared to Pavement, Pixies, Gang of Four, and Interpol. People say my voice sounds like Michael Stipe, which I’m totally cool with.
50third: How did you become Bombay Harambee?
Trent, David, and I went to college together at Hendrix College, a small liberal arts school in Conway, Arkansas. Jason and I played together in a previous band. That band broke up, so I started a new one, and here we are!
50third: What music has had an influence on your sound?
Each of us contributes different influences. We all listen to everything under the sun. I’d say any band wears its influences to some degree. Pavement is fair. Pixies too. Talking Heads. I was obsessed with the Kinks in high school. My favorite rapper is GZA.
50third: Tell us about the scene in Arkansas…
Little Rock has a cool scene. We’re proud of our hometown. Musicians look out for each other, and people are down for whatever around here, so long as it’s good. Americana, metal, and punk bands often share bills and members with each other. There’s a vibrant DIY community with ever-revolving addresses of house shows. The Main Squeeze was awesome while it lasted, but those guys are still doing their thing.
The White Water Tavern is worth a mention. Matt White does an exceptional job. In one week you might see Billy Bragg, Billy Joe Shaver, or Ty Segall play a set, and most of the time for less than $10. It has burned down three times but somehow keeps on going.
50third: Tell us about your live show…
We play fast and loud. We bridge the stage/crowd barrier as much as we can. We are playing houses and small clubs, so that hasn’t proven to be too hard.
50third: What influences the band lyrically?
I’m pretty certain that life experience is what dictates songwriting for just about everyone. I’ve had my portions of both tragedies and triumphs. I try to avoid being too stern or too carefree. Balance is good. Obviously you do want things to rhyme.
50third: Our most memorable gig ever was….
A lot of bands tend to play Little Rock around SXSW. Last year we played with Speedy Ortiz, PILE, and Big Ups at Vino’s (an old punk haunt with a microbrewery). Each of them really brought it that night.
50third: If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….
I’d hang out with the Beatles in 1968. I didn’t realize until recently that the White Album came out two weeks after Nixon got elected. “Fun’s over everybody!”
50third: Growing up, at home we listened to…..
Oh man. I grew up as the only son of divorced parents. On my mom’s side I had a steady dose George Clinton, Madonna, Blondie, and James Brown. My dad was a huge Doors fan. Also Beatles, R.E.M., Tom Petty, Billy Idol. I once saw Billy Idol in Seattle with my dad. He ended the set by shrieking, “I’m Billy Fucking Idol” and the lights cut to black. That guy has still got it.
50third: What tunes are on heavy rotation for you…
Under Color of Official Right by Protomartyr was excellent. Sunbathing Animal by Parquet Courts was superb. Spoon quietly put out a great album. Ex Hex’s was awesome. Got to see them play with Speedy. Really enjoy NOTS.
50third: If you could open for any band right now who would that be and why?
50third: When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…
Probably studying for the bar exam.
50third: The one thing we want you to remember while you’re listening to us….
If it sounds like we messed up, we probably did.
50third: What’s up for 2015?
It’s shaping up to be a big year. In January we’re releasing a cassette compilation of older material, B-Sides and a few songs that will be on our LP. Should be available on our Bandcamp. We’ll ship it to you for real cheap!
In March we’re releasing a 7” of “Check, Check, Checkmate” and “Dotted Line”. It’s a nice excuse to play shows up the East Coast. Booking is not quite finalized, but we’re looking forward to playing both New York and DC for the first time.