Bombay Harambee doesn’t just have a unique name. The four-piece from Little Rock combines “crunchy grunge, punk sensibilities and pop songwriting” for an all-around unique, good-time experience.
The band is made up of Kurt Alaska (drums), Dave Spacemman (bass), Trent Whitehead (lead guitar), and Alexander Jones (songwriting, vocals, rhythm guitar). These four musicians will be in Fayetteville releasing their new and first album, You Know Better, at J.R.’s Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville on Jan. 11.
They’ll be joined by May the Peace of the Sea Be With You, High Lonesome and Teenagers, which are also known for their originality in lyric and sound. We got to sit down with the band for a short Q and A, so enjoy!
You can find out more about the band and sample their music at www.facebook.com/BombayHarambee and bombayharambee.bandcamp.com.
Q: What’s the history of Bombay Harambee?
A: We’ve all known each other forever. We all went to college at the same time in Conway at either Hendrix or UCA. For whatever reason we hadn’t played together as a group until Bombay Harambee.
David and I (Alexander) first started jamming on some songs I’d written in late 2012. After Trent and Kurt each moved down from Conway, we started working the songs up as a four-piece. Last spring we began playing around Little Rock and made it up to Smoke and Barrel over the summer. Everything has been gelling together, and we’re really excited to get back to Fayetteville with our first EP.
Q: What can listeners expect from the new album?
A: The new record’s called “You Know Better.” It’s six songs with a runtime of about 22 minutes. It’s all us, and it’s pretty stripped-down. With few exceptions it’s just two guitars, bass, kit and vocals. You should play it loud.
All of us come from such different playing backgrounds that I think diversity is what stands out most — be it in tone, structure or arrangement. There’s crunch and heavy fuzz in “Hopscotch” alongside a much mellower, reverby ballad in “Millionaire.” As for the lyrics, one coherent element is that each song is addressed to someone in the first-person. I wrote most of these songs in the winter of 2012, and there’s a wintry vibe in terms of lyrical tone and theme. Again, we included varied speed and timbre, for we wanted to broadcast our full range of sound on this EP.
Q: You mentioned using pop lyrics, tell me a little bit more about that and why you chose to go that route.
A: We want our songs to get stuck in your head, and we want people to be dancing and having fun at our shows. When we say, “pop songwriting,” that’s what we mean — we didn’t put anything longer than four minutes on the record. We’re more interested in grabbing your attention and getting you going than we are in pure sonic experimentation.
As far as genres go, we blend elements of garage, indie and punk. We’d count bands like Pavement and Queens of the Stone Age among our influences. I suppose most people don’t really think of those bands as “pop” per se. At the end of the day though, it still gets you tapping your feet and singing along, and that’s what we’re trying to emulate.
Q: Tell me about recording the album.
In August we went into Wolfman Studios in Little Rock and knocked out the EP in a day and a half, and we can’t wait for everyone to get their hands on it. The response has been very positive so far.
Jason Tedford is a really great engineer, and we highly recommend him to any Northwest Arkansas bands looking for a studio to work with. He was really instrumental in helping us craft our finished product.
Q: What can audiences expect from the CD release party?
A: JR’s is such a cool venue, and we can’t wait to get up to Fayetteville again. We’re playing with our buddies May the Peace of the Sea Be With You and High Lonesome. All three bands put on a really good show, so we hope people show up early to get good and rowdy drunk on bourbon. We’ll have CDs for sale along with t-shirts and stickers!
Q: What do you love about playing your genre of music?
A: I’d have to say the best part is the reaction at shows, without a doubt. Our best show so far was a recent house show at the Blue House in Conway. Everybody was packed into this tiny living room, and people were moshing. One of our friends got thrown into David during a song, toppling over his amp and everything. All this happened about 3 feet away from me, and I had no idea. The next morning we found footprints four feet up the wall.