Bittles‘ Magazine | Interview
Formed in the scenic German town of Nuremberg the duo of Peter Heider and Florian Seyberth, otherwise known as Boozoo Bajou first came to prominence in 2001 with the release of their debut album Satta on Stereo Deluxe. Trendsetters and their pets everywhere sat up and took notice of these downbeat dub infused grooves, enthusing over the sublime mixture of trip-hop and jazz which the duo created with a pinch of perfection. Since then the band have devised music in a variety of styles that has always kept the listener intrigued while constantly maintaining an extremely high quality threshold. By JOHN BITTLES
Over the years Boozoo Bajou have become known for their versatility as well as their enthusiastic experimentation, yet what has always defined their music are those liberal splashes of funk, soul, dub, and trip-hop which they combine to thrilling effect. But the band aren’t just about those relentlessly rhythmic dancefloor grooves! Far from it, as their music has always sought to take the listener on an epic journey, never afraid to travel to those jazz inflected areas where lesser mortal might fear to tread.
It seems perfectly fitting then that their new EP is coming out on that bastion of quality ambience Apollo Records. Since its rebirth a few years ago Apollo have released some of the most forward-thinking dance music to tickle these jaded and cynical ears. We’ve had the post dubstep of Cloud Boat, the alien bass of Shadow Child, and all manner of fresh new sounds. The best way to summarise the Apollo mantra is to think of them as looking to the past in order to make music for the future. And trust me when I say that the music they are releasing is a lot more fun and less pretentious than that may sound.
So, how does the four track Jan Mayen EP from Boozoo Bajou sit amongst the exalted company of the Apollo roster? Opener Jan Mayen answers this particular question in considerable style. The track is an epic soundscape that swoons and shimmers with an aching depth for its eight minute duration. Listening to this with your eyes closed you can’t help but be carried away to ever more fantastical worlds. The song has also been clinically proven by a team of top scientists (i.e. me) to be able to calm down a drunk and angry giraffe who is intent on doing you some harm. This makes the tune somewhat indispensable in my opinion!
All four tracks on the EP are stunningly produced and soar to dizzying heights of laid-back vibes. You’ll find luscious strings, hushed beats, and a yearning beauty that can’t help but be pleasing to the ear. Kodiak is almost funky in its own lazy way and echoes early 90s IDM. Stufen-Spitzbergen twinkles in airy delight yet has a menacing little bassline lurking in the background constantly imploring you to dance. Final track Stronsay begins with vinyl crackle and hiss and then develops into the most club orientated of the pieces and ends the EP on a glorious high.
With the duo as busy as ever working on a new album etc I am pretty chuffed that they took the time to answer as few questions for the mag.
In Germany we had a winter with the least light since weather records began. So we started mentally to travel the Arctic Islands. They’ve been our inner inspiration for this EP.
Did you set out to create the EP as a coherent whole?
Except of Stronsay I would say yes. Stronsay was more of an outtake and quick produced track.
Title track Jan Mayen sounds to me like it should be sound-tracking some epic western movie with lots of long lingering shots of the empty desert. What do you think?
Check some pictures of the Island Jan Mayen, that has been the main inspiration. A lonely island between Norway and Greenland. We found some strong photos in the net. But if you see a desert, no problem with that if this triggers your fantasy.
For me one of the highlights of the EP is Stronsay, which, in my mind at least, sounds part 70s funk and part futuristic classic. What was the idea behind this track?
This tune was more mid 90ties inspired when we listened through some odder records out of this time mixed with an afro beat. It was not really planned and it came out by accident
Did you feel under pressure to create a more ambient vibe for the tunes on this EP in the knowledge that it was coming out on Apollo Records?
I’m a big fan of Apollo [from] when the whole ambient thing started. I mean Aphex Twin was a milestone when the Selected Ambient Works came out. For us Apollo has still some kind of aura where we think the ambientish vibe fits pretty well.
How did the relationship with Apollo come about?
Mixmaster Morris who is a big follower of Boozoo over the years linked us to Renaat. We started from there, and the rest is history.
How do you think traditional Apollo fans will react to your EP?
Well we can’t look in a crystal ball, but we hope they understand our try to connect the old days with the new futuristic side of Apollo.
Is there a new album in the pipeline?
Yes there are more tracks to come, we are in the final end, but it still take us lot’s of work till we are satisfied.
Over the course of your career so far you’ve created a pretty diverse and varied body of work with each release sounding different from the last. Was this by design, or a happy coincidence?
We just follow our inner needs & likes. It isn’t something that is planned with strategy. We jam and we try things in the studio, now you can listen to our results.
Your music pretty much defies categorisation. If you had to sum up the Boozoo Bajou sound how would you describe it?
Well we’re always searching for atmosphere & music that tells a story or creates a picture. That would be the best description.
A lot of your work has featured in adverts and TV shows in the past. With dwindling record sales industry wide is this a necessary compromise for a creative band to survive?
No we tried it with the last LP, but this was only a temporary project for a few gigs. Peter started another part time job a few years ago. For me it is still alright that I can make my everyday living but it is getting harder and harder.
I love your mix CDs with both Juke Joint releases still earning repeated play on my stereo. Can we expect a new instalment anytime soon?
So far nothing is planned yet. Let’s see what the next days is happening..
With your very first single Night Over Manaus released over 15 years ago I think it’s fair to say you’ve had quite a successful career. What’s the most important lessons or lessons that you have learned so far?
It’s all about marketing and self promotion where we are not the best, and the music world is a big playground for narcissistic deficits.
Finally, what does the future hold for Boozoo Bajou?
We are still dope on the road to nowhere, and we enjoying a lot what we doing when we work in the studio. As far as this hunger still exist we don’t worry at all.
| JOHN BITTLES
Photos © Tobias Schmitt