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Name: Adam Bernard
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Artist Of The Week - Sonic Boom Six
Monday, November 24, 2008

Mix punk rock, reggae, ska and Hip-Hop, throw in a feisty female vocalist and add some lyrics with depth and meaning and you get Sonic Boom Six, Manchester, England’s favorite “Genre-Terrorists.” Recently, Sonic Boom Six made a rare appearance in the States and afterwards I caught up with Ben C, Laila, Barney, Neil (pictured L to R) and Nick (not pictured) to find out more about how they developed their sound, what “Genre-Terrorism” is all about, and what kind of crazy things they’re experienced while in their tour van.

Adam Bernard: Let’s start out by talking about the evolution of your sound. When did you start mixing genres and when did you know when you had it just right?
Barney: It was from the beginning that we were mixing it up because that’s what it was always about. We came to the whole thing very conscious of what we were gonna try and do, but it wasn’t until a couple of years in that it sounded like an easily distinguishable style rather than just a load of bits that went from punk to rock to reggae to whatever. It took us a while to turn it into a sound. The point of the band was always very much that we were going to play a certain style a music that we thought represented a lot of people that didn’t have a certain band that had all the different kinds of styles they liked. Kids that liked the punk, but they also liked the ska, they liked the Hip-Hop… there’s a lot of ska punk bands, but there’s not a lot of Hip-Hop punk bands, so we wanted to play that.
Laila: We were also going to drum and bass nights in Manchester and seeing people with Bad Brains t-shirts on and punk band t-shirts and we were like well, we like punk music and Hip-Hop and reggae and drum and bass and there are clearly other people that do as well, so we thought let’s play that music.

Adam Bernard: At any point in time where you like “this barely sounds like music. What the heck are we doing?”
Laila: Yes, for the first, at least two, years.

Adam Bernard: The name of your latest album is The Ruff Guide to Genre-Terrorism. How do you define “Genre-Terrorism?”
Neil: Terrorizing the lines between genres.
Ben C: Not terrorizing each genre so each become awful, quite the opposite, we’re terrorizing the lines between them so we blend them into a beautiful thing.

Adam Bernard: Terrorism isn’t exactly a term that’s well loved, so how’d you come up with “Genre-Terrorism?”
Barney: That was me. It was during an interview, I was talking about The Prodigy at the timeWhen they did “Firestarter” they were on the cover of Kerrang! and it was a pretty big deal at the time to have something that was very clearly a dance act on the front of the biggest selling rock mag in the UK. I said that was Genre-Terrorism and the guy I was speaking to said that’s awesome, what a strange term. From then on it was always in the back of my mind. That’s always how it is with these things. Sonic Boom Six, that was something I wrote on a flyer from the band that was in before Sonic Boom Six because there were six of us (at the time) and they said “the Sonic Boom Six return” and I said alright, it would be awesome if we could be called that. With “Genre-Terrorism” it was one of those things like that. It got stored away and it got used a lot later, but we knew it would be incendiary and we knew that people would be ruffled by that. Like you said, terrorism is a term that people react to. We wanted it to be a big statement.

Adam Bernard: What influence do you hope to have on the world through your music?
Barney: A lot of the time you turn on the radio and for an hour you’ll get, in general, lyrics about things where there is not a lot of gravitas there and there’s not a lot of controversial opinions and there’s not a lot of engagement with what’s going on in society and what’s going on in the world. There’s a lot of stuff about love and it’s not even real love, it’s not sweaty love, it’s sugar love, it’s Hollywood love, and that’s what we try to shy away from. We don’t call ourselves a political band, the political thing has definitely been put on us, but we never dreamt of being in a band that wouldn’t want to talk about what is happening and what’s going on and things that make us not only angry but interested and stimulated; anything that gets the blood pumping and that we think is important.

Adam Bernard: So almost by virtue of not singing or rapping about BS you’ve been labeled as political.
Barney: Exactly, and we have a song about that exact subject, it’s called “Tell Me Something That I Don’t Know” and it’s about when people come up to you and say “you’re not gonna change the world you know? You’re not gonna make a difference.” It’s like, I know that, but why would we sing about things that we don’t care about?

Adam Bernard: Finally, now that people have a good idea of who you are as artists, do you have any wild road stories you can share?
Ben C: I have a good story. We were in Southampton and we were driving around on this beautiful day, everything was really good in our world, we were a ska punk band on tour and we were really happy. We had water pistols and we were shooting people out the window. We all thought it was really fun and everything was really great. We were saying “oh we got you” and they were saying “oh you got me” and it was really funny. Then we were pulling up to the venue and we squirted this guy and he really took it the wrong way. He started running up to the van and he had scars on his face. He was the kind of guy you’d imagine could kill you.
Laila: I had the water pistol and Barney went “don’t you fucking dare get him” and when Barney tells me not to do something I have to do it. I aimed, I fired and I got him and he ran after the van.
Neil: And she was shooting out of the window where I sat, so it looked like I had done it.
Laila: He came up and he tried to open the door. He was like “I’m gonna fuck you up!”
Ben C: I just had this real breakdown at the wheel. He was trying to get and I was looking at him. I left the car after the drive and I was shaking, it was awful. We’re not that hard… no, we are. I’m hard!
Nick: That was before I was in the band. We’re hard now.

Related Links

Website: sonicboomsix.co.uk
MySpace: myspace.com/sonicboomsix


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:35 AM  
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