Artist Interview: “Boléro” by The Bombhappies

Q: Your latest single, “Boléro” consists of one very soothing melody and rhythm repeated over and over again in various orchestrations. What inspired this idea and how did you make it work so well?

BOMBHAPPIES: Boléro is definitely the type of song that had to be created at one of our jam sessions. What used to be a one-man task (someone wrote the basis for a new song and brought it – almost ready – to the studio) had to change some years back – when we all had kids, it became harder and harder to gather the whole band for rehearsal at the same time, and this also changed our song writing process. Since there is less time and focus on music when you take care of small kids, the music making had to be done – on site – in the studio. And since not everyone is there at the same time, 2-5 members of the group meet in the studio to create something. With Boléro it started as a spontaneous riff, that became one of our “phone recordings” that (with many other sound clips) ended up in our library of “song building blocks.” One weekend during the pandemic, we packed our gear in two cars and went to a summer house in the woods of Värmland (the countryside area where we spent our childhood summers) and finished a few songs during a weekend. Boléro was one of these songs, and while usually adding a chorus and a verse to a riff like that, we loved the melody of the riff so much that we decided to just repeat it for 9 minutes. It sounded amazing and when having lunch listening to what we had recorded, we started talking about Ravel’s “Boléro,” that is structured in the same way. From that moment I think it took 20 minutes to write the lyrics, because the concept was so strong.

Q: Your group took a 10-year break from producing music and are just now releasing again. Did any of you stay musically focused during this time?

BOMBHAPPIES: Yes, music never went away from anyone of us. And we have been rehearsing all the time (but with lower frequency than every week as during our first 17 years together). It was just that our last album (“A Good Fire” from 2012) got… no reception at all… We spent so much time, laid all of our energy and put our hearts into creating what we considered to be a masterpiece – the definitive album. And we got only one (1!) review. And it was mellow. It was like a balloon slowly deflating.

So instead of recording new studio albums, we have been jamming, doing “phone recordings,” and also a few live gigs. Now we have a couple of hundred interesting sound clips that can be made into full songs.

Q: How has it been merging back into the alternative rock scene in Sweden?

BOMBHAPPIES: We don’t know yet! We released Boléro on Midsummer’s Eve (24th of June 2022). In Sweden, this is a day when almost everyone goes on their yearly summer vacation (and are gone for 4 weeks), so it was either stupid or at least “very indie” to make that choice of release date. Also, when our first release in over 10 years is a 9-minute-long song based on one melody repeating, it may take some time for people to pick it up, haha! But, we have got some really nice reactions and some gig dates are coming up soon. Also, “Boléro” is gaining streams on Spotify in a faster pace than any of our previous songs have ever done during its first month on the music platforms.

Q: Your songs are individual in the sense that each one has a completely different sound where the band eludes impeccable progression, unification and emotion. So, do the lyrics inspire the beat or does the beat inspire the lyrics?

BOMBHAPPIES: What an interesting observation! For The Bombhappies it has always been like this: the lyrics are equally important to the (rest of the) music, and it is only when lyrics and music are combined that a song is “whole.” In my opinion, pop music lyrics should (almost) never be read like poetry (without its music) because the two parts (music + lyrics) combined make a greater whole than the parts separately would calculate to (if we were doing math). This is what makes pop music “holy” in my eyes.

And back to the core question: It goes both ways, I guess. Sometimes it starts with a great line, or maybe a textual observation of the state of being. Sometimes it’s like with “Boléro,” we jam together “forever” and then the music builds the idea on what to base the lyrics on.

Q: After 30 years playing together, what has been the highlight of your career and how do you plan to succeed this?

BOMBHAPPIES: Haha, to be frank: we are a very “unsuccessful” band, if “success” is fame and fortune. At least so far, haha! But if we conclude that the highlight itself is that we are still best friends after 27 years, that we still love to hang out (in and outside of the studio), and that we are still making (what we consider) to be some of the best music in the world- then I would choose that over any other scenario that didn’t include all this friendship common history.

Q:  What does music provide for you that other life offerings cannot?

BOMBHAPPIES: Very hard question to answer very specifically, but one time we discussed why no-one of us have decided to “go solo” with our music careers. The conclusion was that for us music and song writing is a “team sport.” If we didn’t do this together, it wouldn’t be the same thing. And then we might as well do other things with our lives. So, in that sense music provides companionship, in a way that many men in our age could use more of. Loneliness stands no chance when friendship is this strong.

Interviewed by Molly Byrne




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