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Bedouin Soundclash Chat to Stereoboard About New Album and Reading & Leeds

Monday, 15 August 2011 Written by Rob Sleigh
Bedouin Soundclash Chat to Stereoboard About New Album and Reading & Leeds

Earlier this year, Canadian ska/reggae trio Bedouin Soundclash released ‘Light the Horizon’ – the band’s fourth album to date and their first through their own label Pirates Blend Records following the debut solo release from lead singer Jay Malinowski, ‘Bright Lights & Bruises’. After a successful UK tour back in May, the group will be returning next weekend for an appearance on the Lock Up Stage at the Reading and Leeds festivals. Jay recently explained to Stereoboard that, after a memorable performance at Leeds five years ago, the band are looking forward to heading back…

Your latest album ‘Light the Horizon’ was released in the UK earlier this year. What has the response to the album been like so far?
It’s been good. The last tour we had in the UK was really great.

How are you feeling about the album now looking back?
I think it was a really important transitional record for us as people and in the band itself. We went through many changes in the period between the last two records. We started a label and changed one third of our line-up in the band. The album really solidified our creative working relationship in the band. We purposely took out a lot of songs that would be expected from our band, mainly the ‘happy’ singles that people might know of our band. It was a purposeful decision to make the record darker and more ambient.

ImageHow long did ‘Light the Horizon’ take to write and record, and how did that work compare with your earlier albums?
‘Light the Horizon’ was more or less written in two months prior to recording it. It was the quickest work I've ever done for Bedouin. In the past, we had two to three year run-ups at the records. We were really inspired with this one, having new blood in the band.

How are you finding things now that you have decided to release records through your own label?
It’s more work than we thought it would be, but it’s exciting to be more involved in projects that we love. We are really proud of the records we have been able to release.

How did the decision come about to start up your own label?
About five years ago, we started the idea while we were still at a different management and label. My best friend Dave Guenette was doing our day-to-day work for the band and we kind of hashed out the idea then. About two years ago, we had the opportunity to jump ship and start again. And we did.

A couple of years ago, the line-up of Bedouin Soundclash changed slightly when the band’s original drummer Pat Pengelly left the band. How does life in Bedouin Soundclash compare to a few years ago?
Well, we actually write songs together now, which wasn't always happening then. In general, I think if you put three people in a hard situation for too long, they start to become absolute psychopaths and I think we had all become that to some extent. I know that I had.

What else has changed in the band since your earliest days together?
Mainly the kind of pants we wear. By that, I mean trousers.

What have you learned since then?
Honestly, that you should laugh at yourself and enjoy the moment. There is nothing you can control beyond your own self and life should be enjoyable each day. It’s not about getting through it.

What do you enjoy most of all about being in Bedouin Soundclash?
The insane amounts of ginger beer we get on our rider backstage. I also really love the positivity of the music. I've been involved with a few other projects over the past couple years and I now really appreciate that people come to our show looking for positivity.

Later this month, you’ll be playing at the Reading and Leeds festivals. What can people expect from those performances?
Come looking to dance. We love Reading and Leeds. It holds a special place in our hearts.

Have you played at Reading and Leeds before and, if so, what are your best memories of them?
The most memorable performance of ours came at Leeds from a forgotten night in Reading, I guess. We played the night before in Reading and, being backstage and perhaps not too careful with my health, I went a bit hard. The next morning, it felt like I couldn't swallow. It turned out I had a bronchial infection. That night in Leeds, I couldn't actually even make any kind of sound. We don't cancel shows, so I told my sound guy to blast my monitor and I would try and soldier through it. About two songs in, it all fell apart. Eon [Sinclair, bassist] told the audience I was sick and the entire audience sang the rest of the show for us. It was a really amazing sense of love.

This time around, you’ll be performing on the Lock Up Stage amongst a number of punk and hardcore bands. How are you feeling about the shows?
I am super excited. I did a project with the Bronx earlier this year, but I'm not sure we will get to catch them. Chuck [Ragan] told me that they are playing after us that day, so I'll get to see Hot Water Music. Honestly, the American punk world was the first scene to really embrace us, so we love playing on that stage. Plus, Mike Davies is the man, so we will play his stage anytime.

Is there anyone else on the bill that you are looking forward to watching while you’re there?
I'd like to catch The National. I haven't seen them on this album.

You’ve worked with Darryl Jenifer of Bad Brains in the past. Has punk rock always been a big influence on Bedouin Soundclash?
Yeah, that's how I got into reggae. Bad Brains are larger than life and it was such an honour to work with Darryl. He's still our uncle.

What other musical styles and artists have influenced the band’s sound over the years?
Surprisingly, Eon and I loved drum’n’bass and jungle when we were young - Roni Size, Asian Dub Foundation, Atari Teenage Riot, LTJ Bukem and, although people seem to hate on the term, a lot of world music.

It’s been 10 years since the release of your first album. Where do you see the band in another 10 years?
I have no plans anymore.

What has been the high point of the past decade?
Still being here.

What are Bedouin Soundclash up to at the moment and when can we expect another album?
We are going to start work on it at the end of this year, amongst other things. We finally feel we are in a place now where nothing needs to be rushed. We feel we can relax a bit.

Bedouin Soundclash ‘Elongo’

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