They’re back! The Boom Booms return to Whistler April 29 at Arts Whistler Live! with a new album set for release this summer, and genre defying music guaranteed to get you up and dancing. If these guys aren’t on your Spotify playlist yet, they should be.
Their unique alternative-soul sound brings to the stage into a highly energetic, and original show making them a staple in the Vancouver music scene. Five members strong, the group consists of brothers Aaron Ross (lead vocals) and Sean Ross (keys), Tom Van Deursen (guitar), Geordie Hart (bass), and Theo Vincent (drums). The Boom Booms were awarded $75,000 in the Peak Performance Project and The Georgia Straight readers voted them Best Unsigned Band in Vancouver four years in a row. Impressive, right?
It turns out they throw a pretty good party too. Community minded and wanting to give back to their home city of Vancouver, the Boom Booms have thrown their own musical block parties, donating over $20,000 to local and international community initiatives. You can add filmmakers to their long list of talents. The Boom Booms spent three months in Brazil, shooting their socially-charged documentary, Boom Boom Brazil taking them through remote indigenous villages affected by the controversial Belo Monte Dam.
We chatted with the boys ahead of their Whistler show to learn about their ever-evolving sound, their ideal festival line-up, and what’s next on their unfolding road of success.
You guys are a tight knit group, some of you going way back to when you were kids. How did you all come together as the Boom Booms?
SEAN: Aaron, Geordie and Theo started playing together back in 2009 after Aaron had released a solo album ‘Butterfly Man’. The summer after we found Tom playing ACDC guitar licks in our tree planting camp and Aaron invited him to move to Vancouver and join the band. I joined the band when we went busking around Europe for 5 months in 2012.
Did you guys ever anticipate or could you have predicted the kind of success you’ve had over the past few years?
SEAN: We have so many amazing fans, not to mention an incredible family and extended family of friends that have supported us since the band started. I have always tried to take it day by day and not look too much to the future. But no, I never imagined when I was younger that I would be able to live off music and for that I am very grateful.
How has your sound changed and evolved over the years?
AARON: It’s gone from fun folk with a Caribbean tinge to pop-funk-soul to now this like, southern-rock storytelling-disco. One thing that hasn’t changed is it’s never fit neatly into a box.
If you could choose your ideal festival lineup to be a part of, what other bands or artists would you want to share the stage with?
TOM: When we played Pemberton Music Festival I had the unique experience of seeing a 45-minutes-late Kendrick Lamar finish off a chicken drumstick backstage as his stage manager put his in-ear monitors on for him. I’d put him on the bill and make sure there was plenty of chicken backstage. So many music festivals are going heavily electronic these days, so I’d make sure to keep it heavy on real instruments. Bands like The California Honeydrops, Red Baraat, Khruangbin… touring bands that put on an interactive and engaging live show and also bend the rules of genre a little.
What advice do you have for bands and artists looking to looking to break into the music industry?
TOM: I think there are 3 main parts. Good, true songs, a strong live show & the willingness to tour, and an understanding of the way the music industry functions today. We spent a lot of time travelling as a younger band, busking through Europe and living out of backpacks, filming in the Amazon and studying music in Rio… This was great and really helped shape our songs and our live show. It took us a long time to embrace and understand the industry though, so while I’d highly recommend taking your band to faraway countries and embracing the way you & your music will change and grow – taking some time to know your brand, what makes you special, and where your music is best suited to be showcased is a smart idea. Also, it’s all about who you know – so don’t burn your bridges and keep your ego in check.
What other artists are you into right now? Who should we be listening to?
AARON: I’ve been listening to the new Weeknd and Bruno Mars albums. The “I feel it coming” track with Daft Punk is the best ‘pop radio’ song I have heard in a long time, I love it. Also still listening to Popcaan all the time, it’s kind of crazy how this whole dancehall-soca inspired pop thing is going on. I swear the phrasing artists are using is especially influenced by him. But anyway. Also listening to Batida, a Portuguese producer/ DJ with some crazy tunes. Especially I love his track “Alegria”. In a similar vein, I’m loving The Busy Twist – check out their track “Friday Night”. Oh and also “Krishnanda”, an album from the late 60’s by Pedro Santos which I heard of through Quantic. It is a trippy, elegant, cinematic, just rad collection of music.
What’s up next for you guys? What are you working towards?
AARON: Well, we’re just putting the finishing touches on recording our album so we should be in the studio by next week starting to create the live show. The album was very much written with the live show in mind. The songs leave a lot of room to be different every night. They’re bigger. More cathartic. More intimate than the music we’ve put out in the past so I’m very excited to perform it live.
Tickets for the Whistler show are selling fast. Come early, have a drink in The Gallery and take in the talents of local musician, Jenna Mae ahead of the show. Get your Saturday night on with a good old fashioned Boom Booms dance party. We dare you to try and stay in your seat!
Jillian van der Geest
Thanks to all of our Arts Whistler Live! sponsors: