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Interview: Bost and Bim

Interview: Bost and Bim

Interview: Bost and Bim

By on - Photos by Franck Blanquin - Comment

"Our meetings with foundation artists like Alton Ellis and Leroy Sibbles have helped us to understand a lot about the music"

Sampler

Bost & Bim is the French production duo of guitarist Jérémie “Bim” Dessus and saxophonist Matthieu Bost, brother of Pierre Bost, co-founder of Special Delivery, another French production unit.

This duo has worked with a broad number of Jamaican and European singers and deejays, and has dropped several acclaimed one riddim compilations, such as the Soprano riddim and the Hustlin’ riddim.

They have also made the legendary hip-hop and R&B meets reggae and dancehall mashup mixtape series 'Yankees a Yard'. The third instalment was put out in 2010, and in June 2012 they dropped a third volume of 'The Bombing', a compilation with their best remixes.

Bost and Bim

From the beginning: how did you meet and start to work together?

We met in a reggae band in which we played in the early 90s. Then we started making beats using an Atari and a sampler S2000. Our first collaborations with singers were with French singers Tairo and Matinda. Our first riddims were produced in 1999.

We built our first backing band around 1998; Al Campbell is the first Jamaican we backed. It was rare then, the artists usually travelled with their Jamaican musicians.

What are your influences and inspiration in Jamaican music?

Like most people we discovered reggae through artists such as Marley, Burning Spear, The Gladiators... Then gradually it deepened and we began to appreciate rocksteady, rub-a-dub, dancehall... From the start we have always played reggae (or rather Jamaican music) but we never specialised, it was the school of the backing band that taught us that.

One day you have to support an artist from the 60s who plays rocksteady and the next week  you work with a dancehall artist.

We appreciate all styles of Jamaican music, this is reflected in our productions in which we never limited ourselves (nor with other music for that matter). We appreciate all styles depending on the mood. It fosters diversity in our music. In the same way it's very refreshing for the head to move from an ultra-roots production to a dancehall production or a "one drop", we don't have time to get tired.

What are the collaborations that have most affected you?

Bost and BimIt's hard to choose, each meeting is unique. For example the one with Alpheus is special to us because we spent a lot of time together. He brought his experience and expertise in how to approach things. At the time he had just released his album with Studio One.

Of course we'd include our meetings with foundation artists like Alton Ellis and Leroy Sibbles with whom contact has helped us to understand a lot about the music.

Encounters with artists are more intense during shows and tours, we have more time to get to know people. In the studio, the encounters are faster and shorter.

How did Yankees A Yard mixtapes get started?

We started making some reggae remixes of hip hop instrumentals like 50 Cent 's P.I.M.P. even before pasting acapellas on it, then began to think of the concept of Yankees A Yard. We felt that people around us liked it so we were motivated and haven't stopped ever since then...

We released volume 3 of 'The Bombing' in May and have put out over fifty 45s. There was an excellent response from the public, especially from the public who generally listen to very little reggae...

What does a song need to work well with Yankees A Yard?

We start with songs for which we have the acapella because not everything is available. Sometimes we also meet with constraints in tempo or melody on certain tunes but increasingly we approach this as a challenge, the constraint is an engine of invention.

Sometimes we found acapella songs that we don't enjoy at the start but end up liking through working on the remix.

Recently, how did you end up collaborating with Omar Perry and J Boog?

Omar, we've known for long time through the live shows, he had already performed on one of our series: the soprano riddim. We offered him a tune that made sense for us since this it's a recut a tune of his father's. ('Love Inna Mi Heart' on the Words Of My Mouth riddim).

It has been released in digital format and also on 10'' with an excellent cut of Earl Sixteen and two instrumental versions.

J Boog we met through Peetah Morgan (Morgan Heritage). He sent us the tune 'Coldest Zone' on our Hustlin riddim and we loved his cut. He also appreciated our work and used three of our riddims on his new album.

Would you make a whole album with an artist?

It's something that we would like to do but often when an artist makes an album, he prefers to use different teams to have the best of each producer. However, there are some albums on which we have worked extensively such as those of Queen Omega or Alpheus released by Special Delivery music.

Bost and Bim - 2012 releases

You just released a Dub album. Can you tell us about it?

Yes, it's a style that we enjoy and up until now we had only released it on B sides. But here we wanted to release a whole album, entirely mixed by Fabwize in his studio. It adds to the foundation of our label (The Bombist) that we are trying to develop in parallel to our work as musicians and producers.

What is your view of reggae in 2012?

At the production level it seems we are in a period of transition. It is true that fewer things come out of Jamaica but in the same time there is more reggae music across the world, in terms of producers, sound systems and backing bands. It's a good thing, it enables exchange and stimulation.

Reggae also seems to have fragmented into a multitude of sub groups (DUB UK, Digital, French roots...).

Jamaica has always been very influenced by the United States, but continues to produce sounds its own way. Everything is cyclical in Jamaican music so a new avatar of reggae (after the "new roots" and the "one drop") will probably return to centre stage after the current phase where dancehall is most prevalent.

What are your projects for this year?

We just released the dub album and 'Let It Fly', a duet between Irie Love & Peetah Morgan. We will release new remixes after this summer on Pirates Records. We keep recording songs for Special Delivery with artists such as Chronixx, Gappy Ranks, Pinchers... We are also preparing two new series, a roots one and a new roots. We are still producing tunes for the albums of singers like Tairo, Peetah Morgan, Lyricson, Nico D, Jah Sun, AKA Koxx... and of course, we continue to be live performers alongside many artists and we will tour to present our dub album live this winter... so see you soon at a stage near you.

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