A Chat With: Black Bambi
Montreal's psychedelic rock band Black Bambi recently released their second EP; This Isn't Love. I sat down with Julien Corrado (drums), Sacha Gubany (guitar/vocals) and Jason Tawfik (bass/synth/vocals) to chat about how the band started, the making of the EP, music videos and much more!
How did you guys come up with Black Bambi?
Jason: I think it was word association-just listing a bunch of words we liked and try to combine them and see which one made us trip out
And how did the band come together?
Julien: We just all gravitated towards music together. Sacha has his other band, I was in another band before and Jason was getting into music more on the music production side but he’s always been craving to make loud noise. We were like ‘you know what? Let’s start a band’ Sacha didn’t even know it but he was in the band. It was a surprise to all of us
What made you guys want to become musicians?
Sacha: My dad played guitar and sang when I was a kid and then I wanted to do that. I pretty much did that all throughout being a kid and then less in high school and then in Cegep I started singing and playing guitar again. I was just like ‘all right this is pretty sweet, I could do this’
Julien: I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision to be like ‘I’m going to be a musician’ I was always around instruments and played music. At some point you play more and more and you just become more serious about it and by more serious I mean you practice and you come up with stuff
Jason: Yeah we just listened to a lot of music growing up me and him (Julien)
Sacha: Oh yeah! They grew up together, they’ve known each other since they were kids
Jason: At some point I was like ‘fuck I’m down to make some of this instead of just listening’ I started messing around with the bass and next thing you know I’m playing bass with this kid playing drums and this kid belting it all the way home
Julien: Yeah he’s fucking loud he doesn’t even need a mic
Who are some of your inspirations for the band?
Julien: I don’t know if there’s any specific inspirations
Jason: Well, Led Zeppelin as a drumming influence, sound wise like loud, big, in your face. Tame Impala, anything that’s psychedelic. Hip-hop too was a big influence when we were growing up. Hip-hop beats and bass lines and stuff
Julien: When you think about it a lot of our songs have that drum and bass. Actually, there’s both; we have some songs that start off with riffs which Sacha comes up with and then we put drums to that or bass lines or synths and building off of that
Jason: Or sometimes we just bring entire songs. Like Sacha will write a song or I’ll write a song and Jul will come up with a bass line. We bring something that’s almost ready that we can jam together too and they end up liking it so we jam to it and see what happens
What’s more important: the lyrics or instrumental?
Julien: I’d say both
Sacha: Both together yeah, I can’t say one or the other.
Jason: It depends on your audience I guess. There are some people who only listen to lyrics and don’t even know what a bass line is and some people who only listen to beats and bass lines
Julien: I think it also depends if you’re listening to it in headphones or if you’re going to a show. If you’re going to a show I think it's the instrumental part, I see vocals more as an instrument, like you hear the melody, you don’t necessarily get all the words. We’re trying to work towards getting something more crisp, like having an effect on the vocal but still be able to hear what’s being said. I think live is more the intensity of a feeling and when you’re listening in headphones that’s where crafting the melody and the lyrics to the vibe that you’re setting with the instruments
Jason: Live is instrumental definitely
Julien: But we try to incorporate more- like Jason writes a lot of poetry and Sacha is very good with words. I’m not as good with words, I enjoy words but I’m not good at doing it and in live shows we’re trying to incorporate that more. Our songs have a spoken word in them as well, and just throwing in poetry, kind of The Doors a bit, not necessarily like The Doors but you know how-
Jason: Yeah they’re a huge influence
Yeah I hear that, I was going to say that Mutante and Desert Sun you can hear The Doors influence in there
Julien: Yeah, I find it's a good way to set the tone with that whole psychedelic vibe. It could go on forever but when you throw in poetry or spoken words you’re almost like going to church, you have someone telling you stuff
Jason: Yeah, like a preaching, almost a voodoo vibe, a tribal kind of sense, a shamanic experience almost
When you guys write together, what comes first?
Sacha: For me its been the music first or kind of together. If I’m doing something on my own it’ll be guitar and sort of humming something and then writing something after
Jason: Sometimes I write words first but it's really tough to go from words to a song
Julien: What’s cool though, words to a song, it goes to the emotion. Sometimes Sacha will write lyrics and its like ‘oh what images come to mind’ and then you kind of build on that
Jason: It does help to set an aesthetic for sure cause sometimes you write songs and you’re like ‘what the fuck are we trying to do?'
What does This Isn’t Love mean to you guys?
Julien: The way it all started is we recorded 11 or 12 songs and it was supposed to be one album called This Isn’t Love, We’re In The Jungle which is a poetry work Jason put together and we split it up into two EP’s so This Isn’t Love and the second EP is We’re In The Jungle
Jason: Its funny how it happened too, its kind of lyrics to another song in some other project but I showed it to Julien one day and he was like ‘woah! I like that let’s keep that’
Sacha: the split fit better, like having the 6 songs now and then the 5 or 6 songs later to give people a chance to actually listen to the first 6 and let it soak in. It’s a lot to throw 12 songs at somebody, not everybody is willing to sit down and listen
Julien: What’s cool too is that it's a negative statement, its like you don’t really know what something is but we know its not love. I think it refers to the whole jungle thing of shit happens to you in life and it’s not necessarily love, it just happens and you have to deal with it
Jason: Its also the typical thing of being in a relationship or situation with someone and you think its something but it's not so then you’re like ‘okay this isn’t love, its just bullshit’ or whatever. It can mean that or it can mean anything else
How did Rip You come about?
Jason: I don’t remember, probably just a break up as usual. Most songs for me come from being sad. I’m not walking around in a hype mood writing songs. I’m usually kind of bummed and thinking about shit and I’ll write stuff. That song, I think it's totally random. I was messing with the bass line and I showed it to Sacha and he was like ‘let’s do something with this because I really like it’ and usually the songs I write that I don’t like, people like them and the ones I like people don’t. It always seems to be that
Julien: I get a lustful feeling from it
Sacha: I don’t know I just find it so cool like with the drum beat and the bass…it's so loud but it sucks everything up
What about Mutante?
Sacha: Mutante was a guitar thing that I came up with. It was actually cool when we recorded it because I was just fucking around in Jason’s house and then Julien had this drum pad he started doing a bunch of percussions on the song and I couldn’t hear what he was doing. Jason had mic’ed up the amp on the ground and connected it to the drums so I was trying to stay as steady as possible and just loop it over and over and he recorded it and it was just a one shot deal
Julien: Yeah and we listened to it and we were like ‘oh shit this is really cool!’ and you redid vocals a week after?
Sacha: The same day and I hadn’t written any words to it
Julien: Its cool the lyrics, there’s not really any lyrics to it like I hear something and they hear something different
They’re very in the background like that song you don’t listen to it for the lyrics
Julien: Its funny, I told Sacha its like, to me that song is more about death and darkness but set in a light way. A lot of the stuff like Rip You; we tried to put together a lot of darkness with light and create a balance with that. But yeah, Sacha had told me that, that song (Mutante) is a love song to the