Bamboozle are a 50’s influenced rocking band with a modern sound. Being one of the only bands to have a gal on vocals and rockabilly slap bass a world class pedal steel player , one of the scenes top rockabilly guitarists and drummers and mesmerising four part harmonies Bamboozle are the band to see !
Playing a range of 1950’s rockabilly swing and western swing classics original songs and arrangements of some modern tunes , Bamboozle are a truly rocking band to dance the night away to.
The band consists of:
Serena Sykes – Double Bass/Vocals
Jim Knowler – Guitar/Vocals
Dave Kirk – Pedal Steel Guitar /Vocals
Shaun o’Keeffe – Drums /Vocals
The new single ‘Just like you’ is taken off the album ‘Red Right Hand’.
Bamboozle talked to MusiTrendZ about Musical equipment, the music industry, their instruments and new single ‘Just Like You’
How would you describe your genre ?
Serena: I guess you could describe our music as Modern Rockabilly Swing… Or 50’s Revival… It’s a real eclectic mix of our influences. It has some definite rockabilly tones, and a strong western swing feel, and also swing style, but it also has a clean, modern sound, with even some alternative influences from myself. Its very difficult to pin down in one style, its not really like anything else around at the moment.
Jim: Rockabilly, Rock n’ Roll, Western swing and jive. Influenced by music from the 1950’s, but with a modern edge to it.
Shaun: A strong rockabilly sound with a broad range of styles
What is your hot new single about ?
Serena: The title track of our EP, Red Right Hand, is actually an original arrangement of a song by the artist Nick Cave. It’s a song I fell in love with when the movie “Scream” first came out, as it is featured on the soundtrack, and I was a big fan of horror, and really impressed with the new ‘slasher flick’ style the movie brought to the mix.
When we started Bamboozle, and I really started to get a taste for rockabilly music, which is really my favourite personal influence in the band, I had the idea to do a cover version of the song. The rest of the band members were dubious at first, but after we tried it a few times, it really gelled, and it was quickly obvious the tune would feature heavily at gigs.
Jim wrote the other main song on the EP, “Just Like You”. He has been writing music since he was 17, and has had a lot of success previously with his band, The Keytones, which he wrote all the original music for. We even spotted one of his singles in the “Rare Records” book in Waterstones a few weeks back, that was an exciting moment. The single is worth £20, and I think we still have a good few copies, just in case we’re ever that broke 😉
The version of Pink Panther was really just a jam. We were messing around with the theme in a rehearsal, and I mentioned I’d love to play the theme on bass, it would be a lot of fun as its such a cool tune. We played around with it, and the rockabilly style made its way into the arrangement, and we all just knew it would be a hit with our audience. Its such an exciting feel!
Jim: The new EP is our first release. We wanted to create something that would showcase as many of the genres of music we play. “Red right hand’ is a rockabilly cover with a modern edge to it. “Just like you” is a song I wrote. It’s about someone realising that a friend they had known for a while, was becoming more than a friend. It’s written to a jive tempo, so nice and upbeat for the dancers to enjoy.
Dave inspired “The Pink Panther”, when he started playing the famous intro. Serena had the idea of playing it as an instrumental despite not having a saxophone in the band. This gave it an original twist that I think works really well.
“Ice Cold Beer” is another original composition written by me. It’s about a guy who has obviously had a lot of bad experiences in his love life. So he decides to seek solace in a bar and buy an ice-cold beer, and cheers himself up by comparing the beer to his past girlfriends, and the beer wins hands down. It’s a very tongue in cheek song, with a western swing feel to it.
Shaun: Red right hand , Serena (bass) had the idea to turn a slow moody Nick cave song into a raw hard rock n roll number
Do you think that how much you receive for fans streaming your music is fair ?
Serena: At the moment, it’s not something I worry about. I’m working really hard to get the music out there, so just knowing that people are listening is a great start. If we want to get into talking politics, I think the way most of the system favours the multi-millionaires and the politicians, and the global companies have way too much power, but it’s a problem much bigger than just music streaming.
Shaun: Yes , in a time where downloads are king & anyone can it, it’s an adavantage for bands to be paid for it…the royalty is tiny compared to 30 yrs ago, bit the numbers are 100 times more …so it works out ok I guess.
What changes would you like to see in the music industry ?
Serena: I’d really like to see the industry go back to focusing on great music, instead of the celebrity concept and image. There are some wonderful, talented and authentic musicians out there, with a great vibe and feel, but the industry is very heavily focused on mass produced, unoriginal material with too many digital effects and the dreaded auto-tune. It’s really sad that music has taken a backseat in the industry. Its probably more the lack of education amongst listening audiences, its all become a money making business, rather than an authentic platform for great music.
Jim: It would be nice if the music industry could somehow stop people stealing bands original music on the internet, it’s killing the industry. Also it’s a shame that the industry concentrates more on celebrity factor rather than on just music, which is often overlooked.
Dave: More promotion of Rockabilly Swing
Shaun: The music industry always changes, it’s organic in that sense, like all industry it’s consumer lead…. those principals can’t change…but it would be nice to have more A& R staff actually getting out in to various parts of the country & physically turning up & watching gigs.
What instruments, equipment, recording and production gear do you use ?
Serena: At the moment, I play a Strunel custom double bass with rotosound strings. It’s a beautiful looking bass and I really love playing it. I use a Mark Bass Combo Amp, with a 1 x 15 cab, and a Shadow Rockabilly pick up. It gives me a lot of control over my sound, which is really essential with slap bass.
When recording, I really leave it in the hands of the engineer, as it is much nicer just mic’d up.
Vocally, I’m currently borrowing Dave’s Senheiser, but I’m on the hunt for the perfect mic. Its taking some research.
Jim: I have 3 Fender Telecasters, a Gretsch 6120 and a Selmer Maccaferri copy made by John Le Voi. I use a Peavey Delta Blues amplifier. MXR carbon copy delay pedal, an RC Xotic booster ii. Vocally I use a Shure Super 55 Deluxe Mic, its really nice.
Dave: Mullen D10 Pedal Steel Guitar, Evans E200 Digital Amplifier, Alan & Heath QU Pack
Shaun: Just my drums & any equipment that’s in the studio I like to let the producer have his ideas & sometimes you learn from what others do …
What’s the best studio you have ever recorded in?
Serena: Definitely Toe Rag. Liam is so professional and efficient, but also fantastic at putting you at ease in the studio. You can really guarantee you’re going to have a great day with him, and come out with a wonderful product!
Jim: Toe Rag studios in London
Dave: RAK Studio London
Shaun: Maida Vale studios for Radio 1 & Burghart studio in Essen Germany…
Who’s your fave all time music producer ?
Serena: Has to be Liam.
Jim: Liam Watson of Toe Rag studios
Dave: Andy Rumble
Shaun: George Martin, a man who changed the way musicians worked in the studio….& Brian Eno because he’s a genius basically..
Drum machine or real drummer?
Serena: Real, every time. You can’t beat a real drummer for feel. And I haven’t heard a machine that can swing properly yet.
Jim: Real drummer definitely!
Dave: Real Drummer
Shaun: Drummer always….can do what a drum machine can do & so much more…all with a human touch….there is no comparison there really..
Do you prefer recording to live work ?
Serena: I couldn’t say really, I love both for different reasons. Live has such a buzz, its great to have that instant feedback, and get taken away with the atmosphere, but recording is great too! I love being in the studio. I always feel creative, and happy, and so excited to achieve the end result. It’s also a lot less stress, with much less gear, and someone else to make you sound amazing. I love that!
Jim: I do enjoy recording, but for me playing live is great, I love the spontaneity of it. And if you have a good audience you can really create a buzz that’s unique, and you’ll remember always.
Dave: Live. It always keeps me on the edge of my seat, and I find that having an audience there brings the best out in me, as it gives me a great buzz.
Shaun: No preference. I enjoy the buzz of a gig as much as the real time working environment of having to deliver performance on to tape….both a exhausting but for different reasons….recording is taxing on the brain, playing live is taxing on the body…
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