Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1089

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Feature

The Bamboos: Funky Inspirations

Lance Ferguson & Kylie Auldist (The Bamboos) @bluesandsoul.com
Lance Ferguson & Kylie Auldist (The Bamboos) @bluesandsoul.com Lance Ferguson (The Bamboos) @bluesandsoul.com The Bamboos @bluesandsoul.com The Bamboos @bluesandsoul.com

The Bamboos have been at the helm of Australian soul and funk for the last 18 years. In that time, they have put out a slew of albums helping to solidify their popularity. Over the years that home-grown popularity has turned into global popularity.

At the forefront of The Bamboos is the creator and producer Lance Ferguson. Under his direction, he has driven their sound creating (up until the beginning of this year) 7 studio albums. In fact, their last album was “Fever In The Road” in 2013, although they did have a collaboration album “The Rules of Attraction”in 2015 with Tim Rogers… It was a great opportunity to get an understanding behind their hiatus when I was afforded the chance to talk with the main man himself, Lance Ferguson, and also get the low-down on The Bamboos new album, already B&S album of the month, “Night Time People”.

Can you break it down…why the hiatus?

The collabo and that was about 3 or 4 years back, between then and now I’ve worked on the is current album.

Before getting onto the Bamboo new release, let’s talk about your personal endeavours. We know you are forever busy…

Well, there has been a bit…I made an official solo album under my name, Lanu, it was a project called “Raw Material” (2017) which was probably the most time intensive project I have ever done because it involved so many different collaborators. It was a double album. I also co-produced and co-wrote the album “Family Tree” (2016) for Kylie Auldist (our lead singer). I also released a jazz project called “Menagerie, Evolution The Arrow Of Time” (2017).
With so many different projects, is it difficult in a way to stay focused on Bamboo projects?

The Bamboo record right now is my priority but anything I am working on at that time is my priority. With the project, I just wanted to get it as right as I possibly could, really. But these projects have been running concurrently through the life of the band anyway, so I don’t think it is hard to stay focused on the individual projects.

Do you feel that with each album you make you get closer to creating that perfect or defining album?

Well, this is the thing. For some reason, I always feel that I am trying to create the perfect Bamboo album. There are aspects of production and songwriting that I am still trying to extend and develop. In truth, I always feel excited about this and every album that is to come. The day I do not feel excited is the day I will say let’s not do another album.

So, the latest album, “Night Time People” is your 8th studio album - how close to perfection is it?

Unbelievably, it is our tenth album overall if you include the live albums, so we have been like 18 years putting out music…I feel with the current album we have come full circle. It’s back to expressing more of that raw nuanced funk and soul of our first album.

Legendary producer/engineer/mixer Bob Clearmountain features…how did that come about?

It was just a thing through management. We found out he had a gap through his crazy schedule and he was totally up for it. He mixed the third single on the release called “Lit Up” and that was a dream come true for me. I went to high school in the 80’s. His sound forms part of my childhood - “Just Like Heaven” (1987) by The Cure and stuff like that got me through those years.

So, you were stoked?

For sure. I got on a late-night call with him and had a chat about various technical aspects of the song. But I could not believe I was talking to him because he is like this god in the studio world. At the end I had to say to him “Bob, thanks for getting me through high school”.

And what about the technical aspects of working with him?

Well, he does everything on an analogue desk. This basically means he pulls everything up on the desk but he cannot recall it. You must be in real time so you can literally ‘approve’ it. So that was an old school but beautiful way of doing things. It makes decisions a lot quicker.

The album “Night Time People” and single "Broken" featuring J-Live are out now through BMG.

You can read more from our interview with Australian funk/soul royal Lance Ferguson, including his thoughts on making authentic soul and funk in a digital age and what direction he sees himself taking in the future along with his band, The Bamboos... in the current issue of Blues & Soul magazine - click the 'BUY NOW' link below to order straight from the B&S shop or read on for high street retailer details...

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ESSENTIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE thebamboos

TWITTER The_Bamboos

FACEBOOK TheBamboos

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Words Semper Azeez-Harris

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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