Bombay Harambee to Host Vinyl Release Party

Bombay Harambee to Host Vinyl Release Party
BH Dotted Line Press Photo FINAL

Courtesy Photo
Bombay Harambee is (left to right) David “Spaceman Dave” Aspesi, Trent Whitehead, Alexander Jones, and Jason Griswold.

Bombay Harambee is all about the physical media. This Saturday, the the garage rock Little Rock four piece will be releasing their first seven-inch vinyl record at Smoke and Barrel, for $7.

The band, who consists of David Aspesi (bass), Jason Griswold (drums), Alexander Jones (vocals, guitar) and Trent Whitehead (guitar), have been making music for about two years now, and will be coming to Fayetteville on the heels of a far-reaching tour. The band has been hitting the road hard, playing in cities like Memphis; Nashville; Charlottesville, Va.; Brooklyn; and Louisville, Ky.

The band’s been around for about two years, and their sound has been compared to a lot of post punk and 80s college rock like the Pixies and Gang of Four. Their sound uses a lot of fast-paced, aggressively melodic guitar. Just by listening to the recordings, you can feel the energy the band brings to their performances.

The upcoming Smoke and Barrel show will be a part of a series of vinyl release shows coming up this month throughout the state, with locals Prahanas and Witchsister opening for the night. That’s a lot of good Arkansas sounds.

The new seven-inch record, “Check, Check, Checkmate/Dotted Line,” features four new original tracks and western comic-book-like artistry by local artist Gustav Carlson.

In preview of their upcoming show, The Free Weekly got to talk with Jones about the band, impossible chess moves, and the woes of apartment hunting.

TFW: Let’s talk about the first song on the record, “Check, Check, Checkmate.” What’s that song about?

JONES: I think it’s about dating. I wrote it when I was single, and now I’m not… Y’know, I haven’t been asked that question before. It’s about getting burned, y’know everybody has. You can get angry about it, but it’s not really about you. It’s part of learning about that I guess, and sometimes things don’t work out, and they shouldn’t work out, but it’s the very moment you find they don’t work out…it kinda sucks. At the end of the day, it’s a little childish because most things don’t work out. Entropy is always there, and I guess it’s about the transition from when it really kills you when something doesn’t work out in the relationship to the point you’re like, “Whatever.” There’s still that transitional phase. I guess that’s what it’s about.

TFW: What’s the phrase “Check, Check, Checkmate” meant to imply? Other than chess…

JONES: I don’t know if it’s meant to mean anything about chess…although I think it does. Think about it. Let’s say I was playing you in chess, and I put you in check, right? Then you moved out of check, and in the process put me in check. Then, I moved out of check and in so doing checkmated you. That’s the image, which is quite an unlikely set of moves. I don’t even know if it’s possible. It would be the coolest way to end the game.

TFW: They’d have to put that shit on ESPN.

JONES: Yeah, top 10, definitely. Probably number two. I don’t think they’d give that to number one. That would be a little much.

TFW: How about the other part of the album title, “Dotted Line”? Where were you going with that one?

JONES: It’s actually about house hunting. One of the more literal songs that I’ve written. It’s dealing with a salesmen and how over-eager they tend to be. It’s like well, I’m not going to buy this house, rent this place or buy this car or something. No for an answer is never taken. I don’t really try to do message songs. It’s okay if people take them from it, but I intend to be more observational. I’m more into musical structure with distinct parts and sections where people can dance and push each other around if they want to.

TFW: What’s the band’s approach to songwriting?

JONES: What I do is I get the music, at least for part of the song, pretty much done and after that I do lyrics. Some people write lyrics first. Some really excellent records are done like that, but I don’t do it like that. Typically, I write the rhythm. I bring what I have and then Trent adds on his lead part giving it a deeper, fleshier sound. On some occasions, I’m like “You should try this as a lead part.” Everybody usually does their own thing. For guitar work you have to plug it in and play. It’s a deliberative process. You just have to play everyday.

TFW: Not too long ago, you guys were selling your music exclusively on cassettes. Now you’ve got records. I take it Bombay Harambee is all about the physical media?

JONES: Yeah. We’re not really into CD’s though. Digitally, it’s cool to have people be able to hear you, so we do want it online. No one really wants CD’s. I don’t want CD’s. It’s good to have something you can hand somebody. It makes it pretty exchangeable. With our cassettes, luckily a lot of people who like our music have old cars. It kind of works out. I know some people have bought it even though they don’t have cassette players. We figured it was the cheapest possible to make a physical copy of our music. It’s also worth the effort. Some people say it sounds a lot better. I’m happy with it.

TFW: What can people expect at the Smoke and Barrel show this weekend?

JONES: We haven’t played Smoke and Barrel in sometime. We’re excited to get back on the Smoke and Barrel show. We’ve got vinyls for sale, it’s a seven-inch record for seven bucks. Y’know, it plays on your turntable, it’ll go. We’re playing with Prahanas, my good friend Bryce Martin hooked us up and I look forward to seeing them. Witchsister is also playing, and they are inimitable. They are metal, and just awesome. This will be the second time we’ve played with them. It will be cool to see how far they’ve come. They embarrass us with their instrumentation. It’s like, “God, I wish we were young again.” We are looking forward to hearing guys we’re playing with.

Probably going to play a 45 minute set with a lot of songs that will be on our full length. This show will be like a teaser for that. It’ll be pretty loud and fast. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re excited to see how Smoke and Barrel’s been renovated. We’ve always had the good response there. We’ll be extremely tight. This will be our twelfth show in about two weeks. If we haven’t killed each other in the van, and we haven’t contracted the plague, we should be as tight as we have ever been.

Speaking for the band, we are very confident about our material and we are very proud of the product. It’s always nice to get up there. The town’s got such a great attitude and I think we mesh with it. We’re looking froward to it.

Bombay Harambee Vinyl Release Show

Who: Bombay Harambee / Prahanas / Witchsister

Where: Smoke and Barrel Tavern, 324 W Dickson St., Fayetteville.

When: Doors at 9 p.m. and music at 10 p.m.

How much: Free entry

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