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Bomfunk MCs: Finland (and Sony Europe's) Biggest Sellers

Author: Jonty Addereley
Monday, November 19, 2001
"I think there's a big gap in dance music, which is to put together some poppy drum & bass or poppy electro funk, with nice melodies. There haven't been many songs like that out there." So says Bomfunk's MCs B.O.W., the English born half Jamaican and frontman from Finland's biggest band. Having sold 2.2 million copies of their breakthrough hit Freestyler, he's uniquely qualified to know what he's talking about. Chatting to Skrufff's Jonty Adderley last week in a private members bar in London, he was also friendly, articulate and resolutely down to Earth.

Skrufff: Having had Sony's biggest European hit of 2000 must have increased expectations for the new album, how were you affected by the pressure-

Bomfunk MCs: "It's pretty hard to top Freestylers since it was the biggest selling single in Europe in 2000 but then again we've got options even from there, because we're saying that our style is free. You can do what you want to do and that's what we're doing now. It's a very good album but it's different. Of course, we're still the Bomfunk, you can still hear similar elements and ideas but we've also been developing. We needed a vacation away from it all and when we returned we started with the ideas of why we do music and what it means to us. We started earlier this year then the songs improved all the time so we've actually removed some songs that were planned to be on it earlier."

Skrufff: What kind of material rewards did Freestyler bring; did you all go out and buy cars for example-

Bomfunk MCs: "I'm currently looking for a house right now but we're not particularly materialistic people, so we don't really follow the 'bling bling' (big money). But it changed our lives in that suddenly we found ourselves facing packed schedules with the whole of the year ahead booked up. But you learn to enjoy it, although it takes something away from your personality. Everybody thinks that they know you and they approach you to talk to you. If you're tired it's a pain in the ass, but it's not too much like that anymore. We just needed a little distance and now it's working again. We want to do it all over again and enjoy it. There's a lot of people out there who want to take our places. You need to realize what you've got and learn to appreciate it."

Skrufff: I guess Sony are hoping you're going to sell million more copies, how have they been-

Bomfunk MCs: "There are good people there though they don't know that much about this music we do so they give us a free hand. We have a good concept on the new album, it's much more us, in a way. Last time, we tried to experiment with lots of different styles, this time it's more like electro and funk. We also learnt from last time that to rock crowds at festivals you need a good crew so everybody can relate and get into a trance when it's get to the point where it's funky enough to make everybody nod their heads. Lyrically, we've gone for uplifting, good vibes but there's also a little personal stuff talking about behind the scenes stories."

Skrufff: You came up through Finland's initial hip hop scene of the 80s, what was the scene like then-

Bomfunk MCs: "There were only about five or six rap bands in the mid 80s and at that point everybody knew each other. We'd follow the same hip hop themes of battling each other and trying to be hardcore but rap changed and we also changed."

Skrufff: Many bands see the UK as a very influential market for the world, having cracked Europe already is the story now different-

Bomfunk MCs: "The UK is like a port to other places such as the UK and also Japan, though I don't know why it's so influential. Everybody checks the UK charts. In (mainland) Europe it's a little easier. When you come here to London people are always trying to test your credibility and they don't realise that music is music and you're supposed to enjoy it as well."

Skrufff: Do many people break-dance in Finland-

Bomfunk MCs: "Yes, it's been growing for 2 year