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Music-Critic Interviews:
Bumblebeez 81

Bumblebeez 81

10 Questions with Chris Colonna
by: bill aicher

We recently were lucky (?) enough to talk to Chris Colonna, the man behind Australian electronic / urban group Bumblebeez 81, to find out a bit more about the recent Stateside release (which they were unaware of) of The Printz. Read on...


MC: Okay. So, bumblebeez 81... first of all I was wondering … where does the name come from?

Umm (said with a yawwwwn) Uh, fuck…originally it was the Bumblebeez. I just, I don’t know ‘cause, I don’t know. I don’t actually like the name anymore. I liked it that day. I was like “shit, that’s a fun name” and then it got even worse because then uhm, we found out that there was a Bumblebeez in Ireland and there was a Bumblebeez in France. So they just, they made it our responsibility to try and change it so that when the announced it on the radio that it was the Bumblebeez people got confused by it as to which band it would be. So we just chucked the 81 on the end.

MC: Like Charlatans UK? Over here they had to add uk to their name.

Yeah. It’s like if they wanted to be Dinosaur, and not Dinosaur Jr, and then the 81 was just the year that I was born and that’s what I gave to the record company. So I was just like, oh fuck, just whack 81 on the end of it.

MC: So, The Printz comes out in the US today, right?

Those come out today?

MC: Yeah, so...

That's cool.

MC: What are you doing today? Celebrating?

I didn’t even know it came out today. ... I don’t really know much about it. I just come out and talk on the phone and shit. But no, that’s cool it comes out today. I guess…

MC: Yeah, definitely. So, you guys have a video out...

Yeah, we have a “Pony Ride” video out. Or, a video for “Pony Ride." You haven’t seen it?

MC: No, I haven't yet.

It's just on MTV now. ... It just got buzzworthy on MTV, and then MTV2, and I don’t know, these other shows

MC: So you went to school for art for quite a while it sounds like.

Yeah I went to just the normal school. And then I went uh, art school. So I did like a Bachelor's in visual arts and shit. Then I went to New York for 8 months and did uhm, yeah some other shit and then went to Pratt in Brooklyn.

MC: Are you still in New York?

No, I finished with art school about 2 years ago and moved back to Australia and just been kinda muckin’ around out there. And then, I went to America to meet with some record companies and stuff and then we decided to sign with Geffin and now we have just been coming over to do promos and so on. And then I'm going to Los Angeles on Wednesday to work on my new album…which will be cool. And then we’ll come back in like a month and do the Lollapalooza shows. [Editor's Note: Lollapalooze has since been cancelled].

MC: Yeah, and you guys will be on for the whole tour for Lollapalooza? I have seen quite a few people are just signing up for a few shows here and there.

No, we'll do all the shows which is cool. We just finished some live shows in Australia. We played with Radiohead which is cool. We got to tour with Radiohead. And then we also did a tour with NERD which was really good.

MC: So have you toured in the US for the album at all or will Lollapalooza be the first?

Yeah, Lollapalooza will be our first show in the US.

MC: When you were in New York were you performing at all?

Yeah, when I was in school I would play at fucked up art school parties with lame music but it wasn’t anything. Like, I was poor. It was fun but it wasn’t like “uh, this is my cd buy it.” You know what I mean?

MC: So you working on the new album soon. From what I have read in your press release that I have here, you kinda didn’t want to be in a band with your sister. Is she going to be on the new record? Are you guys working together yet?

Yeah, she’ll be on the new record. The Printz stuff was done two years ago so for me it’s quite old and since then I have made about 5000 songs just of all different sorts. And the more recent songs my sister’s on. She’ll always be a part of it. Like, with her band, she’ll come in for two songs and do a rap or do some other weird vocals thing. She’s got a strong vocal so she’s always gonna be doing something, and I have always been looking for a cool chick that could rap and shit and she can do it good, so ...

MC: It just happens that it’s your sister.

Yeah, she’s cool. She’s right next door.

MC: So the other stuff is pretty old now for you. Is there going to be a similar kind of sound on the new album?

Yeah, I think they have the exact sort of sound like imagination and creativity and not have any boundaries in sound. Or have any rules like I have to go verse chorus verse stuff like that. But it will be different sound, it will be a lot bigger and stronger and I still have that sort of punky with bass and rappy hip-hop feel but I think uhm, it's just gonna be a bigger album 'cause now I know it’s now for everybody before it was just me in my bedroom so it’s just going to be a step up. You know what I mean?

MC: How many albums has Geffen signed you for?

I'm not sure to tell you the truth. I don’t know.

MC: So, did you do the cover art for the album itself too?

Yeah, I do the art for the band and I do the website and all that sort of stuff. I wanted to do all that stuff. I wanted it to be a strong product and have a strong ... if it was sent to me (unintelligible) say ahhh that the exact same for me.

MC: Well it gives all of it the same feel too. If you were having some other guy doing your art work for you they might not get your music regardless of how much they listen to it.

As far as music influences, it seems like you would be all over the map it sounds like. I mean, you have a lot of the recent New York sound in there but you also have some classic hip-hop. I can hear some Kraftwerk kinda sounds in there. Who do you think are your biggest influences musically?

Um, sort of hard to answer, it changes every day. Whatever mood I'm in, but I have always been into that Little Richard and just that early rock stuff when rock was so untouched. Just the shittiness of the recordings and the rawness of it … I have always, I don’t know, it just hits me. And after that I have always been influenced by the king producers like Timbaland and Eption(sp?). Maybe like a lot of their songs but just like the techniques they use and branching out and using weird sounds and to be able to make a song out of like bass drum and then a vocal. And then I suppose it branches to stuff like vocally The Stooges and just sort of punk scene and then also talking about Ol' Dirty Bastard and sort of rapping. And then I would suppose on the electronic side I was heavy into The Chemical Brothers and into Aphex Twin and Squar pusher and that sort of more UK shit or just fuckin’ things up really.

MC: Who are you listening to lately?

Oh, who the fuck am I listening to? Um, I'm not listening to anybody. Just listening to that all that shit I've done in the last two years and just trying to figure out how to get the ideas together. I suppose I'm sort of like watching MTV. So it’s filtering in my head. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. ... Some Australian music..sort of English music. Dizzy Rascal I have been listening to.

MC: Yeah, I can hear some similiarities and sound between you two, especially on the "Microphone Diseases" track. Which is obviously pretty cool.

... It’s just total cut ups on the computer and it’s not like it wouldn’t say it’s sleek, you know what I mean? It’s quite grimey and it’s quite mean sounding. It’s not like a really Usher hip hop. Not that Usher’s hip hop but real sort of fabricated sound. It’s quite in your face. And sort of offensive sounding.

13-Jul-2004 10:50 PM

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Bumblebeez 81: The Printz

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