with Chris Colonna
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...
Okay. So, bumblebeez 81... first of all I was wondering …
where does the name come from?
with a yawwwwn) Uh, fuck…originally it was the Bumblebeez.
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.
Like Charlatans UK? Over here they had to add uk to their name.
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.
So, The Printz comes out in the US today, right?
What are you doing today? Celebrating?
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…
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?
No, I haven't yet.
on MTV now. ... It just got buzzworthy on MTV, and then MTV2,
and I don’t know, these other shows
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.
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
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.
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.
So have you toured in the US for the album at all or will Lollapalooza
be the first?
will be our first show in the US.
When you were in New York were you performing at all?
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?
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?
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 ...
It just happens that it’s your sister.
cool. She’s right next door.
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?
How many albums has Geffen signed you for?
I'm not sure
to tell you the truth. I don’t know.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yeah, I can hear some similiarities and sound between
you two, especially on the "Microphone Diseases" track.
Which is obviously pretty cool.
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.
like Bumblebeez 81...