Features Interviews Bedouin Soundclash Facilitate Dreams

Bedouin Soundclash Facilitate Dreams

Bedouin Soundclash
Bedouin Soundclash
Feature by: Allyssia Alleyne

After a three-year break from recording, the boys from Bedouin Soundclash are back with a new album, a new sound and a new perspective.

The band is currently touring through Canadian soil and northern states to promote their September release, Light the Horizon, after wrapping a brief tour through India this October.

"People [there] were eager to hear new sounds, especially Western sounds," said Eon Sinclair, the band's bassist and one of the founding members.

The enthusiasm shown by their audiences in India wasn't completely unexpected, but not because of rock star narcissism. Though the band has had great crowds around the world, Sinclair noticed that crowds overseas usually warm up to new acts more quickly than North American crowds. The former tend to bring the party with them to a performance, jumping, dancing and singing along as soon as the music starts. North American crowds make their artists work harder for audience participation.

"There's a 'see if you can make me move' kind of thing," said Sinclair with a laugh.

But if their previous albums made people move, they can't be sure that this one will. This has nothing to do with the quality of the album, but how much it differs from their previous efforts.

The album, which was recorded in Philadelphia with local producer King Britt, incorporates the alternative rock and reggae fusion that Bedouin Soundclash is known for, but with a level of darkness and maturity that's absent on their other albums. Listening to "Brutal Hearts", a haunting duet between Jay Malinowski (vocals, guitar) and fellow Quebec singer Coeur de Pirate, it's clear that the boys behind the 2005 hit "When the Night Feels My Song" have done some growing up.

"We've gone through a lot of personal experiences that shape our sound," said Sinclair. "It's a cathartic thing for us."

Between the 2007 release of their last album, Street Gospels, and the release of Light of the Horizon, the band has undergone a metamorphosis both structurally and creatively. In 2009, their former drummer, Pat Pengelly, announced that he would be leaving the band to pursue his own projects. According to Sinclair, creative differences were the key motivating factors, but not the only ones. He and Malinowski wanted to continue making music together, but felt that a change was needed.

But the pair couldn't keep going without a drummer. In early 2010, Sekou Lumumba was chosen to fill the spot in the band because he could relate not only to the band's musical style, but also to their upbringing and personal interests.

"Besides that, he's probably the best drummer I've seen in Canada."

But the band wasn't content to settle with a mere change in lineup. Feeling that they'd gotten all that they could from their independent labels, the band decided to start their own label under Sony. Though they considered signing with a preexisting label, they were tempted by the opportunity to personally create an environment to nurture their unique sound and "the culture we were trying to create." So in January 2010, Toronto-based Pirates Blend Records was born.

Though the label is based in Canada, its reach is international. The band intends to scout and nurture artists from Ancaster to Albania who seek a certain "home for their music", though the fact that they hear about so many musicians by word-of-mouth from friends could mean a Canadian majority.

"We nurture talent because it needs it," said Sinclair. "We're not discriminatory in how we look for it."

One of their first recruits was Nigerian hip-hop artist Nneka, who released her debut album on Pirates Blend this past summer.

The experiences that led up to their own album's release have also taught the band the value of time apart. While they used to record an album, tour, and then release another album, the band switched things up this time and took a three-year break between recording their two most recent albums. After they finish touring to promote Light of the Horizon, the trio plans to spend a couple months apart to work on their own projects, reflect on what they've accomplished and think about where they want to go from there. Until then, Sinclair just wants to focus on getting through the day, improving their shows and facilitating the dreams of the musicians sighed to Pirates Blend.

"We just want to maintain our key people and create more interesting music," said Sinclair.