Tropical Bass had the honor to get a Q&A with Bomba Estereo’s vocalist Li Saumet, about the band’s newest album Amanecer and her thoughts about Bomba’s sonic evolution.
The interview was done completely in Spanish as Li and Caballo are both not only from Colombia, but also share same region as identities.
So, let’s begin with Q&A:
TB: We are here with Li Saumet from Bomba Estereo, who are just ready to unveil their latest album, Amanecer.
Tell us what are your thoughts about this album, as it is an actual return after a 3 years pause.
Li: Well, we are very happy; it is an album that got in a very nice stage of our professional and personal lives. This past year has been amazing, which got reflected in lyrics, music and a complete different sound that is exactly what the band is all about.
TB: That’s right, we see this album is called Amanecer, and right there, it is the opening track, which we can perceive it as EDM.
Was that a natural evolution due to Bomba’s continuous tours which may expose you guys to what is happening in most of big fests, or in fact was a planned thing for a more defined public-target?
Li: This has been always the band’s main intention, since the inception, to innovate, to renew our own sound, when we first had an album it was considered that, and it also happened on the second one, and so on, now, this album wouldn’t be the exception. We grow up not only as people but also as musicians, so evolution and exploration are the main characteristic of our sound. I think this album is a reflect of that evolution.
TB: Talking about that, I (Caballo) had the fortune to know Bomba on the early days –with a different vocalist [Al roc]- and you actually were with Mr Gomez in Bombay.
How has been your personal journey from Mr Gomez to become perhaps one of the most famous Colombian acts in the planet, or considered the second one after Aterciopelados?
Li: Wow, it’s been a lot, let’s say my days with Mr Gomez were just the beginning, I was just “fooling around” as we could say, but then I began singing with Bomba and it became my life. It was a serious thing, rehearsals and the project started to have a life by its own. So I started to have a voice, and to communicate my message to people all over the world, that also was something we began to be more conscious in how to present ourselves and the music, and here we are 10 years after, still evolving.
TB: Indeed, in fact, in these 10 years, many members have passed thru Bomba, but the core, Simon & Li, are still intact, although for the first time we see the help of an external producer, Joe Spargur who recently worked with Jason Derulo, was behind the production, who else was behind Amanecer?
Li: Yes, that’s right. We finally had a producer, an important one, who took the band to a different level, this got reflected not only in the actual final product, but also in the recoding process as we had to really work a lot on melodies, verses, my singing, so we definitely can say there are two bombas.
The one we produced ourselves, and the one that starts here with Amanecer.
TB: Needless to say that! If one listens to tracks like Cadera, Voy or To my love which are actually dancehall.
This genre was never explored by you guys, so why you guys decided to jump in the dancehall vibe?
Li: Because we are a tropical band, also Urban, so we didn’t want just to do what we have done before that was straight up cumbia, or bullerenge, that we still have on this album, but we also wanted to spice with music we like, that we listen to, and that actually have a very deep root in the Colombian Caribbean urban scene, we do have champeta, so as I said before, we don’t just do one genre, we do any Caribbean and tropical vibe that fits the band identity.
I believe Bomba has become a very well known act internationally, and without asking for that, it just happened, now we don’t only represent one place but we began to represent the whole Caribbean sound.
TB: Correct, Somos dos has champeta, Soy Yo has “flauta millo” [ a very well known instrument in Colombian Cumbia], Fiesta has bullerengue with trap and raiz is this song that we may considered to be the closest in the album to what your original sound was…
Do you feel people in Colombia might not feel this album differently than the rest of the world, as it may not have straight up cumbia, champeta, bullerengue but a EDM variation of them?
Li: Probably, in fact it already happened with our last one, Elegancia Tropical, as we dropped a lot of electronic beats and some people were expecting tons of traditional cumbia. So that is something we always expect, however, for those who know, about our roots and their composition breakdowns can see in Fiesta, we have an actual Carnival track, the verse and melodies are absolutely made to be dropped and sang at carnivals.
This is actually the track we would fit the most in a Barranquilla Carnival, or somos dos which are tropical cumbias, that people really respond positively to them. We have had great feedback, but you’re right in the sense it has been a bit rough in Colombia, mostly because people don’t really know about other genres than cumbia, so when we do bullerengue with trap, we are combining two genres that most of Colombians don’t really get exposed to, so they do not know how to react. But they are, they are very Caribbean, not only in terms of music, but also in the lyrics, we talk about “la sierra” or the beach and sea in tracks like Mar.
TB: We would assume as usual, music is all Simon’s, and lyrics all are yours.
Li: That’s right.
TB: So, in the beginning you said this has been a very fruitful album, with a personal evolution, are lyrics a reflect of that?
Li: Since last album, many things happened, crazy things, deep things, personal things, Simon became a dad, so during all this time, I started to collect thoughts, write them down and many ended up being lyrics or the starting point for them. It’s been a 10 year process full of love, of learning, but also struggles, so we talk all about that.
TB: This album has been completely designed for two areas, to be ‘ripped and remixed’ as it is absolutely dynamic and EDM intended, oriented, but live is being built to be completely organic with pretty much zero need of EDM. My guess is you guys will have a whole bunch of unofficial remixes from all over the planet, if people can’t reach you asking for permission, would you guys mind people doing that or you believe Sony Music will be really concerned about copyright infringements?
Li: I really don’t know, that’s something I am clueless as we don’t deal with copyright or whatever. We do music.
TB: Lol. Great. Well Thanks for your time.