Canadian reggae-rock trio Bedouin Soundclash has certainly come a long way since forming in Kingston, Ontario around the turn of the century. Breaking through to the mainstream with their 2004 sophomore record Sounding A Mosaic that produced the hit “When The Night Feels My Song”, the group has since delivered two solid records, 2007’s Street Gospels as well as last year’s full-length Light The Horizon.
Bedouin Soundclash bassist Eon Sinclair notes that the past couple of years have been ones of change in the Soundclash camp. When the touring cycle behind Street Gospels concluded, the group parted ways with drummer Pat Pengelly which inadvertently led to the group putting the brakes on for the first time in approximately five years. Asked what spurred Pengelly’s 2009 departure from the band, Sinclair is diplomatic with his response in regards to his former bandmate:
“Over the last couple of years in the band, I think that we had just grown apart musically,” he says. “During his time with the band, we knew that Pat had a keen interest in returning to law school and that is exactly what he has gone on to do. I think it is a great thing and hope that he is enjoying his time there.”
Referring to the time off the band had the chance to take advantage of after Pengelly’s departure, Sinclair insists that it was the best thing that probably could have happened to the group at that specific point in time.
“The break we had in 2009 was definitely a necessary thing. We had been touring pretty consistently for the three to four years leading up to that time with little in the way of time off aside from a week here and a week there. Days on the road can be pretty drawn out in terms of your responsibilities, talking to the media and to fans but it was the constant traveling that probably affected us the most.”
Not to say that the members of Bedouin Soundclash sat idle just because the band was on break. The group, in co-operation with their management company, started their own record label, Pirates Blend Records upon which Bedouin vocalist Jay Malinowski released his solo debut, Bright Lights and Bruises.
The band also used the downtime to recruit their new drummer, Sekou Lumumba, who had previously played with acts including Thornley, Edwin and Ivana Santilli. Sinclair has nothing but accolades for the newest member of Bedouin Soundclash:
“Sekou really is an incredible drummer,” Eon says. “He brought a really nice mix of studio and live experience to the band. Having grown up in Trinidad, he grew up with a lot of Carribean music, influences of which are rather prevalent in our own music. It was a rather seamless transition, having him join the band.”
With two successful records behind them at the time the band entered the studio to begin making Light The Horizon, Sinclair admits that preparations to record were similar to how the band prepared for previous recordings. It was the producer of Light The Horizon, King Britt that would introduce a new element of recording to the band during their sessions with him, however.
“King Britt had us record live off the floor and ended up using the best takes that we played together. In our past studio experiences, we have typically played together but were focused on getting the right take for just one of us. It was much more of a team effort this time around and I am sure is something that we will do for future recordings as well.”
Sinclair believes a big reason why the recording sessions for Light The Horizon were such a success was because the trio was sharing the emotions that they were capturing on tape.
“I think to describe the recording session as organic would be appropriate. The emotion of each song came across a lot better because it was a shared emotion and allowed us to unite and offer the best of what we could.”
Though his band’s star status has been cemented here in Canada for roughly the past seven years, Sinclair divulges that the group has spent a fair amount of time abroad, spreading their music to international audiences in territories including China, India and Australia. While traveling to China and India were new adventures for the group, Eon says that the band has found prior success in Australia as well as the United Kingdom.
“The U.K. has definitely become one of our biggest strongholds over time,” he shares. Asked why he believes that fans have taken a liking to his band’s music, he says, “I think it is because we share a lot of the same musical influences and pay respect to the musical culture that came from there. I think people there really appreciate that about us.”
Article published in March 1, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript