Nicky Bomba Melbourne Ska Orchestra Interview


Nicky Bomba Melbourne Ska Orchestra Interview

Good Days Bad Days

The beloved Melbourne Ska Orchestra has unveiled their new single Good Days Bad Days – a showstopper of a track lifted from their most recent album One Year Of Ska – the box set album that just saw them take out the 2019 ARIA Award for Best World Music Album. To celebrate, the epic 25 piece band have announced a huge national tour, which will see them hitting up metropolitan and regional cities across the country throughout the early months of 2020. The group will be kicking things off at the Mullumbimby Civic Hall on February 28, then moving through Brisbane, Maroochydore, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, Canberra, Fremantle, Pinjarra (WA), and wrapping up with a massive hometown show at Forum Melbourne on May 1.

Melbourne Ska Orchestra are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the stage. Audiences will be blown away by up to 25 musicians performing at a time, and the joyous, energetic vibe of a Melbourne Ska Orchestra gig is one that must be seen to be believed. Multi-instrumentalist and band leader Nicky Bomba enthuses, "With so many band members, we're a bit like a soccer team! Our live shows are a community experience. It's imperative for us to make a solid unifying connection with our audience. We hold the live performance in high esteem, as it's an ancient ritual where humans come together celebrating life through the wonder of music. It's a bit of a spectacle to behold."

The album One Year Of Ska was an innovative undertaking for the seasoned group. They set themselves the mammoth task of recording one new song per week for an entire year – that's a lot of ska! The band took on the challenge firstly as a way of embracing the idea of creating content for their fans, and also to mimick the old-school Jamaican practice of releasing new songs on a weekly basis to encourage punters to come to their weekly dancehall gigs. It was an epic task for the Melbourne Ska Orchestra, to say the least, as Nicky Bomba reflects, "We had to move our studio from country Victoria to a studio in Collingwood to facilitate the whole process. It felt like a NASA mission, working around the clock to create, arrange, record, mix and master in time for each weekly launch, which would happen every Friday morning at 9am."

The new single Good Days Bad Days is just one of the tracks borne of this intense year of work. Bright, spunky and full of life, it's everything audiences have come to love about the band. The track reflects on exactly that – the good days and bad days that are all part and parcel of life – with geniuine happiness and wisdom, as Nicky says, "The Good Days Bad Days sentiment is universal and it covers all walks of life. The second verse is particularly close to home, as it relates to putting our own gigs on - it's always a risk, and things can turn on a dime. Life is full of the extremes of the pendulum swing. Finding the balance is the key, eh!"

Showcasing the wild intensity and fun that is Melbourne Ska Orchestra in a live setting, Nicky speaks on the video for the song, "Good Days Bad Days really kicks in with the crowd when we play it live. It's a universal theme that has almost become colloquial. I love how the film clip captures the raw energy of the live spectacle of the orchestra."

It's always nice to be recognised for hard work, and what better acknowledgement is there for a band in Australia than the coveted ARIA Award? Melbourne Ska Orchestra scooped up the well-deserved nod at this year's ARIAs for Best World Album, a well-respected and competitive category. It's a meaningful win, as Nicky explains, "What an honour to have again been presented with the World Music ARIA award. We love the fact that we are flagbearers for the international ska sound here in Australia, and hailing from Melbourne, the multicultural diversity is inspiring. This award is a perfect fit and we are looking forward to sharing our new One Year Of Ska songs with all of our fans."

Melbourne Ska Orchestra National Tour
Tickets from www.melbourneskaorchestra.com

FRI FEB 28 | MULLUMBIMBY CIVIC HALL NSW | 18+
SAT FEB 29 | THE TRIFFID, BRISBANE QLD | 18+
SUN MAR 1 | SOLBAR, MAROOCHYDORE QLD | 18+
THURS MAR 12 | CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE NSW | 18+
FRI MAR 13 | MANNING BAR, SYDNEY NSW| 18+
SAT MAR 14 | ANITA'S THEATRE, WOLLONGONG NSW | AA (U18 ACCOMPANIED BY LEGAL GUARDIAN)
SUN MAR 15 | UC REFACTORY, CANBERRA ACT | 18+
FRI APR 17 | FREO SOCIAL, FREMANTLE WA | 18+
SAT APR 18 | FAIRBRIDGE FESTIVAL, PINJARRA WA | 18+
FRI MAY 1 | THE FORUM, MELBOURNE VIC | 18+

Tickets to the Good Days Bad Days tour are on sale now from www.melbourneskaorchestra.com

Interview with Nicky Bomba

Question: Can you tell us about One Year Of Ska?

Nicky Bomba: Well, we realised the state of the music industry was rapidly changing and expanding. It seemed the way to connect on more effective level was to just create, create and create.

We kept hearing the buzz word "Content!". Accepting the challenge we decided to release a song a week guaranteeing a good body of work (Content) and a project to get active with (Creation).

The Ska genre itself was born of the necessity to provide new music on a weekly basis for the Sound Systems and Dancehall gatherings. Although a massive task it was one of the most exciting things we've done.


Question: What inspired the track, Good Days Bad Days?

Nicky Bomba: I keep a title book with potential lyrical ideas for songs. This had been sitting there for a while as I heard it enough in everyday vernacular from all walks of life. When we were in creation mode I suggested this to Barry and something sparked. It came together fairly quickly. It wasn't hard to tap into real life experiences and observations for inspiration. For some reason I remember Frank Zappa saying this often when he was going through his cancer challenge. It's a great singalong with the crowd and everyone just gets it.


Question: How did it feel to win the ARIA Award for Best World Music Album?

Nicky Bomba: We were honoured to have made something that resonated beyond the orchestra bubble. The WORLD MUSIC title is where it's at for me. Humanity is redefining itself as a global family with the daily assimilation of cultures and nationalities. We are really trying to tap into that universal theme with our style of Ska so it has its roots implied while creating a hybrid. That's where the magic is methinks.

With any artistic endeavour, especially music, knowing that it resonates enough to be awarded is a humbling experience and highly motivating one to continue the journey.


Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?

Nicky Bomba: Ha! That's like asking which is my favourite child. The tunes all complement each other so I can't actually answer that one however having a song that people sing along to ie: Good Days Bad Days where the audience become a part of the experience is pretty special.


Question: What should we expect from your upcoming tour?

Nicky Bomba: Our shows are always pretty much a unique spectacle but we are stepping it up again for this next tour. Dancing will be compulsory, smiling will be inevitable and the joy of life will be felt.


Question: If you could have anyone, in the world, attend a show, who would it be?

Nicky Bomba: Jerry Dammers, founder of the Specials.


Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?

Nicky Bomba: They are symbiotic in my opinion. It's a forever giving cycle that is part of the expanding energy of creation.


Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?

Nicky Bomba: The Frightnrs out of New York, Ethiopian folk songs.


Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?

Nicky Bomba: Jerry Dammers from the Specials!


Question: What's a typical day like?

Nicky Bomba: Depends on what cycle we are on. If it's touring… think of a soccer team that has to fly to a match in another state/country, with all the logistics associated. The only way it can function smoothly if everyone has the right attitude and positive energy. The orchestra is blessed with a beautiful collection of musicians and friends making it a genuine pleasure just to get together anyway.

Recording mode is more like a military operation transmitting from MSO HQ (The studio) with all hands offering ideas (thank God for Veto) and a catering bill that is astronomical!


Interview by Brooke Hunter


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