BOO Seeka’s synths and beats keeps the energy sizzling like a neon sign on the Miami strip. The Sydney hip-hop-psych-soul project begun an outlet for a couple of musical experiments, a testing ground for new sounds. And it’s growing, multiplying and producing delicious sounds. Their debut single, “Kingdom Leader” was premiered and featured as Song of the Week on HillyDilly.com. The track made blog and radio waves abroad with features on The Music Ninja and LaBelle Musique and received airplay on KCRW (California), and on XFM in the UK. To date, Boo Seeka has accumulated over 7 million Spotify streams and dominated national airwaves with singles like ‘Oh My’, ‘Deception Bay’, ‘Fool’ and their 2015 debut single, ‘Kingdom Leader’, which peaked at #6 on the Australian iTunes Electronic chart. Boo also managed to reach #50 in Triple j’s 2015 Hottest 100 with ‘Deception Bay’ and snagged a J Award nomination for Unearthed Artist of the Year in 2015. A combination of pulsating synth sounds that bed down layered textures of electronic bass and percussive beats. Influenced by the layerings and experimental beats of Major Lazer, the cool swagger of J-Dilla and The Seed 2.0’s Cody Chestnutt’s soulful vocal delivery. BOO SEEKA snaps up melodies and bounces them off hip-hop/R&B driven grooves and beats that vibe.
When did you know that you both had such a strong musical connection?
We didn’t have a choice really. Our connection was that we liked the same music and then we literally just said let’s try and write a song in a couple of days which was ‘Kingdom Leader’. So yeah, we wrote the song, put it out a week later and then quit everything we were doing to start doing this. Definitely not good planning what so ever.
What were you both up to musically before you found each other?
I was doing more electronic stuff, producing under another name. I played in a punk band as well but it was pretty stupid. It was more just for the fun of it. Ben was a singer in a band and brought the songwriter kind of vibe to the Boo Seeka mix.
Do you predominately write and record in the studio or do you prefer a home set up?
There’s different phases of recording for us. We’ll write and then we’ll record whatever we can in that moment and then we might go to my house and do a bit in the studio that I’ve got next to my bed and then take it somewhere else and try to smash it all out. It’s definitely like a baseball field. We’ll get to first base and then it ends up home and we’ll play the song to producers.
Recording vocals can be quite a personal thing. Where do you feel most comfortable recording yours Ben?
Sammy has a good ear. I’ll just be in my own little world humming something and before I know it there’s a fucking phone in my face and he’s like do that again. All the times I’ve hummed something and think I might remember and don’t. Everyone does it, I’ve done it. You think a line is gold and you’ll remember it for sure and then you don’t. The other thing for us is getting songs to a certain level where people think we’ve been playing for a long time. In the states we were actually just making stuff up on stage.
That’s quite a talent to have.
I don’t know if it’s a talent or just stupidity. It’s helpful for us to get a gauge off the crowd and how they react to certain things. So I don’t think there’s really a right or wrong way as to how you write songs. Vocally yeah, I like singing in the shower like everyone else.
You’ve been in partnership with Neal from Sureshaker from the beginnings of Boo Seeka. Why did you feel Sureshaker was and still is the perfect fit for you?
That’s how we met, through Neal. Neal was a good friend of both of ours without us knowing each other and he just said I think you guys should meet and talk about music and that’s what we did. Sureshaker has always been a thing for me personally that I’ve loved. It’s a great independent label that started with Beautiful Girls and now it’s been built into an empire with Sticky Fingers. It’s such an amazing thing to be asked to be a part of the label and it’s just growing. People are following the label itself and not just one certain band.
Do you mind taking me through what some of these creative compromises or creative differences were and how exactly did you overcome them?
Let’s say we have a song that’s front-to-back lyrics and chords done. For example, we had a song called ‘Bronzed’ which we still play live – it’s not on the album – and it’s pretty much a drum and bass banger. Ben was like, “let’s just keep it banging from front-to-back.” To which I was like, “Nah man, it’s dance music. You got to make the dance bit stand out by bringing it down. In the bridge, dip it down, let’s cut all the drums out to build it back up again. Let’s have some light and shade.” That was just where different worlds collided through different levels of understanding of different styles of music. How we dealt with that was we created about eight versions of that song over the period of about six to twelve months! Haha. We found one we were happy with so we kind of ran with that. In any scenario where we have differences, we’re really good at working them out together. At the end of the day, it’s us two in this forever. We just have to relax on it and compromise. It’s all about keeping things happy, positive and creating music that you love! Obviously with that ‘Bronze’ song we didn’t get one we were happy enough with to put on the album! Haha.
With those differences, do you think it ever stagnates the writing process?
It definitely can stagnate processes. There are times, and this probably goes both ways, when I present Ben something and he’s not as into it as I am. I’ll get a bit bummed and then I’ll drop that song for a while. We kind of got over that a while ago. Now, we’re just much more open to what the other person wants to do. We’ve realised that closing any door – no matter how bad you think it is – is just going to stop you from hearing a product that in the end could be great. We’re very open. Ben puts it well when he says “we’re like blue and yellow coming together and making green.
That actually makes a lot of sense. Diversity in opinion when making any sort of project like this is really important.
Definitely. I think one point on that is that it stops our music from sounding generically folk or generically dance, which if we didn’t meet that’s perhaps what we would be making. It puts it nicely in the middle.
Yeah, that makes total sense. Do you feel like not worrying about things happening too quickly is an attitude you’ll want to keep going as you keep making Boo Seeka albums?
Yeah, definitely. We have goals and we realised that the only way to achieve those goals is to have that attitude. If something presents itself to you and you hesitate, you’re wasting your time.