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Bushbaby

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Bushbaby is a brand new band from Great Britain playing a heavy rockstyle. Though the band is new, the bandmembers are not at all new to the scene. They were once part of heavy rockband Gethsemane Rose whom some of you might know of their two albums. Because Bushbaby played as a support-act with metalband Tourniquet I had the opportunity to talk with them face-to-face. Here's the interview.

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Interview with Ben James (vocalist and guitarist) and Matt Sims (bassplayer)

Date:  April 23rd 1999

Where: Arnhem, The Netherlands. In a backstage room of the Luxor Theatre

Other bandmembers: Kev Bonnett (drummer)

Discography: Medicine EP (1998) independent release

Contact Address:  c/o The Music Works, PO BOX 1193, Cheddar, BS27 3BF, England.

Interviewed by MPO

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Bushbaby is quite a new band and as far as I know you came out of the band Gethsemane Rose. Or some of you. Can anyone tell about that?

Ben: Yeah, my brother left Gethsemane Rose, leaving us as a three-piece really. So it meant a serious sort of rethink really and obviously the sound had to be a bit different if we had to carry on. And we wondered whether we should carry on, whether it would work. So, we tried it and we decided at the end of the day that we should have a name change. Have a change of direction and see if it works. And we were pleasantly surprised. (laughs)

What musical direction are you going to aim at right now?

Matt: Oh, I guess with Bushbaby we tried to work on our horizon and appeal to a wider audience, really. Gethsemane Rose was obviously on the heavy end of the rockspectrum. Bushbaby is not so heavy in our opinion. And we're trying to write songs which are maybe a little bit more commercial.

I read in a piece of paper that you sent me that you have interest from a Nashville label for a contract. Can you tell me about that?

Matt: Yeah, sure, this week, actually, we signed a deal in the States, or, we're in the process of signing it. It's in that final negotiationsstage and it's moving forward. It's a recorddeal with distribution throughout America and that's where we're going to start off. Which is great for us.

What company are you negotiating with?

Matt: The recordcompany is Ionic Records who are part of Massive Groove and as I understand it I think we're being distributed through Avalon, but don't quote me on that as it were. But I know the contract is from Ionic Records.

Do they want you to do a new album?

Matt: Yeah, we're recording in july. They want to release the EP, or the tracks from the EP, plus some more to form an album which will be launched in october. The date is not set but it will be launched in october and we will record it in july.

Do you think it's going to work anything out for the band?

Matt: We really hope so. It's our aim to make it work. The chance is that we'll end up in America for a few weeks during october and we hope throughout a lot of next year.

But, I mean, bands like Delirious? and Fono are going to make it in America. Is that an aim you're going at?

Matt: We feel our calling is to bring our Christian message into the world and use the world's vehicle for that which is the secular music industry. And the record company we're signing with wants to do that with us. They're a Christian recordcompany with secular distribution. So, we will be launched into Christian shops, around tenthousand around the States where they all have the products, plus they want to launch it into the mainstream. So we're really committing to that and we're excited about that 'cause that's where we want Bushbaby to be.

Now I have a rather strange question perhaps. If you had to choose between having hits in Britain like Delirious? has or to have a labelcontract in America and touring in the States, what would you prefer?

Matt: (laughs) That's a very loaded question when we're signing a deal in America! Uh, I don't know if I have to answer that one, really. The honest answer is, I don't know. I would love to have a situation where we can have both and have ourselves in the UK. Working in the States is not difficult at all because it's an eight hour flight. But it would be great to break some ground in America and the record company we're signed with do feel that the style of music that we have can work in America. So, I think we'll have to see. Ask me that in a year.

I read that you're going to play at Greenbelt and Meltdown and another festival. How is the response in England to your music?

Matt: It's been very good. We've got an incredible fanbase which we adopted from the Gethsemane Rose days which are really loyal to us. And we have a great respect for them. And they have been really encouraging with what we're doing now. And we increased our fanbase as well. We picked up new fans if you like. So, it's very positive, the feedback we're getting from the Christian music scene and also the secular music scene as well.

The way I got into contact with you was through the American magazine HM. The review in that magazine was quite positive and did you get    more contacts this way, worldwide?

Matt: We're trying to network as much as we can. We really want to make Bushbaby as widely known as possible. So, we're trying to make as many friends along the way as we can. And so far we've been very blessed in that.

Note: After the interview drummer Kev mentioned to me the fact that they had been in contact with Nashville labels but that Ionic Records isn't from that area.

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