Boomtang Boys Interview


From Toronto, Canada, the Boomtang Boys have been conquering the Canadian dance chart. Tony Grace answers a few questions about the dance music scene.

DM) From what I've heard, you've had quite a lot of success with your dance hit single "Squeeze Toy" in Canada.

TG) Yes, it's the first time a Canadian group has debuted at number one on the Canadian charts. Now Shania and Alannah Morissette have done that, but they're not considered a group; they're considered solo artists.

DM) Now, I've read some articles which have criticized dance music as not having any musical creativity, and being simply repetitions of other people's works. What's your reaction to criticism like that?

TG) Yeah, I've heard that before. I would apply that to R&B; I wouldn't say dance music, though... especially the stuff that's come out of the States. Look at Puff (Daddy)--I don't think it's a legitimate argument. I would be the first one to say, "Yeah, he hasn't written a song, he's just sampling somebody else." That would be a possible argument, but I'm not buying it; that would be something to consider. It's all derivatives, I guess, like so much other music, especially the alternative scene, which can be considered derivatives of the 1970's scene. I think people take dance music too seriously, for starters. This band has just been about having some fun. We're not going real deep on this album, or making a giant musical statement. I think we've done it with this record. I think we explored some of the various samples in this genre. We've done a Euro sound, a Gospel House sound, and a more sugary pop song like "Squeeze Toy." The lyrics are funny, and you can't take a song like that seriously.

DM) You do a few covers on this album, too. Why have so many covers as opposed to your own work?

TG) Well, we were allowed to do it, and we had that in mind going into it. Our background is doing remixes. We have the ability to take somebody else's song and rework it into a dance song. It was easy to apply that same thinking to these classic dance tracks of the '80's. It was a logical progression to do it that way. And also, while our wheels were spinning, trying to do some original material, we thought we should do some covers. It was sort of a "wish list" of things we would like to cover.

DM) Are there any things you wish you could have covered but didn't have a chance to fit into this album?

TG) There were a few tracks. You don't want to say too much, because anybody else could cover them. That happened with "Time after Time" by Cyndi Lauper. It was one of the first songs we did on the album. We wanted to get it out as the first single and, sure enough, another group put out a single of it first. That killed it for us on the radio. We tried, but radio said that they wouldn't play two versions at the same time.

DM) What will be the next single?

TG) I'm hoping it will be "Dancing with Myself" or "Both Sides Now." "Both Sides" is a hidden track at the end of the album.

DM) Why did you release it as a "bonus track" and not simply label it as a track on the album?

TG) Because the label wasn't crazy about the song. They wanted to go for a younger audience. "Squeeze Toy" hits the 6-to-15-year-olds. For example, Disney is playing the video on their video channel and are playing it on their radio stations. So it has hit that young demographic. The reason we chose "Both Sides" is that it is from 1972, and lots of people today have never heard the original. In fact, Emy (who sang the song on our album) had never heard the original before.

DM) Now, you have a couple of female vocalists and your brother, and one more guy. Basically, who is "Boomtang" and who is guesting?

TG) Well, the three of us, Rob, Paul, and I, are the Boomtang Boys. And we have all of our friends that we worked with in the past, and some discoveries. Devon, who sang "Bang the Gong", was somebody that I was familiar with from the band scene here in Toronto. So all the rest are featured singers, and the three of us are the producers.

DM) Do any of the three of you sing at all?

TG) Well, actually Rob and I did the "Oh, Oh, Oh's" in "Dancing with Myself." (laughs)

DM) A lot of the media will focus on the lead singer when they deal with a band. Does that ever take away the focus on what you're doing?

TG) It does lead to a certain amount of confusion. But it sort of had to happen that way. The choice was to promote the act as the "Boomtang Boys." We were so well known for our remix work. We're already considered Canada's top remix team, having done over 80 remixes in the past few years for some major artists. We broke some artists in with our remixes, too. It was our remix that got on the radio and video. We were getting very well known as the Boomtang Boys, which we thought would minimize the confusion.

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