I had no idea what I was in for the day that I made the two-hour trip to interview bass music duo formerly known as The Bolivian Marching Affair, now just TBMA on a Rhode Island beach. It was sweltering hot and fifteen minutes in I wish I’d brought my bathing suit, I probably would’ve blended in a little better although I was able to take my flats off and dance on a concrete floor strewn with white sand. TBMA is nothing but a fast-paced melodic bass duo, who’ve risen from upstarts in the competitive Boston electronic scene to be sampled by the likes of Skrillex, Krewella and Adventure Club amongst others.
On the helm of signing with major EDM label Armada the duo, comprised of Joey Fisher and Chris Curran were in high spirits and it was perhaps the most pleasurable business that I have conducted this summer. The group burst onto the highly competitive Boston music scene with an impact and made more national waves with upbeat remixes of “Stay The Night,” “Jump,” and “Mo’ Money,” as well as studio originals “Showtime,” “Vega,” and “Obsessed,” which is the first track signed to the label.
Dancing barefoot with a Tiki Beach Club made margarita didn’t seem like work at least. And to add in TBMA living up to their namesake of creating a “signature heart pounding bass music vibe” made any sentiment of duty fleeting. We all mutually decided by the end of the event that any interview worth reading should be done beachside on an open waterfront.
EM: So everything that I’ve read said that you guys burst onto the scene in 2011, how do you think things have changed for you since then?
JF: We’ve gotten to play a lot of music, traveled the country, put out about 40 songs now and figure out what our sound is after trying out lots of different ideas.
CC: This whole scene changes so fast too. Since 2011 we’ve gone through so many different phases between the group, the label we’ve been on, and the agencies that we’ve worked with. Everything has changed dramatically every year. It’s just kind of the way the EDM world works. It’s been hectic and crazy, but in a good way.
EM: The EDM world is pretty interchangeable.
EM: What agencies have you guys worked with since you guys started?
JF: We were at Household, and then went to Bond and now we’re with Warpath Group.
EM: Each one is building you up to the next thing?
CC: Definitely, and we’re kind of at this point in 2014 where everything is changing and is getting better and better every year since we started in 2011.
EM: You guys are originally from Boston?
CC: If we had to pick a city as our home base it would be Boston.
EM: So how do you feel that Boston helped TBMA in terms of your development as artists?
JF: I don’t think that being from Boston has a large part to do with what we’ve done as a group. Most of our friends live in LA or other parts of the country. When we started there wasn’t a ton that was coming out of Boston although there are a lot of kids putting things out now, like Case & Point, Kasum and a slew of other new and upcoming producers. Before any of that there was Terravita, Hot Pink Delorian and Soul Clap.
JF: It’s tough in Boston now. There really aren’t a lot of people to network with and an oversaturation of people producing, djing and putting on shows. What was cool though was that because it was small it was easier to get more accomplished at a quicker speed instead of competing against a bunch of other people. Chris and I are moving over to LA soon so we have more resources and more connections to help us grow as a group.
EM: So you guys are all living in different places currently?
JF: Well Chris and I live twenty minutes apart however we send stuff back and forth via Dropbox when we aren't together.
EM: (Laughs) Exactly my thoughts. What do you guys think of how easy it is to collaborate from afar now?
JF: It makes it so much easier and we don’t all have to be in the same place you know?
CC: I can just come up with an idea, send it to Joey and within ten minutes I have a response.
EM: Well that’s kind of the modern EDM thing, it’s a back and forth and you don’t always have to sit down and rehearse.
CC: Technologies a great thing, it’s wonderful. We use it A LOT.
EM: So you guys had a pretty big release in the past six months, the “Obsessed” track that is now signed to Armada. Are there any thoughts that you guys want to share about what inspired the track?
CC: The way it began was really random; the vocalist that’s on that track is a really good friend of mine. She’s in a band called PVRIS and I produced one of their EP’s a few years ago and she and I have been very close friends since she was like sixteen. I told her that she should get on a track with us since we’d been doing a lot of releases and then I ended up remixing one of Paris’s tracks that ended up becoming “Obsessed.” I’d already completely written the track out for her vocals, which was initially supposed to be a remix and decided to have it be an original with her writing all of the vocals for it. A lot of what we do starts out like that, we play with ideas that start out as remixes and then a week later it’s a completely different track. That’s kind of how music is, you start out with a single idea and then it just evolves.
EM: What are your favorite tracks from your set that you performed today?
JF: My favorite track by far on our mix is the trap remix of Ellie Goulding and Seven Lines. By far my favorite track. That followed by the Dirtyphonics remix of Kaskade. I absolutely love those tunes right now.
EM: When you guys started playing the Prodigy Breathe (Mercer remix) I have to say that I got very excited.
CC: Any time we play that remix in any place during a set everyone loves it… because it’s the Prodigy.
EM: Exactly. They’re the classics.
CC: I love when we play and put on a Prodigy remix, amazing every time.
EM: It’s the group that gets anyone who was originally a rock fan to dance to electronic.
CC: Exactly and that’s so widespread now. It was originally the drum n’ bass group from the UK that no one knew.
EM: I saw that Skrillex has played your tunes?
JF: Him and a bunch of others. It’s always awesome to get support from people we look up to. Even our friends Krewella put one of our tunes in a mix they did for BBC1 .
CC: We really have had some good support from other artists. I definitely think that we can accredit some of our success to being supported by the bigger names and I do think that is how this works, friends supporting each other. We’re very grateful for that. It’s very based on relationships. Also, can we do interviews on the beach only? Like request that with everyone?
JF: We have to. From. Now. On. It has to be on the beach.
CC: Because this is great.