Q&A Scene: Nicky Bomba


Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?

We have just released our second album SIERRA KILO ALPHA so we are in the middle of taking this sweet boat to many different places. First up Australia then we head head to London and Edinburgh.The new single FUNKCHUNK is doing great and there is areal connection happening with the crowds.Lots of fun and mayhem.

What’s your favourite work at this point in time?

Well all the songs are like children really, you plant them,nurture them and see them develop into smiling energies. At the moment ESCHER from the new album is putting a big smile on my dial. Captures a lot of the new energy that the orchestra is about.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?   

Our music is like an international exotic array of dishes that blend old school recipes with new ingredients sourced from deep in the jungle. Nice served with a South Australian Pinot.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

Touring with this band could be a logistical nightmare but it actually works out quite fine. Extended family vibes…however trying to fit everybody into a small bus is tricky, especially when you end up with extra peeps who want to continue the party after the party. We have some chronic snorers so they have their own wing of accommodation. Dean, our sax player, a health and fitness nut, has us doing yoga at 7 am every morning regardless of bedtime. He’s a hard taskmaster but the results are encouraging.

What, or who, inspires you?

Apart from Dean, our sax player? We get inspired by everyday happenings really. There are so many stories that live within the humanity of the band and all the choices we make on a daily basis. A lot of our songs are about finding solutions to human struggles, celebrating life and observing the world around us.

Which songs do you wish you wrote?  

Golden Brown by The Stranglers, Popcorn by James Brown

What’s next for you? 

So many things on our plate. Continue this tour overseas, two more singles to release, putting together a documentary on the band, compiling  the extra tracks we recorded on this album into a new cd, cooking lessons, abseiling, disco dancing and deciphering the signals we’re receiving from the deep universe.

What’s your scene? 

It’s a happy Ska Reggaefied Scooter riding good energy vibe that moves people with the power of music. We’re also heavily into landscape gardening with an oriental twist.




Saturday May 28 – Max Watts, Melbourne – with guests Kooyeh

Friday June 24 – Sawtell RSL, Coffs Harbour

Saturday June – Mullumbimby Civic Hall, Mullumbimby

Full tour details available at www.melbourneskaorchestra.com

It’s been three years since Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s critically acclaimed self-titled debut launched, and last month saw their sophomore album SIERRA-KILO-ALPHA touch down in stores. [pullquote]“I’m pretty proud of where we are with this album,” enthuses Nicky Bomba. “There’s a presence and punchiness to it that makes us smile. To me, it’s mature songwriting, yet still having that element of sounding fresh, and that’s always a hard thing to do – I think we accepted the mission and delivered.”[/pullquote] The early word from reviewers is in – The Music declaring it their Album Of The Week (April 20, 2016) with Liz Giuffre describing the album as “Sonic escapism at its best.” While Blank Gold Coast & Tom Magazine’s Trevor Jackson called it – stating “It’s playful and catchy as hell, as good ska should be, but the MSO is more than just a big wall of sound paying homage to a genre. From the outset the band wanted to incorporate many other musical elements into their sound – jazz, funk and African rhythms amongst them. … Throughout Sierra Kilo Alpha the MSO is clearly honouring the genre’s legacy, yet they never lose their sense of fun in delivering the outcome.”

John Hardaker from The Orange Press declared “The snaky, swirling melody of opener ‘Escher’ sets the mission statement – heavy on the horns, beefy on the funk, yet with enough of the dancing lightness of snap-brim ska to get your ass on the floor. Pat Powell‘s knowing vocal – as all across Sierra-Kilo-Alpha – comes across with a grin and a worldly wink.
Leading single ‘Funkchuck’ is chunky, funky and motors along on a rocksteady groove to where it’s going. ‘Bombay Detective’ opens with sitar-exotica – like so many arrangements here, it suggest a movie-for-your-mind: a thrill-ride thriller, moody, racy, noir.
‘Nothing in The Way’ has a circular, snaking riff, like the opener, ‘Escher’ which shows the quiet genius in Bomba’s horn and rhythm arrangements – nothing gets in the way of the groove, yet there is always so much to listen to on the way.
Afro-Cuban flavours sepia ‘Solitary Island Sway’ and ‘Special Thing’ while the largely instrumental ‘Vespa Ska’ has tremolo spaghetti-Western guitar setting the showdown scene. ‘Sly Boots’ (my gold star for next single) is Nutty Boy ska with a gold-plated hook.”
Hitting the top of the AMRAP regional charts with the album’s second single Funkchunk, the song was also promptly added to Double J and has enjoyed strong support from Triple J’s Roots N All & ABC local radio stations Australia-wide.  Alongside all the great community radio airplay right around the country it seems Australian audiences have fully embraced the return of Melbourne Ska Orchestra to their airwaves.
Audiences can embrace Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s renowned live shows when they hit the road tonight. Starting in Queensland, before heading to Sydney, Jenolan Caves/Blue Mountains, Adelaide, hometown Melbourne, Coffs Harbour and Mullumbimby.  The tour will stretch from April 22 to June 25 – full tour details available at www.melbourneskaorchestra.com  – all before playing the main stage at Splendour In the Grass 2016.
Following on from the Australian release and tour, Melbourne Ska Orchestra will be heading off to the UK in August to promote Sierra-Kilo-Alpha there, with appearances at The Garage London, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Boomtown Fair and Kaya World Music Festivals.
There is a feeling of excitement building for this release and you can be assured Melbourne Ska Orchestra will follow through with an unforgettable stage performance!
In the words of John Hardaker  – “The sound is huge and the band is tight; the MSO will be touring with up to 30 players, taking Sierra-Kilo-Alpha across Australia…And as throbbingly vital as this album is, you know their live shows will be through the big-top roof. Don’t miss them.”

About Mary Boukouvalas 1612 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.