The Bohicas: New Rock For A New Generation

Everyone get excited. The Bohicas, a four piece from Essex and the east London borderlands (Dominic – vocals, & guitar, Dom John – guitar, Ady – bass and Brendan -drums) are making ambitious and arresting rock ‘n’ roll, and their debut album The Making Of is set for release on Friday August 21.

Frontman Dominic McGuinness is as ambitious as the music itself. He and the band have made it their goal to produce music that is not referential, trivial and transitory. Rather, they seek to lodge their sound and its ricocheting energy into the zeitgeist of this generation. They seek to bring immediacy and impact to the forefront of our musical consciousness. They seek to become ‘that band’. We all have one – a band that preserved us through our gangly and messy pubescence. No matter how crated your pimpled face was, or how violent the psycho-hormonal shit storm inside you was, you felt invincible when you listened to your band. It transformed you.

Can they do it? Can they become the musical teat that nourishes millennial teenagers?

Read our interview and listen to their music, and decide for yourselves my dear Howlers.

Hey Dom, how are you going?

I’m good Luke. You well?

I am doing pretty well. It’s really great to be talking to you just before this album, Making Of, comes out on the 21st of August. The Bohicas have been busily touring the UK and EU summer festival circuit, for past few months, as headliners. For the first time, people are coming to just see you. How has that been as an experience, to be ‘the act’?

It’s brilliant man. It’s really good, because we’ve put a lot of work in doing support tours. It is not as if we are headlining festivals. But, for the first time this year we did a headline tour of our own, and it was wonderful just to see the fruits of your labour, when people come specifically to see you and they know your songs. They are also all ears about the songs that they don’t know. It’s tricky when you start out doing the songs that are a bit off-centre, that are a bit mid-tempo, a bit more melodic. Its certainly a bit tougher to try and win them over. But, when you are doing a gig for people that have come to specifically see you, they are a bit more savvy and open-minded.

They respect your artistry

Yeah. It’s wonderful. It’s really good. I just hope that we can keep building this momentum when the album comes out, because the reaction to the singles has been wonderful.

The response has been quite substantial. The Bohicas’ sound is also something quite particular. There are lots of indie rock bands that are kind of revivalist, you know, bringing back british pop rock. But, you guys have a taste of the beatles, a taste of ray charles, and something bluesy. It is energetic but also harmonised and layered. How would you describe what you are doing with your sound and audience?  

The creation of it is down to it being a very honest, very innate thing, where you trust your instincts. It is not a thought out process, where we go ‘this doesn’t sound enough like whoever’. There is a lot of writing that is going on. It’s not as if we are stuck for tunes. It’s just that when we are actually selecting the songs, it becomes a very natural process. When we ran through songs like Swarm or XXX. We played it, and we just knew that we were being ourselves. It sounded like we were being genuine and true to ourselves. It didn’t sound like we were trying too hard. In any kind of line of entertainment or art, the best people make it look easy.

Yeah. Its about immediacy and impact.

Yeah, exactly. They make it look easy, and that is inspiring. Emulating that sort of easy-going, natural energy is important for us. Sonically, I would say that you have to keep it fresh. All these bands that we are influenced by, they are not new bands – The Strokes and The Beatles, stuff like that. When they came out, they weren’t being retro. When they were at the top of their game, they weren’t being throwback. They were using top-notch equipment and forward-thinking producers. That’s at the core of it. Even though the influences and the music is at least 10 years old, the inspiration for the actual sounds and the sonics is fresh.

Yeah, its organic, but modern.

We had Mark Rankin as one of the producers, who had just come off working on Like Clockwork for Queens of the Stone Age. We love having that production for a rock band. There is no lofi, no wafty stuff. There is just a straight-hitting, hard impact to the music.

Just to get to the album and the writing of it. Mark Rankin, Chris ‘Merrick’ Hughes and Oli Bayston. That is a substantial group of people that have been producing with a lot of big artists. Obviously, you have been working with the boys (bandmates). What was the process like putting together this album? You guys vocally harmonise really well, do you artistically harmonise really well?

Nice. Haha. Three of us went to school together, so we have known each since we were about 12 or 13 years old. So there is no…I am just trying to carry on your harmonic metaphor there… there is no dissonance. As for the creation of the album and all that, and getting all these people involved. All the labels kept suggesting that ‘this guys about x’ and ‘this guy is about x’. You know, telling us that we would be stupid not to meet these people and give them a chance because they are so talented. They got it, they understood what we were trying to do. They complemented our style and were able to develop our sound to new levels of fidelity and authenticity. We just learnt so much more from them.

You said that you are ‘trying to do’ something. What specifically are The Bohicas ‘trying to do’ with their debut album? You talked about this kind of sucker-punch rock that is really immediate and powerful. Is that just it or is there something about the lyricism?

We haven’t got a message or a kind of code that we adhere by. All it is, is that the songwriting is very truthful. It’s honest and it’s not kind of self-conscious. It just has to be a fresh rock record. When those records hit teenagers at that moment when they are unsure of themselves, when a teenager finds a band, there is something very powerful about that. Everybody gets it when they are a teenager. They walk into school, and this band is empowering and makes you feel something that you have never felt before. Those are our favourite albums, and that’s what we want to replicate. If you can become some kids band, it’s just fucking empowering.

Yeah, you are literally just everything. A kid’s band is as powerful as a kids parent in some senses.

Yeah, exactly. It’s important stuff, because it’s a private and public thing. You can have these moments by yourself and you have them with five thousand people at a gig. So its a very strange, kind of concept. But that’s music i guess.

I was looking at the videos for the tour doco, Swarn over Essexxx. The pulse films director duo, Thirtytwo, has been working with you. What has it been like doing that?

That was only a 10 minute thing. There are two parts on youtube and they are only like 10 minutes each. They are friends of ours, Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace. They recorded a music film for Blur, for their comeback thing. They also did LCD Soundsystem’s Shut up and Play the Hits, which was their final gig. But they have never done a band in its infancy. So that was interesting for them to document. It will be a thing that we will add to over the years. In January, we did Swarm over Essexxx, and it was all just an honest depiction of what goes on. It’s not like a warts and all boring thing, it’s just an honest portrayal of how a band that has not released an album goes on tour and plays these small venues. You know, sometimes you are playing for 40 year old men and sometimes you are playing for 14 year old girls. Its a project that hopefully we can keep heading towards as there is incremental change. Maybe the next video/doco we do will be in Australia or Japan, when the album is already out. I hope that each one will be different and interesting.

I was reading an interview that somebody had with you in feb this year. You were talking about your life and you said, ‘I need a change of environment and a van full of rockstars on a dual carriageway has me wet with desire.” Do you think that you have achieved this ‘change of environment’? If not, is there still change that you what to happen for 2015?

The change of environment that I was referring to was moving out of my parents house and getting out of my fucking bedroom, where I was writing shitty songs. This year has been great because I have been in the van with a band. Touring has been great. All I can ask for this year, is that the momentum and the appetite for the album sustains. It will be great. I cannot wait to see what happens because the reaction we have had with the singles has been wonderful and if that travels through to the album, it will be even more wonderful.