Things That Go Boom
Music is Justin Butler's business, and business is booming.
Butler, a well-known name in area reggae outfits Hope Massive and Ital Seeds, is the founder and front man of Boom One Sound System.
Like its name suggests, Boom One isn't your conventional band. It's more of a digital consortium of like-minded musicians, dedicated to defying genres and mixing their own electronic blend of sound.
That blending involves Butler's live and direct mixing through MIDI controllers, percussion and more, with accompanying vocalists delivering original lyrics for a sound that's uniquely Boom One.
"We play an eclectic gamut," Butler said, "like dub, classic soul, R&B, hip hop, dance music. It's all very geared toward getting people to move."
And move they will on Saturday for Boom One's CD release party at the Boone Saloon.
For the past year, Boom One - Butler, Cullen West, Richard Jones and Pete Brown - have been recording. Now they have four EPs in the bag, set for gradual release throughout the year.
"They're pretty much all different styles - four different styles we set them into," Butler said, mentioning hip hop/rap, reggae/dub, electronic/instrumental and an altogether original concept - future roots.
Future roots, Butler said, came from his own meditation on the resurgence of Americana music. A teacher of music appreciation and the history of rock 'n' roll, he realizes the increasingly popular Americana music, by nature, isn't really new.
"This music has been here a long time," he said. "I was just thinking of its evolution, and you could include hip hop, because it started off as a purely American art form, as well as rock 'n' roll. There needs to be a new revision of the definition of what Americana is - it's not just old folk song and neo-bluegrass. The trend of music seems to be going more electronic, and I kind of see that as the future roots music of our society."
And that's Boom One Sound System.
"The music we make is so eclectic, and we take from every genre," Butler said.
Fans and newcomers alike can hear for themselves at the release party, when Boom One will give out 40 free copies of an album sampler, showcasing tracks from the group's four upcoming releases.
"We wrote about 50 tracks and have been trying to classify them so each release is along the same genre type," Butler said.
It's sometimes hard to classify creativity, but Butler's dedicated studio offers ample opportunity for off-the-cuff songwriting. Since it's predominantly electronic, Butler and company can e-mail samples to and fro, ultimately resulting in a fine-tuned release fit for audio consumption.
"This has actually been one of the most productive groups I've worked with," Butler said. "We're writing four or five songs a month. We put ideas together and just bounce them back and forth via Internet, and then we usually have a monthly recording session. Band practice takes a lot of organization, getting everyone there at the same place at the same time, and then trying to force creativity after all that work. Whereas here, we can just sit down and be creative instantly."
The gang's already working on its fifth EP, proceeds from which will benefit tsunami relief for Japan. "We've researched Japanese folk melodies, taken bits of haiku, and are turning it into a reggae dub," Butler said.
The EPs, yet to be officially titled, will start being released in June and then every two to three months afterward, with CD copies available regionally (North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia) in stores, but otherwise on iTunes and similar online merchants.
Boom One Sound System's CD release party takes place Saturday, April 30, at Boone Saloon (489 W. King St.), starting at 10 p.m. and featuring guests DJ Fyah Babylon and Kontur. Expect a $5 cover.
To give Boom One Sound System a listen, visit http://www.boomonesoundsystem.com.