Bamboozle are a 50’s influenced rocking band with a modern sound. Being one of the only bands to have a gal on vocals and rockabilly slap bass a world class pedal steel player , one of the scenes top rockabilly guitarists and drummers and mesmerising four part harmonies Bamboozle are the band to see !
Playing a range of 1950’s rockabilly swing and western swing classics original songs and arrangements of some modern tunes , Bamboozle are a truly rocking band to dance the night away to.
The band consists of:
Serena Sykes – Double Bass/Vocals
Jim Knowler – Guitar/Vocals
Dave Kirk – Pedal Steel Guitar /Vocals
Shaun o’Keeffe – Drums /Vocals
The new single ‘Just like you’ is taken off the album ‘Red Right Hand’.
Mixtaped interview – Bamboozle
How would you describe your musical genre and sound ?
Serena: I guess you could describe our music as Modern Rockabilly Swing… Or 50’s Revival… It’s a real eclectic mix of our influences. It has some definite rockabilly tones, and a strong western swing feel, and also swing style, but it also has a clean, modern sound, with even some alternative influences from myself. Its very difficult to pin down in one style, its not really like anything else around at the moment.
Jim: Rockabilly, Rock n’ Roll, Western swing and jive. Influenced by music from the 1950’s, but with a modern edge to it.
Shaun: A strong rockabilly sound with a broad range of styles
What is your new single about ?
Serena: The title track of our EP, Red Right Hand, is actually an original arrangement of a song by the artist Nick Cave. It’s a song I fell in love with when the movie “Scream” first came out, as it is featured on the soundtrack, and I was a big fan of horror, and really impressed with the new ‘slasher flick’ style the movie brought to the mix.
When we started Bamboozle, and I really started to get a taste for rockabilly music, which is really my favourite personal influence in the band, I had the idea to do a cover version of the song. The rest of the band members were dubious at first, but after we tried it a few times, it really gelled, and it was quickly obvious the tune would feature heavily at gigs.
Jim wrote the other main song on the EP, “Just Like You”. He has been writing music since he was 17, and has had a lot of success previously with his band, The Keytones, which he wrote all the original music for. We even spotted one of his singles in the “Rare Records” book in Waterstones a few weeks back, that was an exciting moment. The single is worth £20, and I think we still have a good few copies, just in case we’re ever that broke 😉
The version of Pink Panther was really just a jam. We were messing around with the theme in a rehearsal, and I mentioned I’d love to play the theme on bass, it would be a lot of fun as its such a cool tune. We played around with it, and the rockabilly style made its way into the arrangement, and we all just knew it would be a hit with our audience. Its such an exciting feel!
Jim: The new EP is our first release. We wanted to create something that would showcase as many of the genres of music we play. “Red right hand’ is a rockabilly cover with a modern edge to it. “Just like you” is a song I wrote. It’s about someone realising that a friend they had known for a while, was becoming more than a friend. It’s written to a jive tempo, so nice and upbeat for the dancers to enjoy.
Dave inspired “The Pink Panther”, when he started playing the famous intro. Serena had the idea of playing it as an instrumental despite not having a saxophone in the band. This gave it an original twist that I think works really well.
“Ice Cold Beer” is another original composition written by me. It’s about a guy who has obviously had a lot of bad experiences in his love life. So he decides to seek solace in a bar and buy an ice-cold beer, and cheers himself up by comparing the beer to his past girlfriends, and the beer wins hands down. It’s a very tongue in cheek song, with a western swing feel to it.
Shaun: Red right hand , Serena (bass) had the idea to turn a slow moody Nick cave song into a raw hard rock n roll number
Where does your name come from ?
Serena: This is a fun one! We went through all the names under the sun before we settled on Bamboozle. We tried name generators, Facebook statuses asking for suggestions, brainstorming sessions, books, newspaper headlines, racing horse names… We went for a short stint as “The Dixie Pigs”. This was the name of a restaurant in Jim and I’s favourite book series, The Dark Tower, written by Stephen King. Its really epic. It was a good name, but the pigs part didn’t quite work, and a few people suggested it was a bit too close to The Dixie Chicks. One day, Jim was reading the football news, (one of his daily activities as an avid Arsenal supporter), and came across the word ‘bamboozled’. He thought it was a great word, and suggested Bamboozle for the name. I have to admit, I hated it at first, it really didn’t work for me, but the other guys loved it. I did protest for a while, but I agreed, as I realised we would probably never find a name we were all happy with, and to my surprise, it really grew on me, and now I think its perfect. We’ve really inhabited the name, and it seems to fit us perfectly!
Jim: We had a few name choices but Bamboozle came up while I was reading a report on a football match, “the attacker bamboozled the defender to score his second goal” I thought it would be a good band name, and everyone agreed.
Shaun: We were sat in Wagamama one day trying to think of a name for the band, when Jim read out a football report & it said bamboozled in the report & we immediately thought Bamboozle, because it had a confusing meaning…
What studio do you record in ?
Liam Watson –Toe Rag Studios, London.
What instruments do you all play ?
Serena: Double Bass, Bass Guitar, Classical Piano and Oboe. I began life as a classical musician, and trained up to grade 8 on both piano and oboe, and also played flute and clarinet, but classical, as wonderful as it is to listen to, just wasn’t in my blood and I quit at age 16, much to the dismay of my parents and teachers.
I think that reading music isn’t really what inspires passion in me. I was taught from a young age that it was wrong to improvise, (which unfortunately happens too often in classical music), and I think I grew to really dislike the structured approach.
After abandoning instruments completely for many years, and only choosing to sing, I met Jim and I found that he saw music in such a different way to me. He was completely self-taught and understood it in a way that was completely alien to me. I didn’t really understand chords very well, and I had never really tried playing by ear. Jim has taught me most of what I now know about music, and most importantly has taught me how to think more like a jazz musician, and how to improvise. At first, it was like he spoke another language anytime he tried to explain anything, but I listened to everything and took it all in, and he has really brought back my passion for music in a way I never believed possible.
I can still read music, but I choose not to. I really believe that to play from your soul, you need your ears more than anything else.
I’m working on the ukulele with my son too!
Jim: Guitar: Electric and acoustic, harmonica.
Dave: Pedal Steel Guitar, Guitar and I’ll have a go at anything with strings. I learnt to play clarinet at school, with much reluctance, as I wanted to get into rock and roll music, but they wanted to me to get into classical music. The only reason I agreed was because I got to go to the Dover Youth Orchestra on a Thursday afternoon, and I got to miss double maths!
Shaun: Drums, learning a little guitar…percussion when needed. I like to have a little play on other instruments if given an opportunity just to see if I can make a noise…
Where can Mixtaped readers find you online ?