In five short years, BobaFlex has gone from rural West Virginia to headlining gigs in Ohio and playing alongside Disturbed, Nickelback, the Rollins Band, Kid Rock and Crazy Town to name just a few.
Now they’ve signed with Eclipse Records and are looking forward to the national re-release of their 2002 self-released CD Primitive Epic. LarryMac talked to guitarist Mike Steel to find out where the band’s from, where they’re headed and what we can expect from them along the way.
|Photos Courtesy of BobaFlex / Eclipse Records|
LarryMac: First the easy one, the one I’m sure you’ve already answered a hundred times before: how’s the new album coming? When can we look for it and when can we expect to see you guys back out on the road up this way?
Mike: It’s going great. We are currently putting the finishing touches on the artwork for the album. We worked with a very talented artist named Mick Usher, who did just an incredible job so we are all quite anxious to see the finished product. It looks like our release date will be sometime in August.
LarryMac: After signing with Eclipse, what made you decide to re-release Primitive Epic, as opposed to new material?
Mike: It actually was never a question to re-release Primitive Epic. We are all very confident in this album and we want to make sure everyone gets a chance to listen to it.
LarryMac: You’ve made a point of evolving your sound over the years, what can we look for on the re-release that we haven’t heard before?
Mike: An exciting album that you can listen to all the way through. Not like these one hit song albums that most bands are putting out these days.
LarryMac: A lot of your songs seem to have a grand, almost anthem-style, sound to them. The opening to “BobaFlex Warriors”, the almost “Bohemian Rhapsody”-esque transitions in “Midnight Nation” and even the storyline behind “Tears Drip” come to mind. Is that a conscious move to build a sort of cult feel to BobaFlex?
Mike: Of course, we want to write high energy songs that the fans can really get into. And what better to do that than big anthem-style choruses?
LarryMac: Onto a little history: You guys have always embraced your small town roots. Do you think the lack of big-time exposure hurt you early on? Or did the ability to quickly become the “big fish in a small pond” help you establish yourselves without having to go through the usual band vs. band in-fighting?
Mike: Definitely a lack of big time exposure can hurt. But it also humbles you right out of the gate. It really shows you where you stand and how important you are to the music business.
LarryMac: Are there any other great West Virginia independent bands we should know about?
Mike: Yes there is a band called Energy that I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot about.
LarryMac: Your sound has evolved a lot since the early days. You’ve moved away from the rapcore sound and gotten edgier. Was that a function of the roster changes, or were the lineup changes because of the evolution of your sound?
Mike: We all could feel a change coming that others could not feel. So the line up changes was definitely due to evolution in the band.
LarryMac: BobaFlex was courted by other big name labels earlier in your history. You’ve said those fell through because you guys “weren’t ready”. What was different when you were approached by Eclipse?
Mike: We all just felt really comfortable with the entire deal. Chris Poland really understood the music and what we wanted out of our careers. And that’s important and hard to find.
LarryMac: After thriving in your hometown, you targeted Columbus. You signed with Eclipse who had previously worked with Mushroomhead and you’re also signed to Spotlight Entertainment. You seem to have a lot of strong ties to Ohio. Was that a conscious move or is that just way things worked out?
Mike: Where we live a river separates West Virginia from Ohio. So it’s only natural that we moved into Columbus with it being only a couple of hours away.
LarryMac: Aside from West Virginia and your adopted home of Columbus, how has the response been on the road?
Mike: Unbelievable,we are building a strong following everywhere we go.
LarryMac: In about five years you’ve already played alongside bands like Nickleback and Disturbed, as well as landed a record deal. Tell all the other bands out there what the secret is.
Mike: Practice everyday as if it were high school football. Everyone gets the impression that with music it’s more laid back. But if you don’t practice everyday like it’s training for the playoffs, then you will never get out of the basement.
LarryMac: OK, the floor is yours. Any parting words?
Mike: Bobaflex is not down with R. Kelly. We do not support child molesters.
BobaFlex is available on Eclipse Records (www.eclipserecords.com)
For more info on BobaFlex, check out their website at www.bobaflexwarriors.com