circus maximus
Boom Bip

Hip hop transgénique

Après diverses collaborations dont la plus remarquable est Circle, promenade à cloche pied autour du hip hop en compagnie du rappeur Dose One, l'américain Bryan Hollon, alias Boom Bip, a sorti en 2002 un premier véritable album solo, Seed To Sun. Hormis les contributions de Buck 65 et Dose One, ce disque est essentiellement instrumental et inspiré par une pop électrique allant de la comptine naïve à la Mum au lyrisme électrique de Radiohead. En signant cette douce hybridation hip hop, Hollon, en multi-instrumentiste appliqué, sème les graines d'un hip hop transgénique aux idées larges. Seed To Sun est un gentil mutant qui restera certainement un disque charnière dans la carrière de Hollon et dans la généalogie post- hip hop.

What have been your first contacts with music ?Who/Which records convicted you to make music yourself?
Early in my childhood i was exposed to hendrix, black sabbath and zepelin of course, which made me want to do music. i really did not start hearing music properly until i was into bands like sonic youth and fugazi. bands in that new york and dc school of guitar based rock made me want to make music seriously for a living instead of doing cover songs of my heroes.

What is your musical training (drummer, turntablist?) ? But you can play and do play a lot of instruments, don't you?

I am pretty much self taught on all the instruments that i play. i had some drums lessons when i was younger, but they did not really sink in. they just helped me understand rhythm. i got a guitar for christmas when i was 14 and started getting deep into that. my older sister had a piano that my parents bought her and i would always play around on that as well. i got into samplers and turntables around 1993 and feel in love. since then i have been moving on to more challenging instruments such as the theremin and xylophone. i really want to learn how to play the accordian, but i need to get one first. that is next on my list.

Which genre do you feel closer to, Hip Hop or Jazz, or ... ?
I feel closest to indie-rock (for lack of a better term) than anything else. second would be jazz and hip-hop last.

Can you tell me about the doo-doo breaks ? Can we compare these to DJFood's "Jazz Brakes" ?
I have not heard dj food's "jazz breaks" so i can't really say. but with doo doo breaks i wanted them to be audibly pleasing to all sorts of people and not just djs. i did not want to make a typical scratch record. i wanted to make stripped down tracks that would be appealing to emcees, djs, bboys and bgirls or just someone who appreciates my music and happened to buy it.

How did you meet Dose One? Is he now "the" vocalist" in your work?
Dose and i met at the university of cincinnati. We had a history class together. he came into the classroom with headphones on singing the roots. We talked about music a bit and then bumped into each other at a few hip-hop shows in the city. we began discussing working together and the rest is history. dose is not my "vocalist". i just really appreciate his drive and confidence in his art. he is really impressive and sincere individual that i love working with.

"Circle" has been recorded in two months ? Could you tell me about the process of creation of this album and the way you collaborate with Dose One Do you consider this record as a concept album ?
circle really did not have too much of a concept before it started other than we wanted to do something with no bounderies that pushed the envelope. we also made a point to not stick within any structure. We ended up being crunched for time because dose was moving out to the bay and really pushed each other to work our asses off getting the album done. We literally lived together in that studio working at least 12 hours a day on music. it was an insane time.

I read that it was kind of intentional to you to make a catalogue of various musical styles with "Circle". Can we also see it as an Hip Hop Epic around and away from Hip Hop finally presenting hip hop as a kind of "nonplace style"?
We really wanted to see how far we could swing out and make sure it was still considered hip-hop. We wanted to prove to people what hip-hop could potentially sound like if people just let go.

"Circle" has been recorded two years ago, how did your music evolve since then?
My music has evolved tremendously in my opinion. i now feel that i am truly capturing emotion with instrumentals. i did not want people listening to my album and saying "those are nice beats". i wanted them to be more moving and considered more than just "beats".

Your biography mentions a new directions in your work with the mixing of real instruments and electronics ; was it already the way you worked on "Circle". Is this preoccupation still up to date with your album for Lex ?
With "seed to sun" i truly had a lot more paints to choose from. therefore, the picture had more to it. circle is sample based, with lots of subtle turntable work with organic sounds from around the city. the new album focuses more on me in the studio with many different types of instruments.

Your recent 12" for Lex presents two sides (it's a 12"!) of your work. A dark abstract (could we say post-illbient ! ?) hip hop side, and a direction which tends to bring Dose One "rap" in pop territories (It sometimes made me think of Radiohead!). Will the album follow these two directions?
I think so. the album has a mature sound to it. that is one of the reason i wanted dose and buck 65 to do vocals on it. i believe those two guys are on the same wave length as i am with music. we all have matured quite a bit in the past couple of years and it shows in our music. again, i really wanted to capture emotion with the new tracks. i also wanted to present several moods on the album. i enjoy doing that with full lengths. kind of like watching an audio film.

Lex is a new label. Do you find legitimate to see it as the European cousin of Anticon and Mush ?
Not really. i think lex will establish it's own indentity and live happily ever after with it's
listeners. i would imagine any anticon or mush fan will love the lex stuff.

What are your favourite records these days/year?
Which music/sounds do influence you ?
Well, i am on tour right now and have been introduced to tons of new stuff. some of the stuff on the tour bus that has been moving me is neutral milk hotel, vincent gallo's film scores, mum, breeder's "title tk", reaching quiet and gary newman to name a few.

(Christophe Taupin)

Interview réalisée par e-mail en juin 2002. Remerciements à Tom Brown et Tony Morley.

Boom Bip & Dose One Circle (Mush/Leaf)
Boom Bip Seed To Sun (Lex Records)