The Bomfunk MC's
At the turn of the new Millenium, Finnish sensations The Bomfunk MCs suddenly became big from Manchester to Berlin. The rave stylers of rock beat stormed the charts across the World with their smash hit single, 'Freestyler' - at 2.2 million, the biggest selling European single of the year 2000.
Formed in 1997 by rapper B.O.W. (Brother of Words) and vinyl spinner DJ GISMO, The Bomfunk MCs trawled the cultural waters of cool minimalism to produce - with Finnish dance genius Producer/writer JS16 - a seemingly perfect blend of old school flava and wild pop tunes. This wasn't quaint laid back rock guitars and stolen chemical beats but a smeltdown of showbiz emotions that bitched and scratched a path through mainstream hip-pop. The Bomfunk MCs' debut album 'In Stereo' sold over 800,000 units in Europe alone, after catching the frenzy of madhouse beats and great pop sensibilities.
The early years of Master of Ceremonies B.O.W. saw the combination of a Finnish mamma and Jamaican papa Ebanks. Born Raymond on the doorsteps of London, reared in the wild forests and icecaps of Helsinki, Raymond is a disciple of international dance and underground hip-hop. B.O.W. hosts TV shows, spins the groove and takes time out to capture what's on. Original Bomfunks partner DJ Gismo, aka Ismo Lappalainen, originally made his groove at as a teenage spinner in techno and house.
"Live" The Bomfunk MCs are complete when joined by drummer ARI TOIKA and the blond-afro himself, WILLE MAKINEN, never forgetting the influence of producer/ co-writer JS16 (Jaakko Salovaara) whose industrial metal hymns spin-cycle the songs in full machine mode. Ari - ageless and enigmatic - claims to have been drumming since the age of eight way back in the mists of his own time and place. He found his way to The Bomfunks by way of weddings, funerals, samba, metal, blues, tango, rock, disco, funk, jazz, punk, humpa and even trod the boards, acting the part of drummer, Viking and tree with equal amounts of sass. Big bad Wille - the man with the robot voice - holds down the bottom end of the band on bass and keys, influenced by metal but classically trained, already a successful DJ and now an equal member of the Production triumverate, The SKILLSTERS - more of whom later.
The single, 'Freestyler' proved irresistible to kids all over the globe, slamming itself to #1 on the charts of 12 countries - from NZ to Norway, from Oz to Austria. Even cool Britannia bombed to the funk as the lads reached #2 on the UK Chart with one of the Top 10 best sellers of the year.
Away from home-turf The Bomfunk MCs became their country's new ambassadors, selling platinum plus and stealing a whole host of awards across several continents. VIVA Germany, TMF Holland, M6 France and on November 16th, 2000 in Stockholm the Bomfunk MC's represented the Nordic world at the MTV Europe Awards, performing 'Freestyler' and winning nominations in two categories including
'Best New Act' & 'Best Nordic Act'. Three months later they did the same thing at the German "ECHOs", though this time they were "Best Dance Act" - versatile or what?!
At the end of 2001 The Bomfunks unveiled the first single from their 2nd Album "Burnin' Sneakers" , titled 'Super Electric'. The single immediately hit #1 on the Finnish singles chart and stayed there for five consecutive weeks. This they followed with 'Live Your Life', featuring old friend Helsinki based singing dancing Philadelphia born Max'C on vocals. It too stormed the charts, first in Scandinavia and then throughout Europe. Then came 'Burnin' Sneakers', immediately a #1 Album in Finland during March, April and May 2002.
2002 being World Cup year, The Bomfunks climbed aboard the football train, representing their country through music despite their players not being at the main event. Commissioned by FIFA they recorded a track for "The Official Music of World Cup Korea-Japan 2002" featuring Sweden's finest Jessica Folker, titled "(Crack It) Something Going On". "Crack It" surely did, charting across Scandinavia - the Bomfunks 7th consecutive Top 10 Single in Sweden, Norway and Finland - and finishing the end of the year at #10 in Germany. No one-hit-wonders these boys, they were back with a vengeance.
Bands that survive need to make transitions and B.O.W. is nothing if not a survivor. During 2001 Raymond realised that the Bomfunks needed to grow as a "live" band to solidify and consolidate the success they were having as a recording project. Accordingly he decided to augment The Bomfunk MCs, to make them into a band he could be proud of. During the process DJ Gismo quit the band to be replaced by RIKU PENTTI and OKKE KOMULAINEN, collectively known as The SKILLSTERS. Okke had already established himself as one of Finland's most versatile musical figures, toting his keyboards and touting his wares from Lappland to the Gulf, from the Forests to the Baltics. Before he met Riku he was a member of hit Finnish band "Super", signed to Japanese specialist label Quattro and released records in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia. Next came The Skillsters and together with Riku, the duo developed themselves as remixers, radio personalities, label chiefs (the Pyssy label!) , record producers and even mobile-phone-gismo designers. (Oh the joy of Nokia!). Okke has also toured and recorded with top Finnish band "Nylon Beat" and also with "Paleface", "Janne Haavisto & Farangs", "Liekki" and "Seremoniamestari". Meanwhile Riku was pioneering brokenbeats in Finland and establishing himself as one of Finland's top DJs, pka "DJ Infekto", founder of the eclectic breakbeat club "Beatformers" and a much in-demand scratcher and re-mixer. Riku claims to find his inspiration when cross-country skiing "in the cold dark woods of Finland".
So, stand by for the "new" Bomfunk MCs - Raymond, Wille, Ari, Riku and Okke - aided and abetted by co-founder/Producer/writer JS16 and other regular collaborators like Max'C, now recording for Polydor/Universal Records, Berlin & Helsinki, new album due end 2003/early 2004.