Tag Archives: Tom Bombadeal

TOM CARUANA: Interview

Tea Sea Records head honcho, rapper and producer, Tom Caruana has been making the finest quality beats for some years now straight outta Brighton – and it has to be said that the man’s no slouch when it comes to output. In the last year alone (that I know of) he’s dropped the cracking LP Rebel Without Applause with MC Elemental (featuring a Count Bass D hook-up), his own solo LPs It’s So Different Here (as himself) and Further Into The Woods (as Tom Bombadeal), remix albums for both Large Professor and Doom and production credits on both Boston rapper Insight’s most recent single True Or False and Koaste’s Billy The Kid EP. Amazingly, on top of all that and the fact that it’s Christmas – he still had time for a chat. Here’s what he had to say…
Monkeyboxing (MB): Tell us a bit about Tea Sea Records.
Tom Caruana (TC): I set it up in 2005 to put out various projects that I was working on. I had put some music out with other labels including Breakin Bread, Son and Fluid Ounce, but felt that I wanted to be in control of something that would let me put my music out when I wanted. The main starting point was getting the website set up, I could use it to sell CDs, post up free downloads, podcasts and have somewhere central to promote stuff.
MB: I understand Cup Of Brown Joy which you made with Elemental and which featured on the excellent Rebel Without Applause LP (released earlier this year) seems to have become something of a YouTube sensation. Have any of the trappings of fame been forthcoming as a result?
TC: I remember watching a rough edit of the video and thinking it was gonna be really good, but a few weeks after it was up on YouTube it went from hundreds to thousands of views in a matter of days! We couldn’t believe how well it had been received. On my website I can view how people arrive at the site and the majority of the traffic is via YouTube, so that’s the main impact on the label. I regularly sell Rebel Without Applause CDs around the world because of that one song/video.
MB: You get any contact off Doom after that remix LP you did of his stuff? He could do with some decent beats lately.
TC: I sent it to Count Bass D and with any luck he’ll forward it on to him. Not holding my breath though.
MB: Hip-hop seems to be suffering a major shortage of credible party-starting bumps at the minute both underground and overground – discuss…
TC: I don’t really keep up with things much, I keep looking back to old music. The recent hip hop albums that I like are the new Large Pro, Grand Puba, Raekwon and the new Method Man & Redman.
MB: Tom Caruana. TC, Tea Sea, Tom Bombadeal – are there any other aliases we should know about?
TC: Not really for me, but there is another project coming soon called The Eclectic Maybe Band which is basically me playing instruments and producing, it features singers and other instrumentalists. But no other specific aliases of mine, yet!
MB: What’s forthcoming on TC?
TC: The Eclectic Maybe Band, mentioned above, I have one album ready to go and another in progress. The 2nd Eclectic Maybe Band album will be the thing I am most proud of musically. I’ve got some more remix albums coming soon: Wu Tang, J-Live, Brand Nubian. I’ve got an album with Grand Agent that’s finished, it just needs to be mixed and mastered and will be out around April next year. Finally the proper Bombadeal album will hopefully be finished in 2010, but it relies on a lot of other people. ‘Further Into The Woods’ and ‘Songs From The Wood’ were just little tasters.
MB: Who would you most like to collaborate with?
TC: The whole of the Wu-Tang, but that’s cos I’ve been remixing them loads recently.
MB: Any shout outs or last words?
TC: Keep Boxing Monkey boy!

Tea Sea Records

Tom Caruana – Myspace

TOM BOMBADEAL: Further Into The Woods – 2009 – Album review

Rating: ★★★★½

Before there was Dizraeli, there was…Tom Bombadeal. Is it a coincidence that both artists are connected to the hip-hop scene in Brighton or evidence that there really are ley lines radiating through the English landscape which plug into a major socket round those parts and are now fuelling a burgeoning folk hop massive? Whichever it is, let this LP serve as a warning of what comes of having a toke on a summer’s day in the vicinity of the Long Man Of Wilmington or, as the missus put it, “this is weird music – sounds like it’s from that Wicker Man film.” Inevitably, given that Brighton and folk music are involved, ‘folk-punk’ bores the Levellers make an appearance (well, their fiddle player Steven Boakes does) though (despite expectations) this doesn’t spoil the LP. Neither does the fact that Bombadeal (a.k.a. Tom Caruana aided and abetted by a motley but equally talented crew including Dizraeli and Elemental) raids wholesale the more tripped-out moments from Tolkien’s epic Lord Of The Rings and specifically the character Tom Bombadil – a fat, jolly sort given to talking utter bollocks in rhyme which – as coincidence (again!) would have it – makes him perfect rapper material. In any case, despite all the ‘green man’ antics, the fol-de-rol-ery of this album has its tongue stuffed firmly into its apple-rosy cheek.
What could be irritating is the fact that with thirty five tracks in just over fifty minutes nothing ever seems to last for quite as long as you want it to – a fact recognised on the antsy two minutes of Family Name, “It’s Tom Bomba along yonder/ Some wonder why ain’t the songs longer.” It isn’t a question that seems to get an answer though there are rumours of a ‘proper’ Tom Bombadeal LP to come where this liberty cap-fuelled ADHD might be cured – don’t sleep on that one. Further Into The Woods is basically an agreeable sonic meander through a very English beatscape that (perhaps because of the shortness of tracks and the amiable ambience) you might initially put on as background music though sooner or later you’ll find it creeping it’s way into your forebrain. Take What Is It About The Night for example – a gorgeous acoustic ballad sung by Sadie Jemmett – all of a minute and twelve seconds long, or Growing Up (one minute fifty) where Caruana evinces his knack for a fat beat. Despite the production ADHD however, this is plum full of hooks and beats and as well as drawing heavily from folk and hip-hop there are flashes of ska (Jamboree/ Moon & Sun) and even (at the end of Night Vision) Zeppelinesque rock. It sounded like it was a lot of fun to make. Did I mention that this is a concept album too – probably not or you might have stopped reading earlier but apparently the idea is that Bombadeal’s rural idyll is under attack from crystal miners or something.

To summarise then: Further Into The Woods is an eccentric folk/ hip-hop hybrid concept album, featuring a member of The Levellers (alright – only on one track), that draws creative inspiration from a Tolkien character, where songs rarely reach two minutes in length (and many barely exceed one) with additional linking narrative by what sounds like a combination of Willie Rushton and a pissed up Adge Cutler…I’ll be the first to admit that that looks really bad on paper. It’s so ridiculous you ought to be compelled to give it a shot though and were you to do so you’d find it utterly bizarre in a strange way that is as likely to appeal to beat heads as hippies and children as well as adults and, as such, I am at a loss to describe it as anything other than truly Tolkienesque…Now go on and get your ass down them woods.

Listen to Tom Bombadeal – Further Into The Woods

Tom Bombadeal – Myspace