Back Tracks - BadBadNotGood

The Who, Radiohead and Dinosaur Jr are artists that have shaped this jazz/hip-hop trio's lives.
BadBadNotGood © Carlo Cruz/Red Bull Content Pool

When was the last time you heard a jazz band yell, “We’re gonna bump this shit!?" Toronto trio BadBadNotGood (keysman Matthew Tavares, bassist Chester Hansen, and drummer Alexander Sowinski) are jazz college graduates -- and also huge hip-hop fans. They’ve covered Kanye and Waka Flocka, and collaborated with Odd Future members Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean.

Earlier this year, BadBadNotGood hit the Red Bull Studio LA with rapper Alexander Spit to lay down a video for Spit's song 'A Breathtaking Trip.' Currently finishing their new album, BadBadNotGood are in Europe for a series of festivals, including Russia’s Stereoleto Festival, Dour and Lovebox.

© Carlo Cruz/Red Bull Content Pool

The first track that made Chester want to make music was…

The Who - 'My Generation.' "That was when I first started to realise what a bass guitar was. My dad always listened to The Who’s 'Greatest Hits.' I was like, 'What’s that crazy instrument in the middle of the song?. I really got into playing bass myself when I was 16 or 17 and jamming with friends. The Who are one of my favorite bands anyway, super raw but amazing songwriting."

The first piece of music to stop Matthew in his tracks was…

Radiohead - 'Karma Police.' "I would have been about 8 when 'OK Computer' first came out, but my older brother was into them. It’s not instant, especially when you’re really young, you have to listen to it a bunch before you go… shit! This is actually amazing!"

The track responsible for Matthew’s best mosh-pit moment was…

Dinosaur Jr - 'Little Furry Things.' "I used to love moshing when I was in university. I went to see Dinosaur Jr and when they played Little Furry Things and it was 2,000 people going insane. People were hiding in the washrooms! Almost every show we play has some form of crazy moshing or stage diving. When we played Hoxton, London, recently we had two stage invasions and they almost broke our gear.

We’ve been trying to play louder and faster and way more energetic, so you’re not going to sit there with your arms crossed. There’s so much more to music than technicality. You can strive to be the most top-notch player, but if you don’t have fun playing with your friends, so what?"

Our ultimate Friday night anthem is…

Rick Ross - 'Made Men.' "Both verses by Drake and Rick Ross reference each other in amazing ways. The beat is hilarious. And whoever edited the music video did an amazingly bad job – the entire thing is super-imposed over weird static Getty Images of Las Vegas. There’s so much amazing rap music that’s hype, yet hard, and just makes you want to have a great time.

We started playing hip-hop when we were in jazz school and learning all these traditional songs and techniques. Hip-hop was so much more evolving, more creative, like an amalgamation of all music. After a few jams together somebody had the idea of us trying to play Gucci Mane’s 'Lemonade,' and BBNG gradually evolved into the crazy beast that it is now."

The track that’s taught us the most is…

Portishead - 'The Rip.' "We learn from so many different artists. But as we were writing the material for our next album we were rediscovering the last Portishead record, and tracks like 'The Rip.' The album’s got elements of krautrock and Silver Apples and ’60s psychedelia, and we’ve been referencing a lot of the synth tones. We saw them for the first time at Glastonbury and it was so cohesive. No bullshit, no gimmicks, just up there shredding."

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