The guys behind Boho Baha have come up with another unique concept for Bahrain’s music scene called Radio Mellowtron. We talk to the inspired trio to find out more.
If you haven’t already been to a Farmfest or a Boho Baha club night then it’s high time you do. The combination of extremely talented local bands and DJs playing music ranging from blues to reggae to funk (and everything in between) with a crowd of people looking to let loose and absorb the sounds makes for a heady mix. It’s all about spicing up Bahrain’s nightlife and music scenes, and basically offering everyone something a little different.
So when we heard the guys behind this concept had come up with another original idea for fun on the island we had to know more. So we sat down with Tarik Omar, Khalil Rasool and Pete Yiacoumi to talk about what they fondly call ‘Radio Mellowtron’ and how we can ‘tune into a positive frequency’.
Where did the idea come from?
Tarik Omar: It’s been an idea I’ve been chewing on for a long time. I started brainstorming it with a friend on a drive back to Bahrain from Qatar a while ago, but then it was a different idea centred around creating a podcast that focuses on underground local music. It wasn’t until Khalil came on board that we really put the idea through its paces and turned it into an actual radio show.
Khalil Rasool: The topic came up while we were over at our friend’s place. We spent the whole night listening to our friend Gareth’s eclectic taste in music and it struck us… how can we can take people with no technical DJ skill but who have amazing taste in music and get them in front of a crowd without feeling nervous?
TO: Khalil and I deconstructed the whole idea of a DJ night and came to the conclusion that DJ-ing, at its core, is a performance art. While technical skill is important, it’s not entirely necessary if you change the way it’s presented. So we realised that we needed an entirely new format to make it work. This came with a completely new set of challenges but we’ve been having a blast figuring out ways to make it visually and sonically engaging.
Pete Yiacoumi: I love to figure out ways for people to interact with their environments. We’ve tried to incorporate that as much as possible through things like news reports generated through games such as Chinese whispers or radio DJs taking calls from the audience. It’s still a club night and we want people to dance and enjoy themselves but we also want them to feel like they’re a part of something.
Who are the DJs? Give us a brief introduction to you all…
TO: We’ve got a pretty funky line-up going on this time around. We wanted to create a few interesting radio shows and segments as opposed to just DJ sets. Khalil and I are kicking off the night with a love-line sort of show. We plan on playing some funk and dispensing some pretty terrible relationship advice. That’s followed up by ‘Live in the studio with…’ where we get a chance to check out one of Bahrain’s epic local bands. Viddy FM hosted by the embodiment of groovy and longtime Boho collaborator/performer, GT. In between segments we’ll be doing our own slightly off-kilter version of the news and keeping everyone up-to-date with our King Pong tournament that will be going on.
What’s the ‘Live in the studio with…’ segment all about?
PY: This segment is all about one of our favourite local artists JMC. They’ve been with us from the very beginning and are a five-piece band focusing on blues, rock and folk music. The freedom behind this concept allows us to get really creative and quite silly which usually works in our favour in most of the events we do, as it’s all about loosening people up and breaking social barriers!
What genres of music can we expect to hear at the event?
KR: That’s a big question [laughs]. We all have really diverse tastes in music but you can expect to hear some funk, old school hip hop, trip hop and a fat dose of Afrobeat and soul music. Viewers will also be exposed to all sorts of mini skits.
What are you hoping party-goers leave thinking or feeling?
TO: Our ultimate goal is to create play spaces where everyone can let go and have a good time. We believe the best way to achieve that is to create an environment that feels like it has a completely different set of social rules for people interacting with one another.
Is this going to be a regular event from now on? If so, how do you plan on keeping it fresh?
TO: Who knows! We’re always trying to mix up what we do and come up with silly new ideas and concepts. Radio Mellowtron has lots of flexibility and room for more ideas and antics [laughs].
KR: We love this concept! It all depends on how the crowd reacts to our silly theatrics.
What’s coming up for Boho Baha in the near future?
TO: Oh man, that’s a question and a half. We’ve been getting ourselves organised and working on pulling off a few of our zanier ideas. There’s another Farmfest on the way and maybe a little treat for Halloween too.
KR: The journey has only begun! Just to fill you guys in – we recently brought on board a third ‘Chief Bohemian Officer’ Petey.
TO: Yeah, he completes us [laughs].
PY: [says nothing].
Radio Mellowtron is on September 5 from 9pm-3am. Tickets are BD5. Mezzaluna, Adliya (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Boho Baha’s ‘super fat mega awesome’ playlist
The Radio Mellowtron dudes give us a set list of songs to get us in the mood for the party.
Flying Lotus - Do the Astral Plane
Gentleman’s Dub Club - Fire
Parov Stelar - Booty Swing
Talib Kweli & DJ Hi-Tec - Love Speakeasy
Electric Swing Circus - The Penniless Optimist
Zimbabwe Legit - Back to the Mothership
Fela Kuti - Zombie
Honeyfeet - Quickball
Fats Waller - All my life
The Gaslamp Killer - Nissim (feat. Amir Yaghmai)
Hollie Cook and Prince Fatty - And the Beat Goes On
Caravan Palace - Dragons