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Rhibosome: Ear We Go!

20 May 2002 | 12:00 am | Alison Black
Originally Appeared In

'Some Mothers Do Have 'Em

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Rhibosome play The Zoo on Wednesday, the Sands Tavern, Maroochydore on Thursday, the Arena on Friday, the Troccadero, Surfers Paradise on Saturday and the Great Northern Hotel in Byron Bay on Sunday.


The Resin Dogs’ Hydrofunk label has a knack for digging up some of the finest vinyl this country, or even the world, has to offer. Fremantle natives Rhibosome are no exception. Serving up a tasty mix of funky backbeat and jazz styled latin grooves, the Rhibosome sound is a percussive musical monster. As well as pushing their own material, the five piece collective also manage to find time to spin tunes as the Big Ear DJ crew as well as cutting up tracks for acts as diverse, or even unlikely, as Jebediah, indigenous artist Richard Walley and the African Music Congress. Having twisted the Brisbane ear at last year’s Livid Festival, the band are back in town for the launch of their self titled debut, and a swag of gigs with the Doggies.

How do a bunch of guys from Fremantle get hooked up with a label based on the other side of the country?

“It’s interesting, isn’t it,” Clayton muses. “We released a 12 inch, Impulse, on Offworld Sounds, and those guys heard out 12, liked it, and asked us to come and do a tour with them. It was a year ago or something now. We all had a great time, we’re all really into funk and soul and jazz and that’s the real basis of the music we’re all writing. What we do is a bit different from the Resin Dogs, we’re coming from a similar space. We sent them an album, and they asked if they could release it. It’s all been good.”

“The album’s been finished for almost a year, so it’s seeming a bit old to us, but we’ve all gotten inspired again listening too it again. We’re still playing it live, but it was written a long time ago now.”

While Rhibosome is a relatively new outlet for all concerned, various members of the act have been working together on different projects since the late 1980s, and their familiarity with each other’s styles and interests comes through in their collective sound.

“It sounds like a long time if you look at it like that,” he laughs. “Dave and I worked in a street performance group together before Rhibosome. It was a real percussion based theatre group. Then we started the Rhibosome thing because we got asked to do a soundtrack for a circus performance thing called Glitch, which was like the inside story of a fighting video game, like Mortal Combat, but what thy do outside of fighting, you know, like hanging out. We did all the fight sounds. It all worked so well we decided to do a gig and it just kept going.”

“We’re all drummers, but we’re all into songs, which comes from all loving soul and funk. We’re not so much into just a track as the idea of a song with a vocal and a chorus or whatever. But if we can get a drum solo in somewhere we’ll be there.”

And live how does the band work?

“There’s really four sections to the band on stage. There’s a lot of percussion with a hybrid acoustic/electric drum kit that we use to trigger loops as well as normal drum sounds. There’s a desk with a sampler and keyboards, and they can control all the instruments on stage. We’re really into dubby things, so there’s crazy delays going on, that all goes to the floor, and our front of house guy can play around again, and filter it. It’s pretty crazy. We just look at each other and laugh at what comes out.”

Don’t bother going looking for sequencing or DAT tapes in the background.

“It’s all done with live triggering and loops. We use things on a sampler as individual loops on a keyboard and on the drum kit and we use a click track. The songs are different every time we play them. They’re a lot more structured on the album, but when we play we can jam out a lot, more effects, more percussion. We can go anywhere, stop a song early, go to a break. It would just be a bit boring not to. There’s a lot of gear on stage, but to perform live that what we really need to do. The more live it gets, the more equipment you need.”

Do you still look for new gear when you’re on the road?

“We do, especially percussion. We’d love to get into more percussion but we can’t at the moment. My van isn’t big enough,” he laughs. “We want more Brazilian percussion instruments, but we probably have enough at the moment.”