The Baggsmen: Run And Hive.

23 September 2002 | 12:00 am | Craig New
Originally Appeared In

Close Call.

The Baggsmen play The Moonbar on Friday.

Sydney jive/funk/dub/dancehall/drum&bass group the Baggsmen are really a bugger to classify, as you can see from my attempt to describe them. They blend dub and reggae with hip hop and drum and bass in an acoustic mode to produce high quality original dancefloor material. A new single remixing the Cure’s Close to Me has thrown them firmly in international lime-light and they even got permission from the man Robert Smith himself to do so! They’ve recently had to change their name from the Hive to the Baggsman, and it’s all Sweden’s fault as bassist Tony Buchen explained last week.

“Well basically it’s the same band, obviously, we’re just under a different name now. So we’re not re-launching the band, but just changing the name. It’s all because we really want to get into Europe, and the band from Sweden - The Hives - are massive over there so we’ve had to change our name to avoid confusion in that market. It’s be like a band coming to Australia and calling themselves Powderfingers. Australia’s our home country and it’s great, but there is a certain point you can reach in Australia, and we’re wanting to take our music beyond that, so we’ve had to push out to Europe.”

“At the end of the day it makes it all a bit more viable when your dealing with a market that size, there is always going to be people that are well into your shit. And it’d be great to be able to tour over there, and play with the big European artists, it’d be wild. We just got an agent in Frankfurt, and they are awesome. They represent some awesome acts like Mo’Horizons, Public Enemy, Mark B and Blade, DJ Krush and all these other amazing artists. They’re going to book a tour as soon as the release is out in Europe, so early next year we’ll be over there.”

“The new EP is out now in Australia, it’s going really well. Vinyl is coming soon, we’ve got this wicked mix by Poxy Music, which is Ken Cloud and Pocket together, and that’s got to come out on vinyl, it’s absolutely huge. In general the new material is more akin to dub and reggae and it’s relationship to hiphop. Lots of Jamaican influence to it. We use a lot of dancehall and dub rhythms but bring them up to speed with our penchance for drum and bass speed songs. That’s were we are going musically, and you’ll probably get a totally different answer from the other members of the band. Which is a good thing.”

So tell us about Robert Smith and the Cure cover, Close To Me. What’s going on?

“We all knew the tune for so long, and liked it. I don’t really know any one that doesn’t like it really, it’s pretty special. Lachlan the drummer was going thru his old 80’s tapes and listened to it again, and it occurred to him that it was a drum and bass speed track. So he just brought it in for a practice and we nutted it out. We’ve got a huge orchestral dub section, so we’ve fucked with it a bit, as there is no point doing a straight cover. So we need clearance to release the tune, it’s that altered. Over it goes to Robert Smiths publicist in the UK, who let us know that ‘He doesn’t like rap, I don’t like your chances’. But in the end he loved it and gave us permission, so there it is, out there and rocking it. We’re all pretty stoked about it really.”