Basement's Spotlight has found its seventh underground artist to bring to you; introducing Bootleg Rascal.
All it took was meeting each other and reminiscing on their mischievous childhood tales to encourage four guys to continue the mischief in their pursuit to make music. With a shared love for tacos, it’s not hard to see they don’t take life too seriously. Formed in mid-2013, Bootleg Rascal consists of Carlos (Q-Dome) Lara, Jimmy Young, Jack Gray and Scottie Grills. Coming from Sydney and the Gold Coast, their music has an influence of Australian beach sound but with their own dubby hip-hop-esque flair in the mix.
Their music falls under a smattering of genres, with elements of alternative rock, hip-hop and reggae-fusion coming together to create a unique wall of sound. Influential artists for the group include Gorillaz, The Police, David Bowie and J Dilla. Since their inception, they’ve labelled themselves as “ghetto dubsters” for their blending of hip-hop beats with accompanying alternative rock instrumentation. The vocals are an enchanting smooth yet raspy tone that is ideal for getting stuck in your mind long after the song is gone.
Fellow Australian act Sticky Fingers is like a brother band, regularly having the Bootleg boys accompany them on tours overseas. This friendship between the bands encourages some minor influences between the two groups and results in two awesome related acts for one show.
In an interview with Scenestr about touring life, Carlos spoke about the band’s relationship with Sticky Fingers saying
“…we have toured with the Sticky lads plenty of times before so I guess you could say there is a strong bond between both bands. If anything, when we are together it's like best mates who haven’t seen each other in ages, and we probably get a bit too excited, then a week goes by and we're ready to kill each other.”
2014 saw the release of their first EP, “Psychotica” which held six songs. The prevailing feeling throughout the EP is laid back with the use of acoustic guitar but is kept upbeat with reggae tempo and rhythm of vocals. The track “overflow” features Lyall Moloney singing for a verse, a fellow Aussie artist under the same record label – Sureshaker.
Flash forward to January 2016, the band had just released their debut album “Asleep in the Machine.” Produced by LYMO and Ian Pritchett, in what singer Carlos called a “little shack” where things got hectic in the recording period. In comparison to the previous EP, this album is much more upbeat and loud. The opening track “Head in the Clouds” features prominent horns and buzzy vocals that hit your ear in all the right places. This sets the tone for much of the album, layering the catchy upbeat tunes they’re known for between some toned-down tunes, making the listening experience flexible for just chilling out or getting up and having a jig. The title track is one of the album’s hits and starts out slow with lingering bass and reserved vocals. When the chorus come up, the drums kick in heavier with keyboard and synth not far behind, rising the mood significantly in comparison. The switch between the two moods is a good example of how they control their blend of sounds within a song.
You many have even heard “Asleep in the Machine” here on Basement, it’s one of the many Bootleg Rascal songs we have on our station mix.
As far as progress for their second album goes, they began working on it in late 2016-early 2017 with producer Ian Pritchett, but this was stunted by Bassist Scottie Grills deciding to leave the group to work on some solo projects. In the meanwhile, the group played at a couple festivals before getting back to the studio to proceed with the album. So far, the only insight we have is the track “Love Her Like I Love You” released back in November 2016. When interviewed by Lunch Box, Carlos had said they were hoping for an October release, but as we approach the halfway mark for 2018 with no new album, here’s hoping it drops soon. The delay in release could be due to the band taking more time to write and record a product they’re most satisfied with, in the same interview with Lunch box, Carlos had more to say about the process.
“This second album feels like an extension of what we are as a band. I feel like we’re now better at creating the sounds we want and better at song writing and piecing things together. It helps you build up a solid base, so I feel like we’ve built on it from the first album. If you liked previous Bootleg stuff, then I don’t think we’ve strayed too far from our roots. We’ve delved a little bit more into synths and the electronic genre, but we still incorporate lots of real guitar and bass and things on top of that. I think we know what we’re aiming for now which helps things flow a bit better.”
Ever since their inception, the band has dedicated plenty of time to touring. After released their first EP, they toured up and down the East Coast of Australia with a highlight of playing at the Woodford Folk Festival in 2013/2014. As mentioned before, they’ve accompanied Sticky Fingers on a handful of tours, mostly to Europe and America over several years. They then set off on their own tour to Europe for two months in 2016, taking on New Zealand last year selling out every venue they visited. Following this success, their tour in Australia sold out and this continued in the UK filling venues in both Amsterdam and Leeds. Lately, they’ve just completed an Australian tour in May.
You don’t want to miss out on any of their updates on that second album and can keep up with what they’re up to through their website below.