Big Boy Bloater and The LiMiTs recently released their new album Luxury Hobo via Provogue/Mascot Label Group.
Luxury Hobo is genre defying with Big Boy Bloater himself often being typecast as a blues artist, but his latest offering traverses both blues, rock, soul with a multitude of influences thrown into the mix. Big Boy Bloater and The Limits will hit the road across the UK in May in support of his latest offering. National Rock Review recently took the opportunity to chat with Big Boy Bloater about his new album, the forthcoming tour and his show on Team Rock Radio.
NRR: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us here at National Rock Review, we really appreciate it.
BBB: No worries, yeah.
NRR: Obviously, you’ve just released your new album Luxury Hobo could you tell us a little bit about it and the concept behind the album?
BBB: OK, yeah I’m not sure if I actually really started off with a concept, but it definitely grew into something, it seems to be about modern life and modern society. There’s a lot of songs in there that are sort of observational I guess, you know talking about the YouTube generation and how stupid some people are (laughing). So I guess it’s about yes modern life and our day to day struggles, even though we’ve got so much stuff, you know everybody seems to still be not quite as happy as they used to be.
NRR: I read that the album sort of came about after you went through a bout of depression in 2013. Obviously, there are some darker songs in there when I was listening to it. Did you find songwriting therapeutic as part of that process?
BBB: I don’t know if I sort of sat down to do it as a sort of therapy thing, but I think just going through that process you know you have to get some things, some demons out there I think. So I think just by the very nature of songwriting, it is laying your soul on the line a little bit anyway, so I think that that’s good you know, getting stuff out and talking about it is probably one of the most therapeutic things you can do I guess.
NRR: There is one song in particular that I would like to speak about, which is “It Came Out of The Swamp” which I really like, I love the slide guitar on it, it’s a great song and the video is really fun as well, obviously with the lego men and everything. Could you tell us a little bit about that song and the influence behind it?
BBB: I remember writing that song and I was actually walking to the train station one day. It just came into my head; you know that line “it came out of the swamp and went into town” and the rest of the song it just kind of you know fill in the blanks yourself pretty much. It’s just one of those stories about the villagers with pitch forks and torches you know.
The video thing that was kind of a therapy thing actually, as when I had that bout of depression one of the things that got me out of it was doing stop-motion animation with Lego. I found that was like you know, I could lock myself away a little bit, just do that and not worry about anything else. It was quite time-consuming, and it takes up a lot of your brain, so there’s not much room left for thinking about anything else, so I started getting into that. So when I wrote the song it came out of the swamp, it just seemed like an ideal marriage you know, and I found a Lego swamp monster as well, so it was like this has got to be done, this has got to be done (laughing).
NRR: What’s your personal favourite track on the album and why?
BBB: It changes like daily, at least daily, possibly hourly. But I think at the moment it’s either between “Luxury Hobo,” which is a very personal song for me, it’s probably the most autobiographical song on the album, and my other favourite is “Robot Girlfriend” because I just love the groove on it, and I think the story is a very good story (laughing).
NRR: You get pigeon-holed into the blues genre quite often, and I know that you don’t always agree with that. If you could choose a few words, how would you actually categorise your music or do you prefer not to fit into one particular camp?
BBB: I’ve found it quite interesting putting this album out actually. Not trying to say too much about what it was, because people seem to have their own idea. I mean a lot of people will say it’s blues, and definitely, there is some blues in there for sure. There are a lot of other things in there, and people have picked up on that. They’ve said it’s like seventies rock, or they’ve said it’s all sorts of different things. I think to different people if they get a chance to sit down and listen to it without being told what it is they can make up their own mind and hear what they hear and hear what they enjoy, and relate to it in their own way. That’s why I don’t really want to be categorised in that blues thing because I think it can be so much wider in scope really you know, so many more people can listen to it.
If you say it’s a blues album a lot of people will go oh I don’t like blues, and they won’t even listen to it you know, and actually they would probably like it, they would probably hear something on there and they would think, oh yeah it’s a bit of what I like, it’s a bit of rock or something or other. Yeah, so getting pigeon-holed that is one of those things, it’s great for labels and people to be able to put a handle on it and sell it and say oh it’s a blues album, but I think getting the album to people and letting them make up their own minds is a much healthier and more rewarding thing.
NRR: Obviously you are about to hit the road in May in support of your album, you must be excited about that?
BBB: Definitely, I mean I love playing live so I’m really looking forward to that, yeah. It’s always a good time on the road.
NRR: It’s also a full band tour this time too right?
BBB: Yeah, that’s right it is indeed.
NRR: For those who have not seen you before what can they expect from one of your shows?
BBB: Again, you see I think a lot of people would think oh Big Boy Bloater’s a blues thing, it’s going to be a lot of you know gazing at your shoes, and oh my life’s so hard, but actually, I think it’s a bit more up beat than that you know it’s quite a fast paced show, we don’t really let up at all. We just get on stage and get everybody going, I mean that’s you know the more the audience gets going, the more we get going and vice versa, by the end of it, it’s like a frenzy.
NRR: You’ve also got your Blues Magazine show going on with Team Rock radio. How are things going with the show?
BBB: Yeah, I mean that’s great. That was a really lovely thing to be asked to do, and it’s been really good because I’ve learnt so much about music through it. You know I always had music that I listen to, you know different genres that I kind of lent more towards, but doing that I have had to listen to a lot of other stuff and realized that actually I really like that as well. So it’s been an eye-opening experience and yeah I’m really enjoying it.
NRR: Obviously you conduct a lot of interviews yourself. How does it feel to sit on the other side of the fence for once?
BBB: (laughing) Yeah, it’s quite interesting. Yeah being on both sides, I should probably write a book about it one day or something maybe, no that would probably be a very short book. I guess having been interviewed myself before was quite good because I knew you do good interviews, you do bad interviews and you sort of get a feel for what works. Yeah, I hope I’ve done some good interviews, I’ve certainly enjoyed it, and it’s been great to meet the people I’ve met so far as well actually yeah.
NRR: Who’s your favourite person that you’ve interviewed yourself?
BBB: My favourite person, I don’t know if I can do favouritism here, you know it’s like picking a favourite son or something (laughing). I guess some of the bigger ones I’ve done are like Robert Cray, Beth Hart, Vintage Trouble you know, and I’ve been lucky as all of those have done a live session for me at the same time. I mean that’s really cool having those guys in and you know they played as well in a little sort of acoustic session, so that was really good.
NRR: Having your own radio show and you are playing a lot of different music every weekend. What’s the one essential record in your collection that you couldn’t live without?
BBB: Oh the one essential, that’s always tough, but I think a song that I always come back to time and time and time again and it is a blues song (laughing) I make no bones about that, but I think a song that I always come back to is “Smoke Stack Lightning” by Howlin’ Wolf. I think that’s just a marvelous song, his voice on that is just awesome I don’t know how he did it, fantastic.
NRR: If you could chose any one artist to cover one of your songs which song and artist would you choose?
BBB: Oh that’s a good question. Do you know what I’ve said this before about the new album “Luxury Hobo” there’s one song on there I was really proud of, and I really like, but I think it could be sung better by someone, by someone else, and that song is “All Things Considered.” I think someone with a much better voice could do a better job maybe, but who would I pick? That’s a tough one, I don’t know, whoever is going to sell the most copies and make money actually. So yeah, Justin Bieber …you know …yeah (laughing) maybe I take that back.
NRR: Obviously I have heard you perform cover songs of some quite vintage blues artists live. I was just wondering you are very much into that vintage blues era, do you listen to many contemporary blues artists?
BBB: Since doing the Team Rock radio show, yeah a lot more. I get exposed to a lot more now definitely, and that’s been great, but my feet was always a bit more of the old stuff really, but it’s been great hearing new guys coming up and playing now and hearing what they are doing and seeing how it’s changing a little bit with moving on.
NRR: What else do you have in store for the rest of this year?
BBB: For the rest of this year, well a bit of touring and then I’ve got to start thinking about writing some more songs really. So yeah it’s April already (laughing) it’s going to be Christmas before we know it. I’ll end up writing the next album in two weeks because I’ve left it like a naughty school kid till Sunday night you know (laughing).
NRR: That stuff is always the best though isn’t it when you leave it till the last minute.
BBB: I find sometimes under pressure to a deadline does tend to focus you a little bit yeah.
NRR: That’s great thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us we really appreciate it.