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1 Apr

INTERVIEW: Kool Out Speaks With BadBadNotGood

If by know you still are not in the know then your are seroiusly living under a rock.

Your favourite Kool events company (thats Kool Out) have managed to bring down one of the most exciting bands of this era.

BadBadNotGood are a Canadian music group from Toronto, Ontario. The group which consists of Matthew Tavares (keys), Chester Hansen (bass) and Alexander Sowinski (drums) with Leland Whitty (saxophone) joining the band in January this year. They are known for their interpretations of hip hop tracks and their collaborations with acts like Tyler, The Creator; Earl Sweatshirt; Danny Brown; Frank Ocean; and Ghostface Killah have gained them world wide acclaim.

Kool Out sat down with the trio to find out more about the band, their music, the industry & what the future holds for BadBadNotGood.


1. Good to have you guys, it’s not everyday you get three Canadian teens just jamming and fusing Jazz with Hip Hop. How did the whole concept come about?

Actually as of this year there’s officially four of us! But originally the three of us got together at jazz school, and had a jam session shortly after we all met. After playing some jazz standards we decided to try goofing around with some rap songs we loved, and we’ve been goofing around ever since!

2. Your covers of Hip Hop tracks can be anything from Gucci Mane to MF DOOM, why do you choose to cover such a broad range artist within the genre as opposed to say maybe just doing mainstream artists?

All types of artists appeal to us, as long as we can find something to latch onto and jam on it really doesn’t matter who it is! We’ve learned so much from covering artists like DOOM and Gucci Mane, plus a whole bunch of others, and apply all that knowledge when we write our own original music.

3. A lot of us found out about you guys through the your works with Odd Future, most notably Tyler, The Creator. How is the relationship between you guys and Tyler like now?

It’s cool!! Honestly he’s so busy and so are we that we may only see him once a year at a show or festival. Every time we do meet we get to catch up about music each of us is working on, and put each other on to old and new music to listen to!! 

4. Another project that really put you guys on a whole different plateau is ‘Sour Soul’, a collaboration with the legendary Ghostface Killah, how did the collaboration come about and what’s the story behind the title ‘Sour Soul’?

That album came together via our close friend and colleague Frank Dukes, who is an amazing producer and beatmaker. 4 years ago, pretty soon after we first met he asked us if we’d like to record some soulful instrumentals with the hope of getting Ghostface to feature on them. He had a relationship with Ghost through some past collaborations, and over a 3-year back and forth process and many recording sessions it was all done! The title is from one of Ghost’s lines, and it kind of represents all he’s been through in his life, and the soul he has within him that comes out in his music and stories!

BADBADNOTGOOD pose for a portrait at the Red Bull Studio in Los Angeles,CA on December 12, 2012 // Carlo Cruz/Red Bull Content Pool // P-20121211-00137 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //

5. Do you guys follow or know of any South African music?

We have heard some great artists out of South Africa, but one of our goals while we’re there is to do some serious digging for records and learn a lot more about the musical history!

6. You will be in South Africa for the Jazz Fest in Cape Town and the in Johannesburg, what will be your approach to both these shows with slightly different markets?

Well with any show we try to do our absolute best to output as much energy as possible, and truly engage the audience in the fun we have doing what we love which is playing music! We’re so excited to come to South Africa and share our music, and we hope everyone has a great time at the shows!!

7. You guys do a lot of improvisation while on stage, what’s the inspiration and aim of improvising so much?

To us, improvisation is the core of jazz. What we play isn’t really jazz a lot of the time, but we try and have that approach to everything we play, no matter what the song sounds like. Improvisation brings life to the music, makes it more exciting for us and hopefully the audience too! 


8. Looking beyond the two shows in South Africa this April, what can we expect from BBNG in the nearer future.

We have just finished up our next album after over a year of working on it, and that will hopefully be released later this year. Other than that, we have a bunch of exciting shows coming up throughout the summer, and hopefully some great collaborations with our friends and artists we’re meeting along the way!!!

*Interview Written By: Mokgethwa Machaka 

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