Summer Music: In OB Band Boostive, childhood friends Master Dub-Hop

In a new installment of our KPBS 2021 summer musical series, meet the band from Ocean Beach Boostive, who have built on years of friendship to develop on-stage synergy and dub-hop success.

Issued: August 12, 2021 |

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We’re continuing our 2021 summer musical series with Boostive, a band based in the coastal community of Ocean Beach in San Diego.

A few things are clear after spending some time with Boostive. First, their sound balances countless musical styles and influences, and second, their years of friendship create synergy on stage.

The band have worked together for over a decade, making music, touring and mastering this distinct mix of styles. The core members have been friends since elementary school, but they have also built a great collective of collaborators and musicians.

“I would describe the Boostive sound as a mix of roots, reggae and dub, golden age, hip hop, down tempo, electronics and some jazz influences when it comes to the brass section, and our rhythm section is versed in African and Latin rhythms, so it’s a nice mix of everything that inspires us, ”said Seiji Komo, who is a producer and plays bass and guitar.

Many of the band met at school and explored music together, some studied classical music, and several even had family members who were in bands. Singer Divina Dub’s father was a musician when she was growing up.

“I was there all the time. They said I could sing before I could speak, supposedly,” she said. “So I was lucky to be around this.”

A “collective conscience”

A big part of Boostive’s experience as a band is how they seamlessly play together.

“There are so many different parts, and with a lot of groups that you see with our setup, they have a leader, a leader, and then everyone has their role. In Boostive, we all have our roles too, but this ‘it’s like each part of the band is the leader at different times, “said Malachi Johnson, percussionist and drummer for Boostive.” Few bands are powerful enough and confident enough to do that, or maybe don’t believe not in every limb as as as Boostive does. “

This translates into the songwriting process as well as on stage.

“We have a sensitivity about where the feel, the groove and the rhythm fall, or if we scramble, make something up, we have a kind of sixth sense, a collective consciousness that takes shape where the song is. develops, and we know where the next person is going to go at that exact moment, ”said keyboardist and saxophonist Nathan Kocivar.“ Once you start playing with other people outside of that, it’s like you were trying to go into that telepathic space, and it’s like, well, you haven’t read my mind because we’ve got so many years playing together. ”

A new label and leading collaborations

Boostive also has a lot to show for all of their hard work – they’ve worked with Matisyahu and even shot with dub icon Lee “Scratch” Perry. In addition, they recently signed to Stoopid Records, the label of the group Slightly Stoopid.

Growing up, Komo was inspired by artists like George Clinton and Earth, Wind and Fire, and was also influenced by much of the original music he heard sampled in modern hip hop tunes. As his friendship developed with Kocivar and guitarist and bassist Dylan Webber, they also listened to more relaxing music like Thievery Corporation, Bonobo and more.

“I think we were all echoed to this style of music,” Komo said. “And when we started making music, we were going into that kind of downtempo ethereal music.”

On “Deo Da Toe Stalemate,” they collaborated with Lindsay Olsen, also known as experimental musician and singer Salami Rose Joe Louis, as well as emcee Al Bundi.

And the group considers the tour with Perry to be one of the most surreal parts of their careers.

“I told him I loved him and appreciated everything he did for the music and for me,” Komo said. They were also able to chat with the new Music Director of Subatomic Sound during the tour, getting tips on mixing. “It was definitely life changing meeting these cats and learning their techniques, watching them and seeing how important music is, not just to listen to, but spiritually to Lee. And that’s something I did. think we all took away from this tour. “

Dub, defined

When asked how to define dub music, the group also brings up Perry and the use of a mixer as an actual instrument.

“I see dub music as an exploration of sound, and the origins come from Lee Scratch Perry and King Tubby, taking pre-recorded music, running it through a mixer and starting to use the mixer as an instrument, and exploring the possibilities of letting in and out a different instrument, which usually brings down the vocals and other elements of the rhythm section while keeping the drums and bass, “said Kocivar, the group’s keyboardist and saxophonist. “And then explore different effects, mainly delay, reverb, and fazer at the start to expand and develop an idea.”

Kocivar also compared it to meditation. “You find this space to think,” he said. He also highlighted the impact of dub on the history of music and the origins of electronic music and DJing.

VIDEO: “Runnin” by Boostive

For the track “Runnin”, they filmed the recent clip entirely in their OB hometown, with backdrops ranging from beach cliffs to graffiti alleyways to backyard parties.

“The boys all grew up here, so I think it portrays a lot of community vibe. Because the song is about believing in yourself and your own potential, and how you’re the only one who can take charge of that. You don’t. You have to be serious, you know. So doing it in a fun and overly joyful way is probably the best way to go about it, ”said Divina Dub.“ It feels very genuine to me. And I’ve always tried to keep that throughout my journey and my musical experience, as much authenticity as possible, as much as possible. “

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