An interview with the Kabooms
by Olivier Mey
The best promotion and advertising that any band can have is the exposure given by their live shows. For this reason, there are some bands that even having barely released just an album, it may look like they have been touring for years on festivals. The Kabooms (Matt Olivera – voice and rhythm guitar, El Lega – lead guitar, Xavi Ruiz – upright bass and Berto Martínez – drums) is a band that could fit in this category.
Today we speak to Matt Olivera (singer, rhythm guitar) about the release of his second album “Right Track, wrong way”.
Like any second record, it is the first one in a band’s career to cause some expectations. Are these being fulfilled so far?
Matt Olivera / the Kabooms – This second album is a change in our sound as a band which I think is what we needed. I am convinced that this new work will please both the audience that is already following us and also anyone who didn’t know the band yet.
It’s been four years since the release of your first LP (Beginn ‘on My Knees RBR5807). Did you miss recording new songs?
Matt Olivera / the Kabooms – During all this time we have been working hard in the Kathrina Records studio to release new material with other bands of which we take part of, such as “Matt and the Peabody ducks”, “Legacaster”, etc … so we’ve never stopped working.
Continuing with the first LP, all of the 14 songs were own compositions. Will there be any cover in your second album?
Matt Olivera / the Kabooms – Yes, this time we ventured into some versions that we have already been playing in our live shows and they work very well amongst our public.
You have changed label for the recording of “Right Track, Wrong way” (produced by Kathrina records). Is it for artistic reasons (members of the Kabooms have other projects in this label) or geographical reasons (both, the group and the label, are from Barcelona)?
Matt Olivera / the Kabooms – Yes, exactly. We were very happy with our previous label, but the work we’ve done in Kathrina is a team collaboration, very close geographically and personally. It made sense to put together all the projects in one place. Besides, Kathrina works now in partnership with Sleazy Records on the edition and the distribution, meaning that the potential of both of them together adds so much value that we had no doubt of being in better hands than theirs.
Since its conception, the Kabooms has been a quartet, although with changes of musicians. Should we expect some collaborations in this new work or is the base going to remain the same?
Matt Olivera / the Kabooms – The base is the same and hopefully the current formation is the final, and this is a personal wish because I am very happy with my current bandmates. I think they are the perfect team to form the band. For some live shows we have added a saxophone to some already known songs and versions. The musician is Spencer Evoy (MFC Chicken and the Torontos) which gives extra quality to the show and in the future we have some studio surprises, but I don’t want to spoil any event. Everything will come at the right time.
One of your great qualities and best asset is your live performance, amongst other things; your energy and your complicity with Lega (lead guitar). Does the fact of sharing several projects in common help on this?
Matt Olivera / the Kabooms – Lega and I are almost Siamese. Sometimes we joke (we always joke with everything in fact) that we see each other more than our own families. During a trip to the USA we ended up lifting weights together in the patio of our host, who had a makeshift gym and we said that it was what we needed to be cellmates. I think that the fact that we know each other so much and we have this friendly relationship, marks a pleasant working environment. We have a great time playing, traveling and composing together and I think these things are transferred to our shows and to the public as well.
Regarding the projects with Lega, we find “Walk the Line (Johnny Cash tribute)”. Is Johnny Cash a reference for you?
Matt Olivera / the Kabooms – Yes, I think that as a composer and lyricist, Johnny Cash is one of the most important figures in the 20th century. One of the factors that we took into account when we formed the Cash tribute band was to do it with the utmost respect and solemnity possible, because we are all admirers of the his music and legacy.
You’ve played in many concerts and festivals since the formation of The Kabooms. Have you noticed an evolution of the scene or the public over the years?
Matt Olivera / the Kabooms – Well, we are obviously not getting any younger. At a worldwide level, I have seen young people approaching the 50’s scene and feel wrapped and comfortable in it, listening to the music they like, knowing and participating in the scene until becoming a vital part of it. That’s great. But in Spain, this is not happening. There doesn’t seem to be a generational relay and although we have a large scene, there are no new people that can maintain it in the future. This worries me because I believe that this music and this lifestyle has a lot to offer and I am sure that many people who don’t know this exists, would enjoy our bands and festivals a lot, but if feels like young people don’t want to leave the flock.
A special concert?
Matt Olivera / the Kabooms – Several actually. During the last Rockin Race Jamboree (2019) for example, we played some songs from the new album with two electric guitars (it had been years since the last time I played an electric in a concert) and saxophone. We saw that the new sound worked very well within the public and it was amazing! One concert which I keep special memories of it is from a festival in Calafell called Riverside car show. It was in 2015 and that same week I had lost a very close loved one and had one of the worst weeks in my life… Before playing that weekend I took a deep breath and said to myself “this is going for you”. We performed a great concert (at least for me) and it became a liberating experience. Sometimes you notice an energy that flows between the band and the audience. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s an incomparable feeling.
One last Word?
Matt Olivera / the Kabooms – Just one?
I hope that people like our new album “Right track, Wrong way” as much as we enjoyed recording it and that they don’t miss our live shows. I can guarantee that we always put 100% in each of them, they will have a good time, and they’ll be able to get a copy of our last record home!