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Birdie Joined: 14th December 2010
Last seen: 14th December 2010

The Bombay Royale

Ahhh, modern technology - where would we be without it? The Bombay Royale might not even exist, and gathering the 11 band members in one spot would have been near-impossible without the internet and mobile phones. Band leader Andy Williamson elaborates.

"Logistically, it would have been a nightmare," he laughs. "If it wasn't for YouTube and file sharing and whatever, it would be pretty hard to make a project like this happen. It probably wouldn't have got to this point if it wasn't for the internet and being able to do research."


As Melbourne's only band dedicated to the music of vintage Indian cinema - fused with western psychedelic influences and '70s funk - The Bombay Royale sprung from Williamson's head some years ago. Blame Bollywood films, he claims.
"Just watching those movies and their fantastic scores and crazy, surreal, random scenes and the odd dialogue… all of a sudden it just hits some random music number off the hook but you can tell it took them months to work on the choreography. The films were all about the productions in-between the dialogue - sometimes the acting was secondary to the music. All of that really captured me because as a musician I was always listening out for new stuff, trying to explore different pockets of music. 10 years ago it would have been pretty hard to research what I was looking for from Melbourne. Now you've got YouTube and file sharing, so it's not hard to make a band like this happen."


With musical backgrounds including Blue King Brown and The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, Williamson says that his 11-piece collective draws an eclectic crowd to their shows - from Indian natives to lovers of '70s funk.


"It's a mixture of people interested in groove-based stuff to some Indian crew as well. We've got a residency starting at Bar Open which we're really looking forward to because we'll get to play to the local crowd in preparation to making an album. I love the intensity of the club atmosphere. We've played festivals like Port Fairy Folk Festival and St Kilda Festival, but that's way more spaced out and not as intimate."


Recently, Williamson adds that The Bombay Royale made a guest appearance on Australia's favourite music trivia show, RocKwiz, ("You can still sense the ghost of Molly Meldrum at the ABC studios," he laughs) but it's their next international jaunt that's getting the band leader excited the most.


"We just came from playing overseas, off the coast of Madagascar and it looks like we're heading off to South Africa and Hungary as well next year. We got one of our tracks used on a soundtrack for a South African heist thriller, which was interesting. It's not all about India for us, we're trying to add western stuff too - the appeal of it is the anarchy aspect and the fun of it. You don't have to come from India to get it."



The Bombay Royale kicked off their Bar Open August residency last Friday and are back on stage to kick off the weekend again from 10pm this week. Free entry.