Trendy Bomfunk MC's
on the way to fame
Finland has never been a big shaker and mover on the pop music scene, at least on the international scale of things. Most Finnish musicians have always preferred to sing in their mother tongue, which has meant carving out a career in their own country only. Almost all of the few brave souls who have had a go at an international career have returned home with their tails between their legs - mostly because their music has proved too colourless and unfashionable to make it into the international charts.
One exception to that bleak rule is Bomfunk MC's, a sensation on the Finnish pop scene in 1999. In all probability, it has become an international success because that was its self-evident goal from the moment it came into being.
Bomfunk MC's was formed by the Helsinki rap artist/MC B.O.W. (born Raymond Ebanks) and the Turku DJ Gismo (Ismo Lappalainen) in early 1998. The third co-founder was the Turku DJ JS 16 (Jaakko Salovaara), who has remained behind the scenes in the role of producer.
What the trio had in common was that they had grown up under the influence of international club rhythms and Afro-American hip hop culture. Another feature they shared was that, despite their young age, they had all been full-time musicians for years. B.O.W. had also been a TV presenter, while JS 16 had even been a cellist with the Turku Philharmonic.
Thus it is no surprise that the first Bomfunk MC's album In Stereo is a combination of authentic hip hop and unashamedly catchy dance beats. The group itself define their music as "electro house".
The album headed the Finnish hit list for two months and nearly 60,000 copies have been sold to date. Bomfunk MC's has also established itself as a popular concert spectacle thanks to its impressive break dance show and especially B.O.W's charisma.
Their international career looks equally promising. In Stereo has been released in most European countries and especially the track Uprocking Beats has prompted a lot of attention. Its success has not been confined to the Nordic countries and Germany; it has also done well in, for example, the Australian club charts.
"We knew at once that Uprocking Beats was a song with a chance of making it on the international scene," says B.O.W.
"On the other hand, we have all been in this business long enough to be realistic. A lot also depends on sheer luck."