TNT EXCLUSIVE | May 8, 2018
By Rachel Syiemlieh
For the members of Booma Trio, a musical trio primarily based in Shillong, the idea of playing together was initially not taken seriously. After having first played together at a flood relief concert, Booma H S Lalruatliana, Lalchhandama Bawitlung and Sunny Manbha continued meeting on music forums across the region until finally deciding that the trio had the potential of being something more. It’s now the month of May and the trio already has VH1 releases on the cards and is just a few weeks away from their international tour to Finland and Denmark. The trio sits down to chat with The Northeast Today to discuss their music, the tour, their Vh1 song release and how the city’s youth should get out of their homes and experience live shows more often.
TNT: Tell us about your a-ha moment: the origin of the trio. When was it formed?
BT: We started off as friends playing for a flood relief concert in aid of all the victims of the floods in Mizoram. The show was in U Soso Tham Auditorium. Initially, there were no plans of taking it as seriously as we do now, but after playing so many shows together, we decided that maybe it was time to make something of this. Then Booma Trio was born.
TNT: How did you guys decide on the name, ‘Booma Trio’?
BT: We initially went by the name Booma and his team for the first few shows we played in Shillong. At that time, we had more members in the band, but while we were on tour in Bhutan, only three of us went and it was there that we decided to continue as a trio. Hence, the name ‘Booma Trio’.
TNT: How long have you guys known each other? How did you meet?
BT: Sunny and I have known Booma since his initial days in Boomarang. They were a huge influence to the both of us since the mid 2000’s. However, when Booma came down to Shillong to teach at the Centre of Excellence in Indian and Western Music, fate brought us together as colleagues in the summer of 2017.
TNT: Describe your approach to the music-making process. What are your rehearsals generally like?
BT: Everything we do is jam based. Even on stage it’s the same thing. We just go with the flow. The music making process is a team effort, we just play and see where that takes us.
TNT: Tell us about your instruments. How subjected are you guys to brand loyalty? What made you choose the instruments currently use?
BT: Booma is currently using a custom made Eddie Van Halen Model guitar made by a French Luthier that’s his #1. Previously, he was endorsed by Paul Reed Smith and was using and S2 SingleCut. Lalchhan uses a Squier Vintage modified Jazz bass. He’s a Fender Fanatic. Every single guitar and bass he owns is by Fender. Sunny is currently using a plethora of different Cymbals but is planning to get a full Zildjian set.
TNT: What genre would you say defines the trio? What are your influences?
BT: Really long guitar solos. We jam out a lot on stage. The duration of each song is tentative in a sense that according to the feel and energy of the stage that night, we can extend a song to upwards of 7 minutes. You just never know, it’s a very organic feeling that you have to experience in the show to truly appreciate and understand.
TNT: How has your music evolved since you first started playing together?
BT: Well, it’s a never ending process really. Initially, we’d play more chilled out and mellow numbers but as we progressed, our set is now divided into two sections- One where we play the mellow songs and instrumentals and the second half of the show where we let loose and play a heavier, more aggressive set of songs.
TNT: What has been your biggest challenge as a trio in the local music scene?
BT: The challenge has to be getting a younger crowd to come for the shows. Our audience as of now comprises of people 25 and up. With much of the youth caught up in electronic Music, the appeal of Rock and Roll is not too big.
TNT: We know Booma Trio has played a good number of gigs in and out of town. Which would you guys say is your most memorable set so far?
BT: Definitely the show we played at Thimpu University. That night was just electric. There was so much energy and positive vibes from the audience, it was mad! They enjoyed it so much so that they gave us another show that very night at Mojo Park, a local pub there. And believe you me, the turn up was unreal and the people of Bhutan really know how to rock.
TNT: We hear there’s a VH1 release on the cards. Mind telling us about it?
BT: Yes, Booma has been in touch with the guys at Vh1 for quite sometime, and when we went down to Bombay in March of this year, we had talks with a few producers there who were more than willing to work with us. We’re planning on releasing 5 songs, the details to which we can reveal only after everything is finalised.
TNT: How can we get to your music? Do you have any social media account or do you rely on live shows alone?
BT: We don’t have an account for the band, but you can follow us on our personal accounts on IG @boomboom_hangsing @happiness_is_swag and @Sunnymanbha
TNT: What’s next for the trio? Any other projects or upcoming gigs we should know about?
BT: The next tours in our schedule are foreign trips. Finland and Denmark in the month of June and we’re going back to Bhutan in August. As for local gigs, we’ll soon be playing The Evening Club the dates for which we’ll announce on our Social Media accounts.
Thank you for giving us your time. Good luck on the tour and the release. We hope to see Booma Trio at more gigs soon.