Bonjay Brought Up Right
Published Oct 24, 2010They haven't released an album nor is one on the immediate horizon, but Toronto band Bonjay have already made a statement in the city's indie scene. Bonjay's mix of dancehall rhythms, Caribbean vocal cadences and dissonant electronics has assembled an inclusive tribe of independent thinkers. The crowd at the release party for their new mini album Broughtupsy (Trinidadian slang for "Good Manners") was thoroughly mixed: men, women, gay, straight, and all shades of skin tones.
Vocalist Alanna contemplates the group's wide appeal in Toronto: "If we used dancehall as a lyrical influence then the range of subject matter is not very broad. It's more about how we tell our story that has an indie sensibility. We feel like we are floating in an abyss of genres and anybody can latch on to what they want."
Broughtupsy features a more introverted fusion than most nu-tropical blends. Pho Swain's intricate beats and synth sounds amp up the tension while meshing tightly with Alanna's gospel trained but Feist-influenced vocals. Following last year's breakout single, the insanely catchy and bulldozing "Gimmee Gimmee," Pho says "we're moving more in the direction of songs," explaining the increased sense of nuance on the new release. "It's only when the remixes come out that it's more straight-up danceable."
Bonjay's greatest kinship with dance music may be their non-album orientation; they've put their music out in small doses so far. After a Canadian tour in November, crafting a debut album will become a greater priority. "When the album does get made," says Pho, "I hope we have the opportunity to take the time to make something we can genuinely stand behind. We just finished this record a couple of weeks ago and I already have no idea how we did it."