After our music video of “Rather Be” dropped last week we got lots of comments about the use of boomwackers in the video. I won’t lie; the use of boomwackers was a pleasant accident. We didn’t have an bass bells at home and needed to use something to lay down a bass track. I had been carrying around a set of boomwackers with me for several years without any clear idea on what to use them for. So we tried playing the bass line with them, and the sound was exactly what we were looking for.
Now the next logical question is why I own a set of boomwackers…
It was the end of my college career, and I suddenly became obsessed with boomwackers (I tend to bounce from obsession to obsession as you can probably tell by reading this blog). This video of a percussion quintet piece written specifically for boomwackers specifically caught my attention. In it boomwackers are used not as toys but as serious musical instruments. It really got me thinking about other ways boomwackers could be used in serious music.
For a while I tried to play marimba music on boomwackers thinking that it would possibly work, but I could never get the sound I was looking for. The boomwackers would always end up back in a box on the shelf.
I ran across this group called Plastic Musik in my research of boomwackers that floored me. Here was basically a percussion drum line that figured out how to combine the energy of drum line with the tonal ability of the boomwackers to produce an incredibly energizing performance. This is their rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”. My favorite part starts 2:20 into the video, but the whole thing is awesome.
I ended up carrying the my box of boomwackers with me through several moves, mainly because I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of them. I knew eventually I could figure out how to make music with them. They even made the trek across the country with me on my big move to Philadelphia.
In the end, making music with boomwackers is no different than making music with any other instrument. It all comes down to the skills of the musician to have a particular sound in their head they want to create and the patience to play around until they create the sound they want. I mentioned in a post a while ago that the professional musicians in Stomp can even get plungers to make music. To make good music you don’t need a fancy instrument or lots of money. You just need to have an idea, and then never stop until you make that idea happen.