Bobaflex are a band that I only discovered recently when New Ocean Media sent their album “Hell In My Heart” through to the station. The album is the fourth by the band and was released back in 2011 originally, but it is being re-launched in Europe and is one that I’d highly recommend. Bobaflex consists of brothers Shaun and Martin McCoy who both play guitar and take on lead vocals; with Jerod Mankin on bass and Tommy Johnson on drums. They’re currently in the process of replacing their other guitarist. Shaun was good enough to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI.

 

 

NI ROCKS – For me, one of the great things about working for Rock Radio NI is that every now and again I get an album submitted by a band or agent that I listen to and think “Wow, I love that!”. Then I read the band biography and realise that they’ve been around for years and the reaction becomes “Why the hell hadn’t I heard these guys before?” I guess I’m just not reading the right magazines or checking out the right websites!! Anyway, that was my reaction when I listened to the “Hell In My Heart” album.    I’m sure you get similar reactions all the time! As an artist, are you just glad that people finally get to hear of you or is there an element of frustration that it takes so long to get your music heard?

BOBAFLEX –Frustration, definitely!!! Yeah, we've been through legal hell, label, battles, it always seems like we're fighting to get our music heard without some asshole trying to swindle us out of all the money! Hahahah. The last few years have been a turnaround, musically we have hit a stride where we can do no wrong, we have the business experience, we have great people working for us, so it feels good. Plus we do what we want, nobody tells us what to do. There's not an old man in a room somewhere telling us what we should do musically or what to wear. This is gonna be a big year for us, we're finally in a position to do it right.

 

 

NI ROCKS – The band formed back in 1998. What bands were influencing you back then when the idea for Bobaflex first emerged?

BOBAFLEX –Alcohol, and Wu-tang clan!! But I soon realized the band and myself were not cut out for that musical route. I was doing a lot of acid back then, so I went off on these insane creative paths, that were fun for a minute, but it wasn't real. We decided to take it to our childhood roots and just be a rock band, with some 70's, 80's influence, with some stoner rock and classic metal influence.

 

 

NI ROCKS – You’re from West Virginia. How hard is it for emerging rock bands to break out of their local state and into the national scene? I’m guessing the equivalent here would be a band from N Ireland having to make it in England and then the European mainland!

BOBAFLEX – Yeah, when you tour the states you realize how fucking huge it is. California and New York are like different countries, opposite attitudes, customs and life styles. But our music speaks to working class/lower class rural folk everywhere. WV has always been tough to find work, so there's some anger mixed with melancholy in the music. So when we get out on tour, you see the same type of people connecting with your music. It is super tough coming out of WV, you gotta prove yourself everynight in front of 13 people. But, grinding it out, those 13 turn into 100 and so on. We've earned every fan, we didn’t come from a scene, musically we came out of thin air as far as the major markets are concerned. Some Americans don't know WV is a state!!!! They think it's WESTERN VIRGINIA!!! Unreal. But it's made us hard,and adds to that going-against-the-grain motivation.

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NI ROCKS – Festivals are a big part of the rock scene in the USA and it seems you developed quite a following on the festival circuit. How did you handle the move from playing clubs to the big stage with audiences of 12,000 and do you think the exposure that such events give are crucial to the success of a band?

BOBAFLEX –Yes!!!! All that hype mentally influences someone's perception of you. I know people who saw Alice in Chains before they were big in a small room on a Tuesday playing to a gaggle of people. They said, "They were cool, sounded good, but I never imagined they were gonna be the next big thing." But it's key to put yourself in front of bodies, and capture that moment so that many people will never forget you.

 

 

NI ROCKS – “Hell In My Heart” is the band’s fourth album and the first since the collapse of the TVT label that released the second and third album. How much of a struggle was it keeping Bobaflex alive following the TVT disaster?

BOBAFLEX –2 year legal battle, a bank owned us, and orchard music bought all our old stuff!!!! we had three divorces, management left us, our women left us, everyone gave up on Bobaflex except the band and our core fans. We're proving the naysayers wrong, not only are we here, we're better than ever and great things are happening, plus I have money in my wallet for the first time!!

 

 

NI ROCKS – “Hell In My Heart” is a really explosive album. Tell us a little about the writing and recording of the album. In particular, where did the “Hell In My Heart” and “Bury Me With My Guns On” concept come from?

BOBAFLEX –Guns is a fantasy song based on an Irish writer named Garth Ennis and his famous comic,PREACHER. The saint of killers is the character from that book that inspired that song. Hell In My Heart comes from the effort it took to overcome the legal, love loss, dreams deferred and misfortune  we had trying to get that album made. So it took all the hell in our hearts to make it, and we did.

NI ROCKS – Who’s idea was the cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence? I have to say it’s a fantastic version and a great video.

BOBAFLEX –Marty's and Marty's alone. I hated the idea of it. I thought, "what are we gonna do, Jefferson Airplane next? It's a fucking folk song!!!" But, we made a demo,and it sounded....spectacular. Who am I to stop a wonderful song from going on the record.

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NI ROCKS – There can’t be too many bands in which two brothers share the role of lead vocalist and guitarist. Interestingly there’s also a great track on the new album called “Sing” that features bass player Jerod Mankin on vocals. Does the decision on who handles lead vocals depend on the writing process?

BOBAFLEX –Yeah, and if the song is truly about yourself, then you sing it. Love Kiss, the Cars, the Beatles, multiple singers make the album more versatile and colorful.

 

 

NI ROCKS – What plans does the band have for 2013? I believe “Hell In My Heart” is getting released in Europe shortly and there may be plans for a tour at some stage?

BOBAFLEX –Working on our new album Charlatan's Web, and we hit the road hard in the states in May!!!!

NI ROCKS – The band has been around now for about 15 years so you’ll have seen some changes to the music industry. What do you think are the key factors in surviving that long and what do you feel are the key landmarks along the way? Any advice to new bands just starting out?

BOBAFLEX – Yeah, be a doctor instead!! Eh, it's still changing and evolving. It's a strange beast, you have majors desperately trying to stay alive in the download era. I don't know if a label is relevant anymore. Find investors and pump your I-tunes and merch. The model is changing, the old we need to get signed isnt a realistic goal anymore. Unless your an R+B singer and you think you’re as good as Beyonce'.

 

 

NI ROCKS – The band has quite a healthy following on Facebook and Twitter. How have you taken to the whole social media industry and how much do you personally get involved?

BOBAFLEX –I'm getting more involved each day. I fought it forever. But you have to embrace it and you have to work it and interact. you just pray that you don't influence a hermit lunatic from Arkansas who would never connected to you without twitter. I'm always questioning, "Is this a superfan, or a sociopath who thinks my skin is a portal to another universe?" Outside of nutcases, it only HELPS. It's powerful and cheap, how can you argue with that.

 

 

NI ROCKS – A few quickfire questions! First band you saw live?

BOBAFLEX –Skid Row

 

 

NI ROCKS – First album you remember buying?

BOBAFLEX – The Flash Gordon Soundtrack

 

 

NI ROCKS – First 5 bands we’d find on your iPod or whatever if we pressed “shuffle”?

BOBAFLEX –Motley Crue, Guns n Roses, Muse, Waylon Jennings, Rolling Stones

 

 

NI ROCKS – Two or three bands that you’d recommend we take a listen to (we’ll take Bobaflex as a given!!)

BOBAFLEX –Royal Bliss, Wayland, Devil by Design

 

 

NI ROCKS – Musical career highlight, so far?

BOBAFLEX –Rock on the Range, or my daughter hearing me on the radio

 

 

NI ROCKS – First tattoo : what age, where on body and of what?

BOBAFLEX –Bone on my arm, 27!!!

 

 

NI ROCKS – Favourite female vocalist?

BOBAFLEX -Joan Jett all day

 

NI ROCKS – Thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions. I appreciate you taking the time. All the best of luck for 2013 and beyond!

 

You can find out more about Bobaflex on their website at

www.theofficialbobaflex.com

or on Facebook at

www.facebook.com/bobaflex

 

Check out N I Rocks at www.Facebook.com/NIRocks

 

Last Updated (Wednesday, 17 April 2013 21:51)