Ony's Bands - Boo Hag

boo-hag Ony Ratsimbaharison is a local musician, writer, and blogger and member of the band fk. mt. Jasper asked Ony to write a regular feature profiling local bands -- getting at what they're doing, why they're doing it, and how it's going. If you'd like to see your band profiled in What Jasper Said, send Ony a message at JasperProjectColumbia@gmail.com with the word ONY in the subject heading and she'll, you know, take it under consideration.

Ony's first few bands are a half dozen talented groups who will be working with the Jasper & Muddy Ford Press franchises over the next few weeks by playing at in-house sponsored events. Boo Hag, Los Perdidos, and Jackson Spells are all performing next Sunday at Tapp's Arts Center (7 pm) for the launch party for Tommy Bishop's new book, The Incredibly Strange ABCs. Here's a look at Boo Hag, by Ony.

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Boo Hag, which formed in June 2015, is a local hard rock band consisting of drummer Scotty Tempo and guitarist and songwriter Saul Seibert. Their latest self-titled album, which came out July 30 of this year, is a collection of macabre-influenced psychedelic songs, with song titles like “Monster,” “Hokus Pokus,” and “Crypt Keeper,” just to name a few.

Their interest in the macabre and horrific is evident in their name, which is derived from a Gullah legend. A Boo Hag is a mythical creature of the Gullah culture that, according to folklore, is masked in a person’s skin, which it sheds at night to ride living victims in their sleep, draining them of their energy. Their music aims to evoke the spirit of this myth through concepts like ritual and horror.

Seibert recently moved to Columbia and is from New Orleans, where, he says, a lot of his musical influence comes from. “Plain and simple we are kick-you-in –the-teeth, kerosene-driven, lightning-in-a-bottle rock and roll,” he states. Their writing process is somewhat unique and specific, which Seibert informs us of in the following excerpt from an interview.

Boo Hag will be performing alongside local psych-rockers Jackson Spells and surf rock band Los Perdidos on Sunday September 18 at Tapp’s Arts Center for the book launch of The Incredibly Strange ABCs by cartoonist Tommy Bishop.

art by Tommy Bishop


Six Qs for Boo Hag

Can you describe what your music is like? Boo Hag dabbles with the macabre and psychedelic aspects of rock n roll. We are loud, hard, dangerous, and serious. Boo Hag doesn't really come with a lot of bells and whistles… We do what we know to do.

What are your songs typically about? Some of the songs are simple and straight forward and not overly complicated… but most of the songs take on a narrative approach, and deal with a range of social issues and/or personal struggles.

What is your songwriting process like? I usually hide. I engage in ritual. I get up at 3:30-4 am every day to meditate and then write music or do personal journaling for a few hours every day. I also smoke copious amount of marijuana and walk my dog in the woods. After I have completed a song, I record it and send it to Scotty to listen to. We play through it a few times during practice and then move on. We let songs breathe and rest, and then when they are ready to be played again, we work on them. Scotty gets me in a way a lot of players don't and when you have that as a writer, you don't really fuck with it too much. He plays an equal part in the music of Boo Hag and a powerhouse. He is also my friend.

Who/what are some of your main musical influences? New Orleans jazz and Memphis Blues... What else really matters in the end?

What is your overall philosophy as a band, if you have one? As a band, I believe our philosophy is to simply create and have fun doing what we love doing. We are a live act and that is where we thrive. In the end, we just want people to celebrate the music with us.

What is your vision for the band/the band’s future? We will see what happens. We have no intention of slowing down, we’re both driven people.

Cartoonist Tommy Bishop Returns to Columbia to Launch First Book

TOMMY a

"Albert the Appleworm absolutely adores accounting."

~~~

When he left for the West Coast in 2008, cartoonist Tommy Bishop left his mark on Columbia via quirky album cover creations and his unique brand of almost otherwordly illustrations. After much encouragement, the artist is finally releasing his first book of drawings, and he's starting simple -- simply creepy, simply bizarre, simply strange. The Incredibly Strange ABCs by Tommy Bishop is a children's book with illustrative art adults are going to both appreciate and get a kick out of sharing with their children.

A two-part book launch that has every member of the family covered is going down on Sunday, September 18th, and like Bishop's work, it'll take you for a ride.

At 3 pm, bring the little ones to Tapp's Arts Center where they can (literally) sit at the artist's feet as he reads to them with musical accompaniment from Reno Gooch, and then enjoy a cookie and lemonade reception while Bishop signs copies of The Incredibly Strange ABCs for the children.

Then return at 7 pm (sans children) for a launch party with performances from Boo HagLos Perdidos, and Jackson Spells -- a cash bar, snacks, and continued signing of The Incredibly Strange ABCs. Ten dollars admission includes price of book, concert, and launch party. Afternoon attendees who purchase a book will receive a voucher for admission to the concert and launch party on Sunday night, and the publisher will provide a convenient signing and storage system so patrons won't have to pick up their purchases until the end of the evening.

An art poster from the archives created by artist and author, Tommy Bishop.

Bishop is looking forward to returning to his old stomping ground where he left his mark on Columbia's media art scene. "I used to put out music zines, bootleg comps, and a music blog under the name Force of a Revolving Toilet," Bishop says. But he may be best remembered around Columbia for creating art-inspired album covers for such bands as the Unawares, Boo Hag, Los Perdidos, and more.

Album cover for The Unawares created by Bishop.

The 36 year old cartoonist wrote and illustrated The Incredibly Strange ABCs as both a gift for and a way of sharing his art with his 17-month-old daughter, says Bishop, who is expecting another daughter with his wife, Nassim Lewis, later this year.

A founding member of the Greater Columbia Society for the Preservation of Soul, as well as the Christmas in July celebration at The Whig, Bishop returns from his current home in Portland, Oregon, after a stint in California, to a number of friends and family members who look forward to his visit and the launch of his first book.

GCSPS

"Tommy was in attendance for our very first live performance and approached us asking if he could design our flyers. We agreed, but could not ever have imagined the visual/design creative brilliance that was to follow for the duration of The Unawares run," says James Wallace, formerly of the Unawares. "That run included hand inked covers for three CD's, one LP, and dozens of flyers. A newly designed flyer for each show. He refused payment for his generosity, so we sent him steaks and whisky to show our deep appreciation for who we referred to as 'Our Genius.' We had folks interested in our music just from seeing his artwork. Thank you, Tommy Bishop!"

Musician and long-time friend Scott Tempo agrees. "I've watched Tommy create state of the art work for about 20 years now. I've seen how he labors for hours over the smallest details. I've always been a big fan and have come to Tommy numerous times for band artwork over the years. He's always delivered unique pieces that stand out above the crowd,” says Tempo, whose band Boo Hag is one of three bands playing for the book launch concert. “To be able to be a part of his book release is an honor.”

Tommy unawares art bar

An early example of Bishop's work advertises The Whig, North America's greatest dive bar located at the corner of Main and Gervais Streets in Columbia.

 

In advance praise of the publication, Julia "Liz" Elliott, author of The New and Improved Romie Futch and The Wilds, writes, "Combining the subversive silliness of underground comix with the elegant grimness of Edward Gorey, The Incredibly Strange ABCs will enchant both children and adults with addictive tongue twisters and surreal scenarios. Roused from a stupor produced by reading too many humdrum alphabet  books, parents will laugh along with their tots as they explore Bishop's absurd and wondrous world."

Filmmaker and segment director of Drafthouse Films anthology ABC's of Death 2.5, Steve Daniels, writes, "As a father of two budding weirdos, Bishop's The Incredibly Strange ABCs was a revelation; far more fun that the stuffy, homogenized alphabet books I grew up with as a kid. These strange illustrations and clever wordplay never fail to illicit giggles or downright maniacal laughter from my children. The weirder, the better, and this book has it covered."

A selection of the illustrations found in The Incredibly Strange ABCs by Tommy Bishop

Published by South Carolina boutique publishing company, Muddy Ford Press, The Incredibly Strange ABCs is being printed as a limited release and the author will be on hand at both events on the 18th to sign and personalize the book. Pre-orders are available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

Tommy ABCs