Grammy Award-winning Bahamian band, Baha Men, are set to release a new album titled “Ride With Me” to mark the 15 year anniversary of their hit single, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Most Seattle University students grew up listening to the song. One of band’s vocalists, Dyson Knight, was available for a short question and answer session with the Spectator.
The multi-platinum and one time international number one song helped Baha Men win a Grammy award in 2000 for Best Dance Recording, 2 Billboard Music Award’s for World Music Artist of the Year
and World Music Album of the Year award, and a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award for favorite song. In 2002, Baha Men also won the Kid’s Choice Award for Favorite Band.
In July of 2015, Baha Men won the Bahamians Icon Award for outstanding achievement in music for their new song, “Night and Day.” This song has played on the Sony 2014 FIFA World Cup compilation album, “One Love, One Rhythm,” which also featured tracks from Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, Santana,and Shakira.
Below is an interview conducted with vocalist Dyson Knight.
PW: HOW HAS IT BEEN WORKING TO RELEASE THE NEW ALBUM, “RIDE WITH ME”?
DK: Who Let The Dogs Out?” was such a surprising run for the Baha Men, everything happening so fast, [that] by the time the “Holla!” album came around, I think the band was a bit exhausted. Everyone was tapped out and wanted to come home…
Three years ago, we did a showcase for Sony Latin America. They did a concert here in the Bahamas at one of the resorts and whenever they go to different countries they ask for a local band, they usually take a band with them from their roster, [a band] that they have already signed. Then they ask a local band to perform just so they can get a feel for what is going on musically in that country.
We ended up being the band that they picked to perform, we had to get everybody back together and jam up something to perform for the showcase. By the time we were on our second song, the CEO of Sony Latin America said that they wanted to sign us on the spot and wanted to know if we were ready. That’s what happened, they signed us there right on the spot.
Three years later it has turned into a full blown album.
PW: WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE EXPECT WHEN HEARING THIS NEW ALBUM?
DK: I expect, well I kind of believe, that people are going to look for [something] along the lines of “Who Let The Dogs Out?” But I’m hoping that people are open-minded and…
Treat the album like a “real band” album. It’s still feel good music, it’s still high energy. Especially with songs like “Carry On” and “Winding Up.”
PW: HOW WAS THE RECORDING PROCESS WHEN MAKING THE NEW ALBUM’S FIRST SINGLE, “OFF THE LEASH?”
DK: We were working with the producer… and one of his writers came up with the idea, they pretty much worked with the entire thing…
Like I said, they came up with the concept, came up with the writing, sent down a draft for us to listen to, we kind of messed around with some of the lyrics, some off the vibes and wanted to make it sound more obvious that it was from the islands.
We structured it to give the same type of energy as “Who Let The Dogs Out?” We tried to make it as Baha Men [sounding] as possible.
PW: IN YOUR PERSPECTIVE, HOW HAS YOUR MUSIC CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?
DK: Island music has grown a lot, I am speaking from a regional perspective, the Soca music and the Reggae music even the Reggaeton, the Latin music, which all these genres were not that dominant in the U.S. market years back–now it has made beyond the Bob Marley… Our music is mostly Junkanoo and Rake and Scrape… that is pretty much locked down here in the Bahamas…
It is the same type sound that we have hidden in our music before. The only difference is the EDM aspect, that strong dance presence. Big players like Diplo and Major Lazer they have really changed the game so we touch on a bit of that in order to sound current.”
PW: WHAT IS YOUR BAND’S MUSICAL INSPIRATION?
DK: The leader of the band, Isaiah Taylor, he plays bass. He is an avid ‘Junkanooer’ he plays at the festivals and stuff. For those who aren’t familiar, it would sound a lot like marching band type music, but the interpretation is totally different…
We are inspired by people of the funk era and worked behind Casey and the Sunshine Band, some of the older members of the band. We also inspire from Beach Boys and Beatles songs.
We have a lot of history, a lot musical history in the back of us.
PW: IS THERE MORE IN THE FUTURE FOR THE BAHA MEN?
DK: Now I think that we are ready to quiet that “One-hit Wonder” hype that has been going on with the band for so very long by putting out an album that has some great songs on it. There aren’t many artists anyways, that have reached where “Who Let The Dogs Out?” has gone. It’s almost impossible to recreate a song like that. We have a few more great hits coming up that will put the band on that “forever tour.” This is the Baha Men. This is the classic Baha Men-like sound. At the same time, we want to produce other small musicians from the island and help them to introduce themselves to something new to the world and we can use our fame to really push that. The next two albums that we’re going to do are even more acoustic and do some more ollaborations. Use some of Sony’s top artists that were featured on the FIFA World Cup album: Pitbull, Shakira. Well for the long term goal the band’s focus is to take away stress and gear towards relaxation with its music as a whole. That’s the plan.
“Ride With Me” was released on Oct. 9, 2015.
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