DUBAI The Dubai-based group Behold The Locus (BTL) has a new sound. It is upbeat, sophisticated, mature and past their garage band episode, en route to a new album launch late this year.
Shepherd and Outta Control, two tracks from their soon-to-release Amplifier album, are a product of the band’s collaboration with other Dubai musicians. In fact, the band epitomises Dubai musically — their songs are in English put together by an eclectic group made up of Asians, Africans and Westerners. Shepherd includes a sprinkling of Russian rap, too.
The group has always been in a constant state of metamorphosis, with “a revolving door” policy on members (they have had a Pakistani, Filipino, Kiwi, South African, Greek and Irishman as gig and record-mates at various moments).
XPRESS caught up with some of the current members during a session inside a Tecom apartment unit-cum-recording studio recently and had a ‘live’ taste of their music as they worked with other local music talents (members of Nicotine, The Flaming Trees and solo artists).
“We can’t really have bad blood with anyone because the (music) industry here is quite small and I think everyone wants everybody to do well for the whole scene to grow,” said guitarist and singer Fabian Martin. “It’s only natural you get to jam with someone who has the affinity for music.”
That attitude is evident in their songs. Shepherd, which tells a story about a tragic diving trip that happened in Dubai, includes singers from other bands.
BTL’s new, surgically clean sound is in no small part due to the genius of Dylan Ellis, 27, a digital recording pro from Johannesburg who has chosen Dubai as his home base. He is upbeat about BTL’s prospects. “When I first heard their EP,” said Ellis, “I could hear the potential in their song-writing. That potential can now be heard in their upcoming album.”
But while BTL sophistication has grown, they have not lost their original flavour of easy-listening tunes.
The challenge for the group now — or any band aiming for fame with original material — is to keep their heads above the water in a pool infested by music pirates. Their members are only too aware of the dangers of music file-sharing, which has devastated the music industry.
BTL hopes that with better intellectual property protection (they are working with a UK-based copyright protection house), the “Dark Age” of the music industry, that had resulted in hundreds of studios shutting down in the US alone between 2001 to 2009, is finally behind everyone now.
Whether BTL continue to swim against the tide remains to be seen. But then again, you can’t put a good tune down.