Bombay Harambee
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Bombay Harambee

Little Rock, Arkansas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Little Rock, Arkansas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Garage Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"College pals to toast new EP at White Water"

With a new year and a new album, 2014 is starting off right for Little Rock garage/ alt-rockers Bombay Harambee, which drops its debut six-song EP tonight with a White Water Tavern show. (Local faves Whale Fire and Colin vs. Adam are also on the bill.)

Bombay Harambee was formed in March after the breakup of The Tricks, the band of lead singer and guitarist Alexander Jones. Playing alongside Jones are bassist David Aspesi, drummer Kurt Delashmet and lead guitarist Trent Whitehead, who also plays in the roots-rock band Swampbird. The guys have known each other since their college days in Conway.

“We’re four guys who have played just about every genre in different groups,” Jones, 24, says. “This is just an amalgamation of that.”

And before we proceed much further we must ask, and we do so with slight trepidation because there is often a bit of unease when broaching such matters, but, ummm, what’s the deal with the name?

Jones says he learned with The Tricks that it’s good to have an easily Googleable name (yes, we just made that word up). “Bombay Harambee is supposed to sound sort of foreign, and what piqued our interest was ‘Harambee’ is the Kenyan motto for working together.”

That set well with the band’s hope of forming a sort of artistic collective, and “Bombay” just added to the moniker’s international flair.

The excellent EP, You Know Better, has actually been in the can for a while. The Harambee crew recorded it back in August with producer Jason Tedford at his Wolfman Studios in Little Rock.

“We hadn’t planned on a release, but it turned out better than we expected,” says Jones, who lists Nirvana, White Stripes, Pavement and Queens of the Stone Age among his influences. He’s also a fan of Tame Impala and would “mortgage my car” if he could only have seen the now-defunct LCD Soundsystem play.

You Know Better abounds with solid, indie-inspired song craft that features sly hooks and a pop edge amid its scrappy, low-fi buzz. It opens with the intriguing “Now or Never,” which has more time changes than a flight to New Zealand.

“We were trying to see if we could make a good pop song with changes in time signature,” Jones, the band’s main lyricist says. “We’re not writing lengthy stuff, just three- or four-minute songs with some good hooks. It’s pretty accessible music, but not overly simplistic.”

The churning, crunchy title cut, the amped-up “What Are We Waiting For” and the shiny swirl of “Millionaire” are also standouts. And while Jones is responsible for the lyrics, the rest of the band contributes to the arrangements.

“Everyone is really good at their instruments. We hash out the arrangements in practice, and the progressions come pretty easily,” he says.

Physical copies of the CD can be bought at the show, or pick up a digital copy for $5 at

The group is also planning shows in Hot Springs, Fayetteville and a trip across the river to play in Memphis at the Buccaneer Lounge, a first for Jones.

“I’m really excited. It’ll be the first time I’ve ever played in Memphis.” - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

"Bombay Harambee Comes to White Water"

The guys in Little Rock's Bombay Harambee (David Aspesi, Alexander Jones, Trent Whitehead and Kurt Alaska) have been at it for several months now, honing their guitar-centric brand of indie rock with several shows across the state. They're gonna be hitting it hard for the release of their debut EP, "You Know Better," with dates at White Water Tavern, Maxine's in Hot Springs on Friday, JR's Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville on Saturday and The Buccaneer Lounge in Memphis on Jan. 18. The EP boasts some satisfying shredding on "Hopscotch" and the title track. The sound reminds me a bit of the icy, echoing guitar tone of Interpol. On several tracks (opener "Now You Know," "Millionaire"), the guitarists nail the sound of the meandering six-string excursions of probably their most pronounced influence, indie rock legends Pavement. "Boulevard" is an uptempo rocker that comes off like a punker-sounding Pixies. The band recorded "You Know Better" at Wolfman Studios, and it sounds fantastic, particularly the drums, but the mix is also right on. It's well worth your time. Also performing will be Whale Fire and Collin vs. Adam, rounding out a bill of some of the best local rock bands. - Arkansas Times

"Bombay Harambee Writes Catchy Songs to Mosh to"

Bombay Harambee doesn’t just have a unique name. The four-piece from Little Rock combines crunchy grunge, punk sensibilities and pop songwriting for an all-around unique, good-time experience.

The band is made up of Kurt Alaska (drums), Dave Spaceman (bass), Trent Whitehead (lead guitar), and Alexander Jones (songwriting, vocals, rhythm guitar). These four musicians will be in Fayetteville releasing their new and first album, You Know Better, at J.R.’s Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville on Jan. 11.

They’ll be joined by May the Peace of the Sea Be With You, High Lonesome and Teenagers, which are also known for their originality in lyric and sound. We got to sit down with the band for a short Q and A, so enjoy!

You can find out more about the band and sample their music at and

Q: What’s the history of Bombay Harambee?

A: We’ve all known each other forever. We all went to college at the same time in Conway at either Hendrix or UCA. For whatever reason we hadn’t played together as a group until Bombay Harambee.

David and I (Alexander) first started jamming on some songs I’d written in late 2012. After Trent and Kurt each moved down from Conway, we started working the songs up as a four-piece. Last spring we began playing around Little Rock and made it up to Smoke and Barrel over the summer. Everything has been gelling together, and we’re really excited to get back to Fayetteville with our first EP.

Q: What can listeners expect from the new album?

A: The new record’s called “You Know Better.” It’s six songs with a runtime of about 22 minutes. It’s all us, and it’s pretty stripped-down. With few exceptions it’s just two guitars, bass, kit and vocals. You should play it loud.

All of us come from such different playing backgrounds that I think diversity is what stands out most — be it in tone, structure or arrangement. There’s crunch and heavy fuzz in “Hopscotch” alongside a much mellower, reverby ballad in “Millionaire.” As for the lyrics, one coherent element is that each song is addressed to someone in the first-person. I wrote most of these songs in the winter of 2012, and there’s a wintry vibe in terms of lyrical tone and theme. Again, we included varied speed and timbre, for we wanted to broadcast our full range of sound on this EP.

Q: You mentioned using pop lyrics, tell me a little bit more about that and why you chose to go that route.

A: We want our songs to get stuck in your head, and we want people to be dancing and having fun at our shows. When we say, “pop songwriting,” that’s what we mean — we didn’t put anything longer than four minutes on the record. We’re more interested in grabbing your attention and getting you going than we are in pure sonic experimentation.

As far as genres go, we blend elements of garage, indie and punk. We’d count bands like Pavement and Queens of the Stone Age among our influences. I suppose most people don’t really think of those bands as “pop” per se. At the end of the day though, it still gets you tapping your feet and singing along, and that’s what we’re trying to emulate.

Q: Tell me about recording the album.

In August we went into Wolfman Studios in Little Rock and knocked out the EP in a day and a half, and we can’t wait for everyone to get their hands on it. The response has been very positive so far.

Jason Tedford is a really great engineer, and we highly recommend him to any Northwest Arkansas bands looking for a studio to work with. He was really instrumental in helping us craft our finished product.

Q: What can audiences expect from the CD release party?

A: JR’s is such a cool venue, and we can’t wait to get up to Fayetteville again. We’re playing with our buddies May the Peace of the Sea Be With You and High Lonesome. All three bands put on a really good show, so we hope people show up early to get good and rowdy drunk on bourbon. We’ll have CDs for sale along with t-shirts and stickers!

Q: What do you love about playing your genre of music?

A: I’d have to say the best part is the reaction at shows, without a doubt. Our best show so far was a recent house show at the Blue House in Conway. Everybody was packed into this tiny living room, and people were moshing. One of our friends got thrown into David during a song, toppling over his amp and everything. All this happened about 3 feet away from me, and I had no idea. The next morning we found footprints four feet up the wall. - Fayetteville Free Weekly

"More than a Catchy Name"

There’s more to Little Rock band Bombay Harambee’s name than two seemingly unconnected rhyming words. Sure, the rhyme sounds cool, and the quartet’s name is easily recalled because of the rhyme. But there’s more to the name, says Bombay Harambee guitarist and vocalist Alexander Jones.

“Harambee is the Kenyan national motto, roughly translated ‘working together for a common purpose,’” says Jones, who is joined in Bombay Harambee by Kurt Alaska on drums, David Aspesi on bass and Trent Whitehead (who also plays with Little Rock rock ’n’ roll band Swampbird) on lead guitar. “At the root, though, [the band’s name is] about knowing that the success of this project depends on everyone working together to make it happen.

“Like most bands, we depend on our friends and everyone who comes to our shows. We depend on the other bands we work with. At the end of the day, that’s what you do when you start a band — you come together to help build something that’s greater than the sum of its parts.”

After forming in the winter of 2012-13, the foursome entered Wolfman Recording Studios in August 2013 and recorded their debut EP You Know Better in one and a half days with Jason Tedford engineering, mixing and mastering the six-track EP. “It was a real sprint,” says Jones of the recording process, “and the record runs at a fast pace as a result.”

While quick in time and delivery, the EP is a tuneful affair, with Whitehead and Jones’ guitars guiding the group’s bash-and-pop sound such as on the title track with its churning, staccato guitar rhythm during the verses and a tumultuous chorus with Jones singing, “Cause it came so fast. Love you so much, and I don’t even know your address.” But while “You Know Better” moves with an assertive rhythm, the band’s “Millionaire” is unhurried in its approach, with the band’s crunching guitars breathing and a lingering lead weaving its way through the song’s melody.

Influenced by bands from Queens of the Stone Age to Spoon to the Pixies, Bombay Harambee hits the road this week for a series of shows to celebrate the release of You Know Better, including a Thursday stop at White Water Tavern. Before Christmas, Jones answered questions via email. Here’s what he had to say about Bombay Harambee’s formation, sound and songwriting.

On how Bombay Harambee came together

We’ve known one another forever. Each of us spent our college years in Conway at either [the University of Central Arkansas] or Hendrix College. In late 2012, I began writing and playing some songs with David. I’m really a bassist at heart, but I played guitar and sang while David was on bass.

Then, after Trent graduated college, he and I moved into a house on [Lee Avenue in Little Rock]. That’s when Trent joined in. Kurt joined up when he moved down from Conway after graduating college. He jumped into our practices at the Main Squeeze, and we jelled immediately.

On the sound of Bombay Harambee

We call ourselves somewhere in the garage/indie/punk zone. We present heavier elements in a song like “Hopscotch” and sort of channel The Hives or The White Stripes elsewhere on the EP.

We really want people to have fun at live shows. We like to play with a high energy level. Most of our songs are up-tempo and tend to make people get up and dance.

On the band’s influences

Everyone in the band loves Queens of the Stone Age — their new album especially. I grew up on the Pixies, Pavement and The White Stripes. I have listened to Nirvana’s Nevermind at least 100 times. The same goes for The Hives’ Veni Vidi Vicious.

On the band’s songwriting process

I’ll generally write the bare bones, bring it to practice and the band will hash out the arrangement as a group. Kurt, Trent and David are the experts at their instruments. I think it’s my job to bring the skeletal structure to the table and let the guys do their thing with it.

I write the lyrics but they tend to be mutable, and it often becomes pretty improvisational. The hooks tend to stay the same, but the verses can morph from show to show.

On the genesis of the title track

I wrote “You Know Better” at around 4 one night/morning. Now that I look back, it must have been percolating for a while. I sat down and really just got through it in one or two takes. Think of it as a love song for the NSA era.

On the creation of the opening riff of “Millionaire” and the overall song

To be honest, I’ve been playing around with that [F/C chord] run since I was 15. It finally worked out with “Millionaire.” The song is about the winter, which is objectively the worst of all seasons. Of course, that’s what makes it such an attractive topic and setting to write about. And it’s also the best time of year to go to a record release show. - Sync Weekly


2015 - Goldmine (LP) - forthcoming
2015 - Magnetic Tape (Wiener Records) - forthcoming
2014 - You Know Better (EP)



Our members include Spaceman Dave, Jason "Grizzly" Griswold, Alexander "Bond Villain" Jones, and Trent "Babyface" Whitehead. We formed in the spring of 2013. We have been compared to bands like Pavement, Pixies, R.E.M. and Gang of Four.

In January 2014 we released our first EP entitled You Know Better. In March 2015 we will release a 7" single from our forthcoming full-length. The single is called "Check, Check, Checkmate", and the LP will be called Goldmine. Recording was done at Fellowship Hall Sound with mastering by Carl Saff.

Band Members