Local Band: Boomslang

Friday night, Sweet Melissa’s: A small venue for three local groups. On stage stood two men; one tall and one short. One with short hair and the other with dreads that exceed his waist. Both holding microphones, tearing into yet another great verse; ”…We get crazy! Mic turned on the whole room is hazy!…” The crowd hosted a great variety of people — everything from a mom filled mosh pit to a cowboy square dancing in the back.

 

Based in Montpelier Vermont, Boomslang is made up of long time friends Johnny Morris and Dustin Byerly. They have helped to set the bar for the central VT rap scene in the past few years.

 

Boomslang was officially formed in 2006, but Johnny and Dustin were not new to the music scene. Johnny and Dustin met in 2003, when Dustin was searching for a producer.

 

“I was making music with my friend, in Plainfield,” Dustin says. “We had a tape recorder, a congo drum, and a notebook… [So] we began looking for a producer.”

 

They formed a group of about six people called Therapy. This band only lasted about two years and did not produce any recordings or perform live.

 

Dustin soon learned his friend’s yoga instructor’s boyfriend made hip hop beats, but no one knew his name.

 

“We just walked around Montpelier basically looking for all the yoga instructor flyers we could find, and we called every yoga instructor in Montpelier until one of them knew what we were talking about. That’s how I met Johnny, basically.”

 

They have continued to work together to make great music for over ten years.

 

Boomslang released their newest album, Attack the Vampire, on October 27, 2017.

“Knocking is my favorite track on the album for a couple reasons. For one, I love the multi-layered samples JL put together on this one. There’s just a lot of atmospheric elements added which gave the beat a of depth and texture. It captures the Boomslang aesthetic: dark and brooding but also high energy and packed with lyricism. This track really captured the dynamic between my (Sed Ones) rapid fire lyrics and JL’s more methodical deliberate approach.”

 

This is their second project, following their self titled album, Boomslang, released in 2014.

 

“The first five or six years were spent trying to find our sound,” Dustin says. “We didn’t really do any live shows. These last few years we’ve been really taking it seriously and taking it up to the next level.”

 

Although concerts naturally have a very high energy, Boomslang has managed to bring the same energy into their recordings.

 

“Being in studio is much different than live. When I’m live, I’m looking to establish a feedback loop. It’s very high energy. But all in all, in studio we try to replicate the high energy of our shows.”

 

You can see Boomslang perform several times a year in Vermont. For live updates follow their  Facebook page here.

 

Below is the lyrics to the Boomslang song “Black Magic.”

 

Each verse is 16 bars total. One bar is a collection of four beats. In each bar there is a flow, rhyme scheme, and cadence set in place. Generally, this flow won’t change much through the song. I made a visual representation of the rhyme scheme in the first two bars of the first verse. The words or syllables with the same highlight rhyme with one another. You may notice that some syllables don’t rhyme perfectly, but still have the same color. For example, time and life. These are called near rhymes. They are a very commonly used tool in music.

 

(Verse 1)

 

Breathe in breathe out

No doubt you the one

Ring the alarm cause

The time has come

 

From the womb to the tomb

Boom moon to the sun

We live this life

Ride on a skeleton

 

Hella gone moving on

To another plane

I’m a see you in the future man

 

Where we rock all the

Ancient ways of crazy

Keeping it live Nobody can phase me

 

ghost swayze

Purple haze we

Demi Moore more

Then your average lazy

 

Mc don’t tempt me

To empty to empty

My mind ya might not

Get it back see

 

Full a sensi

Since I was youth

Eyes dilated

Looking for the truth

 

Here’s the proof

Check it in my style

Come on A how ya like me now?

 

(Chorus)

 

Hey yo Get Ill

We Will

Do That

Black Magic Rap

 

I Feel So Real

There Ain’t

No stopping that

 

Tonight

I might

Break through

Voodoo (to) attack

 

Take that

We’re at

The point  Their ain’t

No turning back

(No, No, No, No)

There ain’t no turning back!

(No, No, No, No)

There ain’t no turning back!

 

(Verse 2)

 

Swords Clash in the air tonight

warfare in the pale moonlight

 

rebels in the dark

ready to strike

any enemy we see on site

 

I fight to the death

breathless I left this

but now I’m back attack I wreck this

 

reckless in battle

that’ll be your end

MC said one man I ain’t your friend

 

JL (8 bars)

 

(Chorus)

 

(Verse 3)

 

Creeping up like

children Of the

corn Word is born

I’m just warming up

 

Eruption dis-

Ruption production

Mammalian alien

abduction

 

Corruption at

the highest levels

The Devils

Running things

 

pulling strings

The trebles

turned down low

So the bass go bump

 

You can feel the vibration

in the trunk

I drunk liquid got lifted

And sifted

 

the finest

hard to find us we drifted

Off course

So we could find our way

 

Back to where we started

Now we ready to play

I say what need to be Sed

One rhyme at a time

 

Let em link up drink up I’m

Here tonight to

As you can see

Better get ready

Hold steady cause we

Analysis:

This verse doesn’t seem overly serious, and, layered with its dark instrumental, is the perfect representation of the Boomslang sound. There are plenty of spots where the lyrics seem to be pumping up the listener. “Breathe in breathe out, no doubt you the one! Ring the alarm cause the time has come!” This feeling is carried out with wordplay intertwined.

“Boom moon to the sun!” This is a double entendre. Boom is both referencing to the name of the group (Boomslang), and at the same time pumping up the listener, saying to go crazy and play the music loud all night.

“Where we rock all the ancient ways of crazy!” This bar references the primitive part of a person, directly in reference to music and partying.

“Ghost Swayze, purple haze we Demi Moore, more than your average lazy!” Ghost is a movie starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. On top of that, Purple Haze is the name of a song by Jimi Hendrix and became the name of “Monterey Purple,” a type of LSD that was very famous in the 70’s.

“Eyes dilated, looking for the truth!” It is well known that LSD dilates your eyes, so this line is referencing back to the Purple Haze line. LSD is often used to kill one’s own ego, and most people explain it as “a journey.”

This song is geared towards partiers. It is high energy, has wordplay, and fits nicely into the Boomslang sound. If you would like to listen to the song (as well as the rest of their new album), follow the link below.

 

Boomslang’s Bandcamp