Tom Richman. Does the name ring a bell? Considering who’s been sweating his sound and who he’s affiliated with…you should know. But even with having the first track on Flosstradamus’ first BANNED mixtape and heavy support from the likes of Diplo (among many others), my guess is this is your introduction. Richman is part of the Bear Club Music Group (BCMG), one he helped co-found with P. Morris and some other like minded producers and artists in Lawrence, KS, as well as some additional mutual friends in other parts of the country. He’s set to release his debut EP Dro Montana via BCMG on February 11, and I wanted to make sure DAD got the scoop on this outstanding release as well as some background on Tom and the crew. Let’s dive right in.
You’ve been an integral part Bear Club Music Group since the jump and Lawrence, KS has been a long time hub for the crew. What was it like starting something up in a small Midwest college town? Did you and the crew see it more as a challenging endeavor because of the market or more so as an opportunity to quickly establish the brand?
It’s never easy to start something of this scope, but it came natural to us. I don’t believe we necessarily viewed it as a challenge or an opportunity, rather it was what we had to work with. We had goals and ideas that we wanted to get out, and Lawrence was where we were calling home. From the beginning we always had a foot in the world outside of Lawrence.
This release from you seems like it’s been a long time in the making. You’ve got to be excited to finally get “Dro Montana” out, right? Tell us what it means to BCMG to put out the release as well.
Yes, absolutely. The song has been out for a while, but I feel like the time is finally right. It’s important to me to give my songs and work life – an identity, and it took time to get that right. Going to Jamaica to shoot the video, getting the song and remixes lined up and ready. It took time to do it properly, but as with everything, the stars aligned at the perfect moment.
This is an important release for BCMG as well, it feels like we’ve taken our first steps and now we’re walking. I cherish this time, it’s an exciting time in the evolution of our brand and family. This will be our first vinyl release and second digital release, following “Ladyboy” from my friend and BCMG founder, P. Morris, a fantastic track as well. From here on we will be hitting the ground running.
Lots of interesting things have happened in underground electronic music since “Dro Montana” streams started popping up on the web. Yet it seems about the best time ever to drop this whole package. Does it feel like you guys might be a little ahead of the curve on surges in music styles? What are some new artists and sounds you’re into these days?
I feel like comparing our music to other styles isn’t proper because in general Goombawave isn’t following any surge in musical styles. Goombawave is the title we gave to the music we’re making under Bear Club. I try not to compare myself with other artists or styles. For me, its just about making the best music possible, taking inspiration from anything and everything in MY life. In many ways, I feel like striving for a certain sound or style will put you in a box and force you to imitate; to limit yourself. That’s something we don’t do. Perhaps there are other producers imitating our sound, but I can’t help that.
That’s why we made Goombawave, as a way for us to properly identify our sound at BCMG. Now other people have started labeling their music Goombawave – it’s pretty incredible, but either way, people are striving for what we have. Rather than being ahead of the curve, I feel like we’ve designed the curve, perhaps unintentionally.
I do listen to a lot of jazz, drum & bass, pop – I’ve been listening to some indigenous Cambodian music lately… I stay pretty open. “My Hitta” by YG is one of the best songs ever made. DJ Mustard is great.
The remix list on this EP is pretty incredible. Were most of those homies excited to be a part of the project? Did you get some say as to who you guys were going to reach out to?
Yes, definitely, I feel blessed to have such a great lineup on this first record. Everyone on the record is a good friend, and being able to come together and work on a project together is something truly special to me. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else on the record. When it came to deciding who to reach out to, it was simple. We just started brainstorming and everything clicked. Everyone was already a fan of the song and excited to take part in the project.
You’ve got to give a glimpse as to what’s next now that this is hitting the streets. Tell us some things you’ve got lined up for the not too distant horizon…
I don’t want to reveal too much. What’s hitting the streets next is Tom Richman. I am currently scoring an independent movie which will be released this spring, and I have lots of personal projects completed and lined up to release as well, including the 12″ vinyl release of “Dro Montana” coming in March. I will be completing the PAPER/DRO MONTANA trilogy with a new video as well. I’m anxious to unfold my story for my fans. Many of them have been waiting for a long time and for that I am truly appreciative. The wait is over.