What do you get if you combine OutKast’s The Love Below, some “Blitzkrieg Bop”, a sprinkle of funk and groove, a smattering of Bollywood and some 80s classic rock? A recipe for success? According to Austin’s Bourgeois Mystics, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’.
I first discovered the band’s outrageous excellence early in my Austin years… it was probably 2015 or 2016.
I came across a social media invite to a local show laying claim to ‘Dystopian Future Funk’. Who was I to ignore a claim like that? They proffered groovy, goofy, impeccably well-crafted music — the kind that is deliciously unpredictable and genre-defying. They were an immediate favorite, because quite frankly, Bourgeois Mystics are a band that stop at nothing to bring the house down. Almost… literally.
What’s the craziest show you’ve played to date?
- BM: A house show at my alma mater. We had about 250 people packed into this tiny New England basement. You could barely move. It was so hot in there I had to wipe down my keyboard with my shirt several times during and in-between songs, because there was so much sweat in the air, condensation was building up on it. Our (former) bass player made out with like eight people while onstage and toward the end of our set, the roof rafter directly above us started to bow and crack and, had they not evacuated, would’ve fallen on us. It was, as the Gen Z are prone to saying, quite lit. Makes ya really jones for the pre-COVID days, you know!?
So, then, what takes Bourgeois Mystics to the pinnacle of ‘lit-ness’?
- Bourgeois Mystics is a for-profit, personal growth cult and ‘genre-defying dance party waiting to explode’, headquartered in Austin, Texas. We are 100% independent, BUT trying desperately to sell out. So much so, we have songs about trying desperately to sell out. The band was founded in late 2014 by four acquisitive ascetics.
- Originally it was just four of us: Zenith Nadir, our former bass player/co-frontman/bandleader, who left the band to pursue higher truths bestowed unto him from supernatural forces at a spiritual vortex only known as ‘The Mountaintop’. Duane Barry, our original drummer, who we killed off after a year. We resurrected him at a later show, so he could play auxiliary percussion for us. He’s now known as ‘The Ghost of Duane Barry’. Tonto Luigi, an astro-archaeologist/guitarist, who is a gun-for-hire for Fortune 500 corporations, looking to plunder foreign planets’ timbres. And, finally, Squiggly Finesse, a multi-dimensional space kraken, all-powerful celestial demi-god from outer space, guardian/agitator of the multitudes of planes between heaven and heck, and mediocre multi-hyphenate (keyboardist-singer-rapper-songwriter).
Correction: there is absolutely nothing even remotely mediocre about Squiggly… or any part of this band. They quickly bloomed into a multinational sonic powerhouse, focusing their expressive musical talents on an energetic sound. Harkening the abstract wit of MF Doom, zany dorkiness of The B-52’s, epic arrangements of Ennio Morricone and funky grooves of Jamiroquai, it all culminates in a distinct sound often described as “Zappa meets OutKast”.
- BM: We have since grown and contracted quite a bit: in 2017, we bought a 38-acre commune in Buda, Texas, where we employ the latest in ‘pay-to-inflate-your-social-currency-technology’. We have a meticulously-trained biomimetic chicken labor force who are ‘paid’ (in chicken feed) to initiate rabid social media engagement on our Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, and YouTube accounts. Some say our click-farm exists in the physical realm (these people are wrong). Some say it’s the world’s first MLM NFT (these people are properly informed). At this commune-definitely-not-a-cult, we adhere to a strict airatarian diet and participate in pedantic rituals to line our pockets and acquire large amounts of material wealth. And, of course, as a byproduct become TUBULARLY spiritually enlightened.
- Our new lineup consists of: Squiggly Finesse and Tonto Luigi — still doing what they do best (and mediocrely, in Squiggly’s case).
Correction — still not mediocre by any count.
- Mathilda Bilderberg… he was but a meager, young stablehand with a stutter when we moved into the compound. Now, he’s the 254th best bass player in all of south Austin, east of I-35 and has LOTS of attitude. He still can’t kick that stutter though.
- Archibald Cufflink Jr. the III: heir to the cufflink fortune (yes, his great-great grandaddy actually invented cufflinks!). He came to us with promises to enrich our coffers; he’s yet to deliver on that promise, but, as a drummer, there’s no denying his very deep pockets.
- Countess Von Boopenstein… world-acclaimed self-help guru and best-selling author of From Selfish to Sociopath in 50 Easy Manipulations. Employing arcane vocal techniques and bassy Moog 8-bit drops, she conducts mass-hypnosis experiments without our audiences’ consent or knowledge.
- Oochie Gallucio — she is easily our most agreeable vocalist. It’s amazing what one can accomplish with access to classified CIA documents…
How did you make it through COVID with your sanity intact?
- Wim Hof breathing has made us invincible to most negative COVID-era medical and emotional side-effects. EFT tapping helped us deal with any outsized ‘post-ritual anxiety’ (NOTE: neither claim is medically verified). In terms of music, COVID gave us the time to buckle down and finish our sophomore album, which we are, of course, very grateful for.
- We’re sitting on the new album, but not releasing it until we can figure out how to maximize profits from its release. That said, we’re likely looking at a late 2022 release and a tour to accompany it.
If this all sounds good to you and you happen to be in or near Austin this March, Bourgeois Mystics is an official SXSW artist, playing a couple of stops, including 3.19 at Russian House (scroll down for more). I hereby challenge you to throw on your dancing shoes, grab a beer and land yourself in the front row for a show you won’t soon forget! The first time I met him, I asked Squiggly Finesse what to expect from his show. “Expect the unexpected; expect to dance, expect a high-energy punk rock vibe.”
Bourgeois Mystics will join us to film, interview and otherwise impress the heck out of the multiverse (at least the part of it in front of our camera lenses) this Spring. We’re thrilled to have them join the My Forte artist roster.
About ‘My Forte’:
An award-winning 12-part documentary series created by Kaili Rose of Kairo Media in partnership with Top Shelf Music, My Forte explores the challenges and firsthand perspectives of artists around the world. What does it really take to make it in the music biz? What are the definitive challenges and sacrifices artists face? As fans and consumers of modern music, we owe it to our favorite artists to understand and appreciate what it really takes to make the music we love. Click here to watch the first film (it’s free!) and follow along as we begin interviews and production this spring in Nashville, Austin, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Toronto.