BigBada BOOM Sunday Shoutout!!

Hear from DJ PUNCH - The creator of BigBada Boom!

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Happy Sunday yall - You know what time it is! Hineraiona - Bigbada BOOM Sound System will be gracing Twisted Frequency 2024 with a stage takeover. We want to shout out the awesome things they do in Aotearoa, and share our utter excitement. 

Bigbada Boom is dedicated to supporting femme deejays and MCs in the world of reggae and sound system culture. Femme built, femme empowered, and femme driven, big ups the wahine massif, we love to see it!

We were lucky enough to chat with Ariki A.K.A Queen Big Punch about Bigbada Boom and wanted to share some of that kōrero.

Twisted: Tell us a bit about yourself, your system, and why it’s special

BBB: My name is Ariki A.K.A Queen Big Punch and I am the owner and operator of Hine-Raiona Bigbada Boom Sound System. Hine-Raiona translates to Lion Maidens and is the second all-femme sound system built in Aotearoa to Ninth Wave Sound. We are currently the sole reggae sound system dedicated to supporting femme deejays/allies and artists in the reggae sound system scene Aotearoa - a much needed platform lacking in a community dominated by men and at times can be difficult to navigate through. 

Bigbada Boom is a phrase that came from one of my favourite films The Fifth Element where Lilu first met the protagonist as she fell through the roof of his taxi, explaining how her ship exploded the phrase "Bigbada Boom" came in to the scene. The phrase "Bada Bing Bada Boom" itself is traced back to the late 50s film The Italian Wedding often referring to the end of a story "There you have it" which ties in the purpose of the sound system. It’s "a big explosion of sound, its from afar and around in town, there you have it". It is also the first LGBT+ sound system built in NZ by myself and my team who are of the rainbow banner, a historical moment for the music scene and pride. 

Twisted: How did Bigbada Boom start out?

BBB: The origin story of Bigbada Boom Sound System began 3 years ago! It is a combination of many things but if I have to pinpoint where the passion and love for music comes from; it would be my upbringing. As Maori/Pacifica we are always attracted to big loud sound and music that strikes back to the foundations of our whakapapa and reflecting in genres we relate to such as R&B, funk, disco, rap, hip hop and roots, rock reggae! In Tahiti where my mother is from we would have traditional dancing Ori Tahiti full of beauty, loud and powerful especially the large backing band hitting the big drums creating amazing traditional bass and sound. You can say big loud things are in my blood. I also had a big phase in my teen/young adult years where I dove deep into heavy metal which felt like the haka to me. That gave me a taste of the visceral and powerful sound as well as community that came from it, which helped lay the foundations of my passion soon to come later in life.

Twisted: What are your favourite memories with the sound system being created or used?

BBB: An honourable mention to those who helped make Bigbada Boom a reality! That is Bruce Nicol of Roadshow Productions and Marcus Wilson of Audio Technical Services who are audio legends in New Zealand. They are responsible for running many set ups and shows on varying scales throughout the decades whose knowledge in audio equipment is unparalleled. They are the best of the best and it’s a privilege to have their guidance in building Bigbada Boom to this day.

I also had the help of my lovely friend Luca Larkin The Boil House whose skills in woodwork and furniture making is a work of beauty. She helped me translate the speaker plans into a workable format and we began to cut out the plywood by hand - many endless nights to build the speakers. As all the pools of knowledge and skills from those who helped me came together, I harnessed and assembled the bits and bobs. Bigbada Boom was built at the former Wellington art studio Nautilus Creative Space, which was its home while it began to grow and it did quite rapidly. By the end of the 1st year I had a working custom made sound system with all ages of old tech slapped together. Seeing it run for the first time in my studio at the last big Nautilus Winter Party was my favourite memory. My second would be running my first stage at a festival dedicated to reggae dub sound systems at Earth Beat 2023. Followed by Dubscape in Whaingaroa Raglan where I had my first sound system clash with the mighty Red Robin The Reggae Rodeo Sound!

Twisted: Can you give us some insight into the tech?

BBB: Bigbada Boom is a combination of custom built and second hand audio gear. It is all analogue with some new gear that matches the 1970s/80s era of sound It was built for. My oldest piece of gear is a tape delay unit close to 50 years old I acquired from the legendary Lion Rockers Hi-Fi Sound System. As Maori we believe in Mauri, the life force of an object that holds the essence of all those who have interacted with it and I believe this energy imbues Bigbada, giving it its own life force which keeps growing as more people interact and add their energy to it. It is one of the few sound systems that use outdated and discontinued lines of audio equipment highly active in Aotearoa. Part of Bigbada’s unique experience is to witness a vintage sound of the past in the modern era.

Sound system culture is a very diverse topic but it is traced to Jamaica as early as the 1950s. In short it was a platform that operated independently to the established status quo which was dominated by the colonial construct of the white man. It, along with pirate radio, were the beacons of broadcasting and sharing artists and music often not accepted by the mainstream (music to broaden the mind that spoke of freedom and rebellion) Music became a source of empowerment to the lower and middle class who looked for something to grasp on to, to give them hope, and up it to the man. As Jamaicans migrated to England to rebuild the nation post WW2, their music spread to the UK along with sound system culture, where it formed the underground scene of UK rave culture today. Bigbada Boom pays homage to the old school, supporting those most in need of a platform while at the same time acknowledging the whakapapa of sound system culture and its strong focus on reggae - as well as the entire spectrum that surrounds it from Ska, reggae dub, dance hall, Jungle and Dubstep.

Twisted: What does the future look like for BBB?

BBB: To continue the legacy of sound system culture! Staying true to the traditions passed down by the masters of sound and dub, aiming to educate and inspire the next generation. My vision is to one day elevate Bigbada Boom to Aotearoa's leading wahine/gender diverse reggae sound as this will also spread waves world wide.

Shoutouts to these fierce wahine and everything they do for our communities. Keep an eye out for Bigbada Boom events across the motu and check out our website for more Twisted news!

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