Spectacular Bosnian contrarians
Almost 20 years since their founding, Dubioza Kolektiv remains a band quite unlike any other, in their home country Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the rest of the region or indeed the rest of the world. They are seemingly always spoiling for a fight - not only with xenophobia and fascism, common threads throughout their growing discography, but also with safe middle class taste and the self righteousness of the music industry. Their music truly is all over the place, a multilingual blend of Balkan flavors with ska, punk, reggae, electronic and hip-hop. The mix can be catchy one moment, jarring and abrasive the next, but it is delivered with a wry smile and a sense that they would fervently deny any accusations of art.
They were formed in a war-torn society, devoid of much resembling an actual music industry. They made do without it, embracing the pirate ethos of the digital music era, giving away their music for free, while establishing themselves as one of the most popular and hard hitting live outfits in all of Eastern Europe.
Their last album, #fakenews, was released in 2020. The title speaks for itself, and it follows in the footsteps of Happy Nation (2016) and Apsurdistan (2013), tackling a wide range of hot topics. In many ways, Dubioza Kolektiv feels like a band uniquely suited to adress some of the issues facing us right now. Distinctly dressed up in yellow and black, putting on their breathless stage show, they can come across as pure spectacle. But there’s a vast difference between taking yourself too seriously and actually being serious. And while Dubioza Kolektiv at times may mimic the absurdity of the world surrounding them, they are nothing if not profound.