BoomCase takes the words "portable audio" to a new level. Handmade in Sacramento, BoomCase upcycles vintage suitcases and tucks high end, rechargeable stereo systems within them that can be hooked up to almost any audio source. In the end, the result is equal parts old, new, and completely one-of-a-kind.
We caught up with the brand's co-founder, artist and designer Dominic "SiMo" Odbert, at the BoomCase headquarters in Sacramento to see exactly how the stereos were produced, what makes them so unique, and to talk about the projects they have in the works (spoiler: one involves the Wu-Tang Clan).
Photos by Roshaun Davis
Photos by Roshaun Davis
How did the idea for BoomCase happen? Can you tell us more about your background?
Most of my life I have been building things. I grew up on a farm where I had to work on cars, fences, and building forts out of hay. During high school my brother and I started working more and more with sound systems—mainly for large events like festivals and parades. I went off to school for sculpture and furniture design but still continued to work with sound. My brother and I had built many portable sound systems, but they were always big and hard to bring everywhere. So I decided that I would try to make a smaller version of what we have already made and see what happens.
What was the inspiration?
I was mainly inspired by vintage record players that were built into suitcases. The concept of sound in a suitcase has been around since the 50s. After getting a suitcase, a rechargeable battery, and all the audio components, I figured out how to cram it all into a suitcase and make it sound good. At first it was all for fun and for us to bring around to the park: I was living in San Francisco at the time and people started asking me about the suitcase stereo I had made and if I could make them one. So I started selling a few and eventually put some pictures on my artist website. One day it was blogged about and then ended up kind of going viral on the Internet. After all of that it become a "real" business.
How exactly do they work?
A BoomCase works with any audio device: a Phone, TV, computer, synthesizer, or a record player. Then you plug it into the AUX input on the BoomCase or connect via Bluetooth and you're good to go. The battery on the BoomCase lasts 18+ hours without needing a charge.
What is the creation / production process? What comes first?
To start a BoomCase we first choose a suitcase we want to use. Based on its size we choose a speaker design that will work well with the amount of air space the suitcase has. If the case is a certain color or has any unique elements such as a gold locks or a silver handle we will try to use speakers to compliment these features. But our first priority is sound.
Does certain music sound best out of specific models?
We build each BoomCase to sound great with any type of music, and our goal is for them to have a clear and balanced sound. But we do have a few models that are geared toward people who wish to use the BoomCase for performances or parties.
Anything exciting in the near future for BoomCase?
We have been working on a collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan this year and hope to have that out soon. Also have been working on a limited edition BoomCase for a record label that is going to be pretty sweet.
Last question: we're curious about your nickname. Who is"SiMo"?
Mr. SiMo was the name I had been using while doing my artwork: Simo is the name of a lost cousin of ours in Yugoslavia who hadn’t been heard from since the wars. So it’s an ode to him. You can check out some of my artwork here.