Inspired by the philosophy espoused by Gabriel Roth of the Dap-Kings, which they discovered when it was summarized in an article he wrote for Big Daddy magazine, Shitty Is Pretty: Anatomy of a Heavy Funk 45, the Bamboos play old-fashioned funk and soul with a strong emphasis on repeated grooves, simplicity, and old-fashioned low-tech recording techniques.
Bamboos founding member and guitarist Lance Ferguson, who schizophrenically also releases electronic side projects under his DJ name Lanu, began the group as a four-piece in 2000 to play a string of concerts in Melbourne club The Night Cat. Joining him for this initial version of the band were Ben Grayson on Hammond organ, Stuart Speed on bass, andScott Lambie on drums, playing straightforward New Orleans funk in a style heavily influenced by the Meters. After this string of concerts, the Bamboos expanded to add a horn section consisting of Ross Irwin on trumpet, Phil Noy on baritone saxophone, and Anton Delecca on tenor saxophone and flute. New drummer Danny Farrugia and new bass player Yuri Pavlinov completed the shaken-up lineup.