The Bostonion Bosq has long been a favorite for heady fans of afrolatin and soul grooves. Having started as the production arm of duo Whiskey Barons, known for stealthy edits of the global soul variety, Bosq has been churning out consistently solid releases — 12″ singles, EPs and LPs alike — for the last five years. As a solo artist, the producer is renown for integrating the classic inspirations of african and latin dance musics into his contemporary melange. Whether through his uncanny work as an official remixer or his flavorful originals — Bosq is a bet for fans of tropically-inspired dance music. Lend an eye and an ear respectively to our interview with the man himself, and his entry for our MIXED BY/ series ahead of his next album “Love and Resistance” on Ubiquity records.
Alright, I’ve searched around and can’t find the answer to this: how did you land on the name “Bosq”?
It’s actually very unexciting – it’s sort of an abbreviation of my last name, woods, in spanish. I also like that it represents something organic and natural which is a feeling & sound I try to imbue my music with.
How’s life in Antioquia? Are you playing out much in Colombia?
It’s incredible! I’ve felt really welcomed by both the music community and the local community that I live in. Me and my wife are just constantly filled with gratitude for the opportunity to live there. I’ve been djing something like once a month, I’m trying to not oversaturate my presence you know? I’d like it to still be somewhat of a rare event that I’m playing. I’ve been focusing a lot more on production and writing and practicing instruments than playing out in the last year or so.
It seems you’re still hitting the states quite regularly. Who’s holding it down in Boston these days, anyway?
Yeah I make it over every few months, and then whenever I line up some gigs I make it a point to go see my family while I’m around. In terms of nightlife in Boston I’m not sure whats going on these days. Serge Gamesbourg is a great dj / producer (& bass player) who is still there, Kon is still in and out. My homie Oliver aka Gucci Vuitton is making good things happen both on the music scene and in the fashion world with his shop Bodega. My friends CLLCTV throw great parties too especially their sunday day party called “The Wave”.
Love and Resistance marks your fourth LP. Have you approached it differently than Celestial Strut, or any of your prior albums?
It’s still the same basic approach for me on these Ubiquity albums, they are like a mix tape for me sort of, I like them to have a flow and a variety that is similar to how I DJ. It’s been a good and bad approach for me I think, on the one hand I never get bored but on the other hand it’s a lot easier to market something that is a little more narrow. I’ve never been good at doing things in a marketable way though, haha. I will say I definitely feel it’s another step forward though. Musically, I’m learning a lot between each record and understanding theory and songwriting better as I go. The first record sounds really simple to me in a lot of ways now. I still like it and stand by it but Im always after making things a little more musically interesting.
What’s it been like working with Ubiquity over the years, both on the albums and the 12” singles you’ve dropped through them?
All in all it’s been great! We’ve had to navigate a rapidly changing music business landscape together but they’ve been really supportive of basically whatever I want to do. I think, especially in the beginning, they helped me think bigger and worry more about really executing my vision instead of trying to do everything as cheaply as possible or something.
We had an interesting discussion a few months ago on social media about edits and properly crediting artists. . . in the past you’ve also mentioned that the Whiskey Barons got in trouble for copyright issues and you wanted to credit originals going forward. On that topic: what advice would you give aspiring and current editors alike on how to tastefully ply their trade and release their versions?
Yes, this is really important I think. The trouble we got in with Whiskey Barons wasn’t necessarily about crediting artists, because we always did that aside from the very first bootleg 12”, but because we had done an entire mixtape of bootleg remixes from the Fania catalog. Luckily they preferred to work towards doing stuff legit instead of just a cease & desist. The problem I have spoken out about a lot recently is the current rash of uncredited bootleg edits that seem to be flooding the market. A lot of these are just some rearrangement, a kick drum and some filters and are being labeled as an original track by the editor.
It’s fucked up in a lot of ways, the most obvious being that you are just straight up stealing someones work and calling it your own, but they are also seriously muddying the waters for people who are doing original music. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me what the original track is for my originals. Something that’s just more of an annoyance is the ridiculous amount of edits flooding the market and taking space from original artists, like you see these year end or monthly lists of “top disco tracks” or something and it’s 9 edits and one original. I also think the too many edits thing is just making parties more boring and vanilla but maybe I’m just a salty old man, haha.
I do have to check myself here too though because I had kind of given myself a pass like, well I’m clearly crediting the original artist so it’s ok to sell these un licensed remixes but after that convo I realized that’s just another lame excuse, so I’ve stopped selling or giving out anything that’s not either original or an official remix. We kid ourselves that these are some kind of a service but we’re all just doing these edits to further out reputations and get gigs on the backs of other artists work.
I still didn’t really answer your actual question though, did I!? I would say if you want to do edits to make tracks more playable for your own sets, go crazy! But they should not be looked at as a shortcut for building your profile as an artist. Don’t release them for free or for sale without permission. If you are absolutely set on releasing them the LEAST you can do is title it properly so people know who actually made the music. Just think about how you’d feel if someone took your edit, changed it slightly then released it as their own? You’d probably not be psyched, and I guarantee whoever wrote the original spent a lot more time and money working on that than you did the edit. I would also say don’t be afraid of playing original tracks from the 60s and 70s, theres an energy in the tempo fluctuations and imperfections and dynamics that can get lost in an edit. Of course some edits are great and really useful, but a 2 hour set of them is, to me, super boring.
Similarly, has your general shift towards original instrumentation over the last five or so years been motivated by the complicated nature of sample-based music these days?
I don’t think so because when I think about it, I never really made sample-based music. The edits and remixes were always reworkings of entire tracks basically, and when it came time to make my own stuff, more in-depth sampling just wasn’t my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I think sampling can be done in incredibly creative and amazing ways and I’ve been listening to sample based hip-hop by whole life, but it’s just not the way I hear things. It amazes me when people can hear something immediately know how they are going to chop and flip it, my ear just always worked better building from the ground up.
You’ve had some fun EPs in the last year or so — Body Music and the Poly Rythmo Edits come to mind — that sort of expand your current catalogue a bit beyond the Ubiquity drops. Anything else in the pipeline we should be looking out for?
Thank you! And yes definitely! I’ve actually got another full album coming out later in the spring on Fania Records, it’s more heavily rooted in Afro-Latin sounds than this Ubiquity album. We also have another Body Music single lined up, and are working on a bunch more material this week while I’m in NYC. I did a remix in a similar vein of the Poly Rythmo project for Hot Casa records out of France and I think we’re just waiting to get the clearance all sorted out but that should be summertime I think.
Interview by Martín