From the disco hits of Donna Summer to the classical compositions of the Second New England School, Boston’s music scene has always been one of extreme diversity and innovation. So it should come as no surprise that producer Bosq (born Ben Woods) created his unique blend of electronic and world music right here in the Hub.
Working with live musicians on every track of his recent release Celestial Strut, Bosq has managed to find the sonic sweet spot when it comes to blending instrumentation and production. “[There are] limitations of working in a small set up that kind of force you to make certain decisions,” Bosq reflects. “For instance, even if I wanted to sound completely like a live band I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, so I have to work that balance.”
I think finding your sound is a function of smashing your ideas up against your limitations and then making the best of it. I got good at layering sounds because I wanted to achieve some semblance of complexity but didn’t have the musical chops to do it on any one instrument, and now in a lot of ways that is part of what defines my sound.
Oftentimes, the life of a producer is a solitary one while in the studio. But Bosq’s heavy reliance on instrumentalists has resulted in a distinctive production style that defies this notion. When discussing the pros and cons of working so closely with live musicians, Bosq is quick to point out “it’s a challenge in that you have to try and communicate what’s in your head to someone else,” he says. “But that process is valuable I think because it makes you critique your own ideas as you present them, and with someone else then applying their expertise to that it only makes the finished product stronger.”
Bosq’s style relies heavily on Afro-Latin music, which he stumbled upon randomly one day after discovering Latin funk and salsa artist Ray Barretto. As a kid growing up on hip-hop, Bosq also chalks his interest in funk and soul up to the samples used by so many of those early producers. “Usually the first question I get asked in an interview is something along the lines of ‘so you’re white, why do you like all of Afro-Latin stuff so much?” he explains. “I always want to say, ‘I don’t know man how does everyone else not?!’”
I got my first set of beat up turntables when I graduated 8th grade so I started on that pretty early – I begged my dad to buy them for me at a pawn shop in Brooklyn while we were visiting my cousin and I had no idea what I was doing. Let me tell you the learning curve was STEEP.
Not one to stay pinned down to a single style for too long, Bosq has been spending his days as of late working on some new tunes that expand on the style he’s come to be known for. “I’ve […] just written a bunch of new disco, funk, soul, [and] house tracks that I’ll be working out vocalists for in the coming months,” he says. “If I don’t always have a ton of unreleased material stashed I start to get nervous.” With an EP getting pressed on vinyl under Soul Clap records in the coming months and an album recorded in Puerto Rico this summer just waiting for a release date, it doesn’t seem like Bosq has much to worry about.
Want to learn how to make your own original productions based off of all the different music genres you love, just like Bosq? Schedule a tour of the Mmmmaven studios today.