Smelting Sound With Boston’s Own Bosq

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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.

To keep up to date with Bosq and all of his new releases, make sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Go deeper behind Ben’s process at Drip.fm

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.

An Update on our Artists

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Our affiliated artists continue to produce and get wavey around the world.

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Just commandeered the LED video wall at @RoyaleBoston to open for #BIGFREEDIA @mmmmaven #BOSTON #BOUNCE

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This was the scene at Royale Boston Sunday night before true debauchery and masterful booty manipulation took place. Then this happened…

Nate Bluhm aka Begbick continues his Thursday night residency at Club Cafe and recently made headlines playing the first-ever all-LGBTQ music festival.

Switching gears, #MakeItNew resident DJ and Boston musician John Barera has a new LP coming out with fellow Boston producer Will Martin and “Graceless” is poised to be one of the biggest LPs of the year. They made a DJ chart to commemorate the release. You can view the whole chart here. Some of my favorites are below.

You should also take a look at this interview with Barera and Martin conducted by electronicbeats.net. Both artists speak very candidly about their creative process.

John Barera & Will Martin — “My whole life is trial and error.”

Durkin continues his ascent as a pioneer of dreamclub. His “U Guessed It” rework has been played over 8,000 times in 11 days. Catch him at Zuzu regularly for Central Air and don’t sleep on his productions for Dorchester’s own Black El.

Update: Durkin just premiered a remix at Run The Trap.

Ricardo Donoso is also doing big things. A year ago, we got to witness the premiere of his “A Song for Echo” at the Hayden Planetarium. A Song for Echo was released last week, and is the soundtrack to a film of the same name by Julie Nymann. Resident Advisor did a nice synopsis about the album.

Not to be overlooked, Bosq via the Whiskey Barons recently completed a jaunt to Europe, including this appearance in Brussels.

Do not sleep on his recent productions with the soulstress Nicole Willis:

This is just a few of the stories of these Boston artists. There’s more where that came from. Follow our agency on Twitter to keep up:

Get involved in music via our Ableton classes. Most of our talented artists use the program, why shouldn’t you? Email Sarah to get started.

Bosq in Remezcla, Wax Poetics, New Mix, Plays Friday

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Throughout the world cup, local Latin culture guide Remezcla has had its finger on the pulse. And now they’re adding a soundtrack component and called upon our own Bosq of Whiskey Barons.

“Unless you’re fine listening to “Magalenha” and “Nossa, Nossa” for the zillionth time, I suggest you start expanding your samba playlist (yeah, I’m talking to you, lazy DJs).”

Cop his re-edit of Os Originais do Samba here.

There’s definitely nothing lazy about Bosq, which you can tell from his interview with well-respected music blog Wax Poetics on his newest release on Ubiquity, cleverly titled “Bosqtucada.”

“Bosqtucada” is an orgasm of drums. How did you create the track?

Just layers and layers and layers. I used a mix of live percussion, lots of Maschine without over quantizing anything, chopping up whistles, using some Kontakt instruments. I just really focused on simple patterns stacked and stacked on each other.

Read the full interview and listen to the orgasm over here.

CLLCTV BOSTON recorded Bosq’s recent DJ set at their party on Sunday. Tune into that below.

And finally if you want to hear him do this thing then DO YOUR THING is coming back to Zuzu Bar this Friday night. Gonna get hot in there.

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Want Bosq at your World Cup viewing party? The answer is yes and you can start by emailing Alex today.

Want to be like Bosq? That’s easy, too. Send a message to our director of admissions, Sarah Hoffman and add technology to your musical ability and watch what happens to your career.

ICYMI: Bosq – Cassete Latino EP

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For those of you who think we only do “EDM,” did you know we do salsa? If you can’t believe your eyes, believe your ears and check out Bosq‘s new EP. Bosq is a member of Whisky Barons, a DJ duo here in Boston known for remixing their own salsa, funk, and afro beats. This EP was a great follow-up to Whiskey Baron’s recent release: 6 remixes of Fania Record’s Latin tracks.

In the midst of recording his second acoustic album (listen to the first if you haven’t yet), Bosq made an EP exclusively for Cassette Blog as a part of their EP series. He wanted to make a salsa album in order to go back to his roots and to play with his more intuitive side. With every song that hits you, you can tell he’s achieved his goal. His remixes give the songs new life, making them ready for the global bass and Latin bass dance floors.