Roots & Influences Mix #12: Bosq
Written by James Zaremba on 26th March 2018
From the gritty streets of North London to the colourful sounds of Fela Kuti’s Nigera – Bosq takes us on a tour through the music that has defined his sound and influenced his life as a musician.
Ahead of his forthcoming double LP release, Love and Resistance on Ubiquity Records, Bosq dives into the sounds that have built him up as an artist – many of which he has since edited into dancefloor-ready cuts, taking influence from his frequent journeys around the US, South America and beyond…
Words by Bosq:
Hamilton Bohannon – South African Man
I love Bohannon, his music has been a massive influence on me; not just because it’s funky as hell, groovy, danceable, but it’s also musically sophisticated in an effortless way, without being pretentious. I mean, how many disco tracks are in 9/8?
Convertion – Let’s Do It
I think I was playing more with sounds from this era when working on the new album. I’ve always loved early 80’s disco – that moment before everything got super synthed-out later on. On my first records I leaned more towards organic sounds. It could be that I wasn’t as confident in my ability to play funky synth shit… I don’t know. But this record to me encapsulates a lot about what I love from that era; still plenty of congas, percussion and piano – but starting to evolve into the next movement.
A Patotinha – Não Empurre, Não Force (Joutro Mundo Edit)
Another early 80’s disco-boogie masterpiece, but this time the Brazilian cover version. This isn’t one of those tracks where I can pinpoint being inspired to bring in a specific sound or progression directly from the record, but it’s something I was listening to an awful lot and I know seeped into the musical soup in my brain.
Emilio Santiago – O Amigo de Nova York
An incredible cut that informed the writing of the album in all sorts of subtle ways. More than anything else it’s the energy and vibe it brings that inspires me.
Kiki Gyan – Disco Dancer
An all-time keyboard master, wonderful singer and great songwriter too. The way Kiki Gyan so effortlessly blends deep gritty disco sounds with subtle West African influence is incredible. The synth work on his records is especially inspiring to me because they are often pretty simple, even though he was a world class keyboard player, but incredibly infectious and groovy.
Touch – Love Hangover
I’ve always loved this version, and I love instrumental jazzy funky disco jam sessions. I’m always striving to catch that feeling and sound, it’s hard when you don’t have a band though. I love how free this track feels, I also love the instrumentation: Rhodes, horns, funky bass, guitar and of course percussion and disco drums are my palette of choice because of records like this.
The Fatback Band – Midnite (Lee Douglas edit)
Pretty disco is cool but dark, heavy-disco with a groove that makes you curl your upper lip is really the best. Fatback is, of course, one of the bands that made me want to make music in the first place. I love the simple lyrics and laid-back delivery too. A brilliant track!
Hi-Tension – Hi-Tension (Bosq’s Quick Edit)
In the realm of heavy, funky, groove-based disco like Brass Construction and Fatback – these kinds of tracks really pushed me because they are so beautifully simple. You don’t need super complex musical ideas to create something great. That helped me get over the fear of writing music and feeling insecure for lack of proper musical education. Don’t get me wrong, I think the basics are absolutely paramount to making good music but well layered simple ideas together can be something incredible.
Cymande – Bra (Ritual Session – Danny Krivit Edit)
Another blueprint track for me. Of course Cymande is an all-time great and the depth with which they blend jazz, funk, afro-latin styles is something I will always strive to equal (but never will!)
Roy Ayers – Get on Up (Kon Multi Remix)
Roy is someone who makes it into everything I do. Even when it’s a completely unrelated style of music, the way he voices chords, the way he makes these beautiful ethereal environments come to life in each track… To have had the opportunity to help out in the studio with Kon on this edit was incredible too, getting to see the original session in my DAW and how they had put the track together, inspiring to say the least! I feel like I’m saying that word a lot but I guess this is an inspirations mix…
Power Line – Double Journey
Doing a lot with a little is the name of the game on this jam! The way arrangers, remixers and engineers at that time really freaked all the elements of the track and used them to their fullest is something I try to do. This is an example but there’s also so much that Walter Gibbons, John Morales, Larry Levan and more did that I also study to the fullest.
Ingram – Mi Sabrina Tequana
Jazzy and deep as hell but you can still dance to it! That’s a favorite combination of mine. I think I got introduced to this because it’s a B-boy classic but damn if it isn’t a masterpiece in being deep, complex and still an ass mover.
Mystic Djim & The Spirits – Yaoundé Girls
The sonic aesthetic in this track is definitely something that strikes me; lo-fi and gritty and funky. Of course, the drum patterns in a lot of this African music (Cameroon to be specific on this one) infiltrates nearly all of my music. I don’t think I had even heard this before I finished ‘Alode‘, but both are pulling from really similar influences so it gives it a similar feel.
Fela Kuti – Roforofo Fight (Bosq Rework)
I couldn’t do an influences mix without Fela of course… picking a track was the hard part. Musically of course, Afrobeat is in everything I do in some way, but also his commitment to standing up against injustice, no matter the cost. The way he was able to incorporate that into his music so potently without any detriment to the music itself is incredible and in a class of its own.
Donald Byrd – Street Lady
Another musician I could never leave out when it comes to my influences. Between Street Lady, Places & Spaces, and Stepping into Tomorrow, I have spent easily thousands of hours listening to the man’s music and being inspired by him and the Mizell brothers. It’s a common theme that I’m impressed by complex musicality and danceability but I guess when it’s just one of the two I get bored!