Bosq is a bit of a fave of ours over here at London House Music. His energetic, global sound fuses afro-beats with house and disco, and this is a perfect fit for our dancefloors! We are thrilled to talk to the Boston native – who now calls South America home – about his new Meji Meji EP, his collaborations with Kaleta, and what’s cooking next on Bacalao.
LHM – It’s great to talk to you Ben, it’s been a while. Are you still based out in Colombia?
Bosq – To you too! I am indeed!
LHM – Where are you today and what are you up to?
Bosq – Today I’m here in Medellín in the mountains, enjoying a Sunday with my daughter and wife exploring some nature. I did sneak in some production time while my daughter napped though.
LHM – What is your history with Colombia, what drew you there first off?
Bosq – The music! I’ve always been in awe of the absolutely vast musical culture of the country, it’s a melting pot of so many things I love, from African to Caribbean to Cuban to Andean styles, all done or presented with a unique Colombian character. Physically moving here was partially about wanting to learn from the source, but more importantly about wanting to contribute as well and make sure there was an exchange between me & these musical heritages and not just a one-sided extraction. Politics of the US & it’s war machine also played a role but perhaps that’s another entire interview!
LHM – What do you love about living there today and is it your forever home?
Bosq – So many things, the fact that music is embedded in the culture & daily life, the genuine and warm way most people interact with each other, the otherworldly levels of flavor in the fruits & vegetables that we’ve bred to blandness in the US. The way that nature is constantly an imposing presence even in a large city like Medellín. We’ve been here 7+ years now! Forever, who knows, but it’s been beautiful!
LHM – Do you miss Boston / NYC at all? Do you ever get back?
Bosq – I have my little spots in Boston I miss, but other than that just friends and family. I never lived full time in NYC but was always bouncing back & forth, I do miss that at times. I do visit a lot still!
LHM – What is the root of your musical tastes? Where does your flavour stem from?
Bosq – It’s a bit of a mystery I guess! My family was fairly musical in that my uncles & dad would always have guitars out by the end of any party, singing Irish songs or Bob Dylan from what I remember haha. I was intensely obsessed with music from 9 or 10 on though, sneaking into my brothers room to dub cassettes while he was out. I distinctly remember his dual cassette deck and franticly trying to copy Black Sheep, De La Soul tapes.
LHM – Is there an album from when you were a kid that made an impression on you?
Bosq – Wu Tangs 36 Chambers without a doubt! Changed the makeup of my brain I feel like.
LHM – Who were your DJ crushes when you first started to play out? Who did you look up to?
Bosq – J Rocc, Cut Chemist, The Hollertronix super eclectic vibe that was happening when I was first playing in real clubs was pretty fun & inspiring too, Cosmo Baker!
LHM – Who are your icons that inspire you musically today?
Bosq – Uff it’s too many to list but of course Fela, The Mizell Brothers, Nina Simone, Ray Barretto, James Brown, Fruko, Tabou Combo – my idols are musicians that fuse styles and make funky musically complex political music that you can still shake your ass to!
LHM – What artists do you think are making good music at the moment?
Bosq – The French crew that are all sort of Heavenly Sweetness adjacent are great – Bruno Patchworks / Voilaaa / Pat Kalla / David Walters / Guts. K.O.G is always killing it. Nidia Gongora never misses. On the more dancehall / hip hop tip, Verito Asprilla is killing it here in Colombia too!
LHM – Are you playing out much as a DJ right now?
Bosq – Yeah I still DJ a lot. Most heavily between like April – October usually, I just did a quick European tour but the last day of that was Oct. 8th and since then I’ve been having a really hard time thinking about anything other than what my Palestinian peoples are going through, so parties just feel sort of wrong at the moment… I have some longstanding prior commitments I don’t want to cancel but other than that I don’t feel right playing & promoting a lot of gigs right now.
LHM – How do you find the global gig market at the minute?
Bosq – It’s great in many ways, but tough for niche artists like myself, like there is a ceiling if you aren’t willing to play “harder” “bigger” tracks but I’d rather stay true to myself anyways. I am always amazed and grateful for how far music travels these days though! I never thought I would consistently have these offers from all over the world. It does seem like DJ fees have stagnated a bit in relation to all the other costs involved in touring though (flights, hotels, food etc.). One thing that’s been getting to me is how homogenous things have become with edits taking over though, like the disco party sounds the same as the afro party sounds the same as the funk party in some ways because everything is quantized to the same 4 on the floor groove.
LHM – Are you playing out much on your local scene?
Bosq – Mostly just in friends bars where I can play whatever I want! Not as much with an eye on making money or anything.
LHM – Where are the hotspots in Medellin?
Bosq – This is a better question for someone without a 3 year old hahaha..
LHM – Do the venues in Medellin attract a lot of International DJs?
Bosq – Yes tons! Most of the big names tend to be either more commercial techno or Reggaeton oriented, so you aren’t getting a lot of bigger underground artists (whatever that contradiction means). There’s a weird phenomenon in Dance music in South America where it seems easier to sell tickets to whatever techno DJ with a German sounding last name happens to be making the rounds vs bringing people with strong catalogs doing interesting shit. For sure there are people championing the good stuff (like my friends Sonido Fabricato that brought me over here for the first time and introduced me to Colombia!)
LHM – What kind of vibe does your DJ set consist of? Is it all in the Latin/ afro zone or do you play outside of those genres?
Bosq – It’s a lot of that but also depends on the crowd! Definitely Disco / Funk & Soul as well, but on the right night it could also be dancehall, hip hop, roots reggae. I was a working DJ before I was a working producer so I learned how to rock all kinds of rooms and still have love for fun eclectic sets like that.
LHM – I would love to see you play a pure disco set. I get the feeling you’d be all over that. Would you?
Bosq – Absolutely! I’ve done it plenty of times before! Although I like to find the tracks that blur the lines and bleed into other styles too. Disco is beautiful like that, it’s such a perfect skeleton for all types of different sounds.
LHM – How long have you been working with Kaleta. How did you first collide?
Bosq – Just over 10 years now, we recently realized! A good friend Pablo “Bongohead” put us in touch when I was working on my first album, he was like, this guy played with Fela and he is the nicest dude ever, you have to work with him. I’m glad I listened!
LHM – What other projects is he involved in?
Bosq – He has a great Afro Funk live band called Kaleta & Super Yamba, he’s also been guesting on a ton of stuff these last few years, I think a whole lot of people have hit him up since the Purple Disco Machine version of our track came out.
LHM – Where is he based? Do you get the chance to work physically together in the studio?
Bosq – He was born in Benin, grew up in Nigeria, and now has been based in NYC for I think 20+ years, maybe even 30! All the recent music we’ve recorded all his parts together and I like it so much more than sending back and forth, I think the songs show the difference too!
LHM – What is it you love about working with Kaleta and his style?
Bosq – I describe him as like a river of musical brilliance, the ideas are constantly flowing you just have to dip a bucket in to capture some, and if you don’t they will just flow on by and be gone forever, but there will always be more coming. I love it because it’s the opposite of how I work. I’m super meticulous and kind of slow, but together it works out great because we can capture a bunch of his ideas together in the studio then back at home I can dissect, arrange, etc.
LHM – What different projects does Bosq have going on at the minute??
Bosq – I have a project with Vito Roccoforte, the drummer from The Rapture, called Body Music. We’ve been semi dormant the last year or so but we’re always trying to keep passing stuff back and forth! I also have some more tropical stuff in process, Nidia Gongora has a couple tracks I sent her that she’ll lay vocals on soon.
LHM – Have you got a live set going on and if so what is the set up?
Bosq – That’s something I’m focusing on more these days, especially for the release of the full album Kaleta & I are doing. It seems like a disservice to music that’s so live feeling to only play it in DJ sets. We’ve only played a bit but the set up was me sort of live dubbing the stems, cutting in some samples, playing a bit of percussion, while he sang and also played percussion. It’s something that we could sort of expand and contract with extra musicians when budgets and locations allowed!
LHM – Where have you performed most recently live?
Bosq – The last live thing we did was here in Medellín last year, alongside a legendary local conga player. It was super fun!
LHM – Bacalao has been going since 2019. Do you plan to have other artists on the label? Have you got anyone in your sight line?
Bosq – Honestly, I told myself I wouldn’t put out anyone elses music until I felt like I really knew what I was doing as a label head, because I had been so frustrated as the artist in situations where I didn’t feel like label knew what to do. Do I feel like I know what I’m doing yet? Absolutely not haha, and I don’t want to do a disservice to anyone else’s art. I feel like too many DJ’s / producers rushed to start labels and I don’t think the skillsets necessarily really match up, if that makes sense.
LHM – ‘Meji Meji’ is unbelievably uplifting and full of the feel-good vibes. Was it your intention to lift spirits with these tracks or did it just happen that way?
Bosq – It felt that way from the beginning when I was writing the underlying music, and Kaleta has a way of immediately discerning the vibe I had in mind with his lyrics. It’s cool because it also sort of describes our musical relationship, the lyrics are in Yoruba and he explained that it’s sort of like “2 heads are better than 1” and about working in harmony towards a greater goal.
LHM – Have you ever made more sombre music or are you committed to always being on the up?
Bosq – Somber I’m not sure, maybe a few tracks on my first album, but me & Kaleta have done a bunch of angrier political tunes – Liars & Thieves, Takeover, and most pertinent to now “Gatekeeper” in which we called out the inhumane treatment of refugees worldwide and specifically called on Netenyahu to tear down the separation apartheid walls. It’s really a track about the liberation of oppressed people everywhere. I think it’s important for artists to take stances on these issues.
LHM – Folamour is quite a coup! Don’t think he does a lot of remixes. How did you manage to get him on board?
Bosq – He’s a really great and quite humble dude, we’ve been in contact for some time since he’s been playing my tracks in his sets for a while now. We’ve always been talking about working on something together and I asked him if he wanted to remix something off this 12 because I thought both tracks fit his vibe, he killed it! Hopefully we’ll do some original tracks together too in the near future.
LHM – We would love to see you in the UK. Have you got any dates coming up?
Bosq – Not at the moment! I’m trying my hardest to focus on being home with my family and making music right now but the summer ‘24 offers are starting to pile up so I need to get to thinking and planning all that soon!
LHM – It’s always a joy when a new Bosq track hits your inbox. What should we expect next from you?
Bosq – The full album with Kaleta! We’ve been working on it whenever we can get together for a while now, it would have been done already but we keep adding tracks (and they keep getting better!) haha. I’m going to record a few more things here in Colombia, he’s going to record a few more things in Benin later this month, then we should be able to wrap it up and have it out in April maybe?
LHM – Great to talk to you Ben! x
Bosq – Thanks for having me!