Bosq & Pat Kalla have been traveling parallel paths from across the Atlantic ocean without ever intersecting for too long. They have both been deeply involved in the modern / retro Afro Disco scenes in their respective countries but it wasn’t until the legendary French producer & label head GUTS asked Bosq to remix Pat Kalla & Le Super Mojo “Canette” that they met musically. That remix was received so well by the public as well as the artists themselves that they decided to work on an original track together.
“Mouna Power”, sung in a mix of French, English & the Cameroonian dialect of Pat’s heritage places Pat’s smooth vocals over Bosq’s raw & heavily layered, percussion & horn driven Disco Funk. The Dance Dub strips back some of the vocals, pushes the percussion even further up in the mix, and stretches out the grooves, focusing more on the infectious B-section than the original. This makes for a perfect body moving excursion that will let the dancers delve deeper into the groove while being carried along by the horn blasts and Pat’s chanted vocals. The record features the renowned horn section of the Bogota Orquesta Afrobeat, and djembe work from “Beto” Salas, a world class percussionist from Turbo on Colombias Caribbean coast. Bosq as usual handles all the rest of the percussion, instrumentation & production.
Artist: BOSQ feat. Pat Kalla
Title: Mouna Power
Release Date: 2021-04-16
Interview with BOSQ
Where does the name Bosq comes from what does it mean? It’s a simple one! It’s my last name translated into Spanish and shortened. It came at a time when I was going through a bunch of name changes quickly and trying to decide on one. I had to finalize the contract with Ubiquity for my first album and needed a definite name to stick to. Sometimes I feel like changing it but the whole artist persona / branding thing does not interest me at all so I never end up putting too much thought or energy into it haha.
Your music spans Latin, Samba and Afro beat and this is just a few of the styles you touch. Is this part of your roots and heritage? No! The only heritage I have any real connection to is Irish, but like everyone in the US I’m probably a bunch of things. That’s one of the main reasons I feel like it’s so important for me to approach this music with respect, admiration, and be responsible about how I am influenced by it. It’s really easy these days for anyone to borrow any sound from any culture, so I think you have to make sure that you do it thoughtfully, while including people who are from those cultures in a meaningful way that also benefits them. This is a big reason that I’m in Colombia now working and sharing ownership of my music with artists that are carrying on the traditions of the music that has influenced me.
How did your love of these sounds come to pass? Ever since I was a little kid certain types of music have just totally captivated me to the point of obsession. First it was hiphop, then dancehall & reggae, later on it was Funk & Disco, West African & Latin sounds. I’ve remained obsessed with all of them! I think my gateways into Afro Latin music were Felt Kuti & Ray Barretto because they both had so much influence from James Brown and the Funk and Soul that I was already heavy into at that time.
What took you to Puerto Rico? I was invited to go spend about 2 weeks recording with the Candela All-Stars with the idea we’d get a whole album done and release it together. There’s been a ton of problems with the distribution of the record thanks to various bankruptcies and corporate acquisitions, but I still love how the record turned out.
And then to Colombia? A lot of what I mentioned earlier was the motive, but what gave me my first opportunity to visit was being invited to come to Medellín and play a party with Sonido Fabricato at the great club Salon Amador. I fell in love with the city, and had already been a fan of Colombian music for many years because of it’s history of being an incredible melting pot of styles from all over the world. So it made a lot of sense as a place to relocate to if I was going to seriously hold myself accountable about doing this as respectfully as possible and as part of a community rather than from afar.
Was it a big culture shock for someone from Boston? Yeah a little bit, I mean, when you travel constantly to DJ you get pretty good at adapting to different countries and environments, you sort of feel like you are from everywhere and nowhere at the same time to a degree. But it’s very different passing through somewhere for a week vs. living full time, getting visas and learning the ropes of a new system. I think at this point I feel more at home here than the US though.
Tell us what instruments you play? I know it’s a lot! I always say I play a lot of instruments, but none well hahaha. My problem is I always want to learn more instead of mastering a few, but I do get them down enough to be able to record what I need (even if that means doing it in a few parts sometimes). The instruments I’ve played on records would be – Keyboards of all types, Bass, Guitar, Trumpet, Saxophone, Congas (and all types of other percussion), maybe something else I’m missing but that’s most of em! I definitely am not shy about reaching out to professionals when my chops don’t cut it. So most of the horns on my records are played by true horn players, same with a lot of the guitar.
How did you learn to play so many things? Are you self-taught? Yeah totally self taught! Just messing around with instruments I could get my hands on, Youtube lessons & tutorials, and trying to figure out songs I love.
What do you think it is about people who play multiple instruments? What connects them? Why can they get a tune out of so many different objects? think for me at least, it’s just that I can imagine the sounds I want to get out of an instrument before I have even touched it, so that makes it easier, like I just need to figure out a few little things to be able to start recording. I think if you come at it with the idea of wanting to master it or something like that it might be a slower process that would make multiple instruments harder. I also look at things on a very long timetable, like ok, maybe I’ll be a decent guitar player by the time I’m in my 50’s haha.
You seem to have hooked up with lots of old soul musicians and artists along the way. Do you have a connection with older souls? That could certainly be part of it, and another part is wanting to pay my respects. Like why would I ask a young singer to try and copy the style of an older generation while they are still here! I also think it helps draw connections, show my influences and hopefully introduce artists who have been around for a long time to a newer generation.
You have five albums of original material which is quite something in this time. I was reading only yesterday something that Francois K wrote – about how people don’t take the time to create their own sounds with original samples, let alone play instruments. What makes you want to take such a natural and organic approach to your music? Writing / producing & playing is something I would do whether it was my career or not, there’s really no high quite like spending all day playing the different layers and seeing something start to come together. It’s just infinitely more fun & rewarding to me also, to craft something from nothing than to just use the same old loops or, worse even, just add a kick drum to an existing track and call it my own! When I switched to all original music I was just getting disgusted by how many people were making careers off of doing almost nothing to a track and taking all the credit. I also felt like I really wanted to add something new and original and not just do edits to try and get a higher booking fee or something. I also love imperfection and the “liveness” and energy of more organic music so I think that’s also part of why I’ve gone this route.
You play all the instruments on your tracks right? I guess that means the production of each track takes a long time? Or is it the opposite as you are in control of everything? I usually play a majority, up until I reach sort of a wall or a block, that’s when I’ll reach out to really great horn players or a singer to take the track to the next level. Every now and then I do the whole thing start to finish alone (“Riding High” for example). Some tracks I’ve done start to finish in one day, some I’ve made & remade & remade again until they were right, even if it takes years. This record Mouna Power was something I made a few years ago, scrapped, came back to, started (almost) from scratch and rebuilt again during the pandemic. I think we did the horns in Bogotá at least 2 years ago.
Do you still do edits with/ as the Whiskey Barons? Not for a long time! I think the last project we did was 2015-ish. We’re still good homies though.
How did you hook up with Orchestre Poly Rhythmo de Cotonou? My friends at Sol Power records had a connection with their manager Aliou (who I later met in Marseille, France) and they approached me with the idea of doing an edit or two. We had a hard time narrowing down which tracks I would do so just decided to go for a whole EP! It was such an honor for me to work with that material because that’s one of my favorite Bands of all time. Even better was hearing that they liked them!
Is that correct that your wife sang on one of your tracks? Is she a working singer? Have you collaborated on lots of stuff? Yes she has! (how did you know?!) Only one track so far, and she made up an alias and made me promise not to tell anyone it was her hahaha. She’s not a “singer” by trade but has a beautiful voice. I’m sure we will do more together, it just can’t be forced. The one we did so far was easy because I had the chorus in my head already and we finished the rest of the lyrics together so it flowed very naturally.
You’ve just become a father. How is that going for you? It’s beautiful, and tiring and amazing and hard and I wouldn’t trade it for anything! It really was pretty amazing timing as our daughter was born in August during the pandemic. Usually it would be almost impossible for me to take a whole 2 years off of touring but of course this year it wasn’t even an option, so we were able to be together just about every day of my wife’s pregnancy and so far every day of my daughters first 7 months. I feel extremely fortunate. So far my daughter seems to be most obsessed with my Bass guitar so that might be the first instrument 🙂
What’s the best musical advice you’ve been given and who was it from? More so than words, I’ve gotten such a great example from working with Kaleta. He’s shown me that you just need to keep making music no matter what, not get too hung up on the business side or egos, and great music will flow.
If you weren’t making music, what do you think you’d be doing now? It’s possible I would have made more of an effort / push to continue with American Football into a professional league (I played into Div. 1aa in college, but really glad I gave it up with all the new information about brain injuries) but more likely something in progressive politics as that’s been one of my other life long obsessions.
What is your advice to young people trying to make it in music? Don’t chase trends because they always end faster than you think. Focus on your craft over everything else. Don’t feel pressured to jump right in to being a “full-time” producer / DJ!
Who do you think is an artist to watch? I’ve been digging the new Bejuco record (group from Colombias pacific coast), My friend Dorkas from the Atlantic coast. I have to say I’m somewhat out of touch from DJing so much less!
What should we look out for with you this coming year? I have a few more singles ready to go that I just need to decide when to release, the Body Music project I do with Vito Roccoforte from The Rapture has a few more singles lined up, and I’ve got a bunch of finished remixes ready to come out whenever those labels decide to release them! Definitely no slowing down over here haha.