Bossk don’t need much introduction. Britons are well known for gracefully blending atmospheric post-rock with harsh vocals and sludge riffs. This autumn Bossk celebrated their tenth anniversary! The band will soon hit the road with OHHMS and perform at Ritual festival (8th of April, Leeds). I caught up with bassist Tom Begley to talk about their latest album 'Audio Noir,' gigs, merchandise and future plans.
The studio album 'Audio Noir' revealed another side of Bossk. I’d say the record is conceptual, whereas elegant guitar designs make me think it was extremely meticulously crafted… What digital and live instruments were used?
The creating of the album was a process that we hadn’t really tried before. We had never pieced together that much music before. Everything on the record is a live instrument, they are real strings, real accordion, real upright bass, and tons of other little textures that feature throughout the album. Was this side of our music that we really set out to experiment with this time as we hadn’t had the opportunity to really explore what we could add to our songs before. It is partly conceptual, but mainly to us, I personally feel that if you publicly lean too much on a concept for your music, then this is really what you end up talking about, rather than the music its self. Our concepts are to be interpreted however the listener wishes.
Playing live always has its challenges. What are the biggest obstacles to get Bossk sound exactly as it should sound live? Do you set up a goal to sound exactly as on the records?
We try and re create the albums feel live for sure, but some things are meant to alter slightly. We want to envelope and surround someone with our sounds for people watching us live. I want people to walk away from our live shows with a different experience to sitting at home and listening to the records.
What would you say is the primary subject matter of 'Audio Noir'? Any comments on the process of writing lyrics?
All the lyrics for all our songs are up on our website for anyone curious about them. As I don’t write them myself I can't shed too much light on any primary meanings for them. But we try and use vocals in the way we use elements of our guitar sounds. In the same way a pedal isn’t appropriate to use all the way through a certain song, can create a better overall flow to the song if used more intelligently. We also like to keep an element of a journey, and some of that journey needs to have the focus on the music.
A lot of us are waiting for your performance at Ritual fest, what can we expect from that show?
We are looking forward to coming back to Leeds for sure, it has always been the second home to this band, ever since 2005. Lots of fond memories from playing there over the years. You can expect lots of smoke and loud guitars.
photo: Ash Gollings
"...we have really come to realise how far the bands music has reached and there is nothing more motivating that continuing to tread new ground."
Bossk is a well known band across the globe! You have fans in faraway countries like my home country - Lithuania… Will you play there? You have toured so many cities and countries already! What touring means to you as a band?
We have a show scheduled in Lithuania actually, a festival called Zaibu Kilkim later this year! We are trying to branch the band out as far as it will reach, since playing again over the last 4 years or so we have really come to realise how far the bands music has reached and there is nothing more motivating that continuing to tread new ground. We try not to do too much of the same thing, and to always look for new things to challenge us with. Touring is something that we have done plenty of, but its something that we like doing sensibly these days.
Tom, you are a tour manager yourself. Could you tell more about your job?
I have been doing it for 9 years now! And have seen some crazy things in that time. I started touring when Bossk broke up, and has kept me involved in music ever since, which is great. The skills I have learnt from doing that for sure transfer over to being in a band again, and it’s something I really enjoy.
About your merchandise, when I first saw your boutique store - candles, grinder, coaster, etc… I was surprized.
Same logic applies to our merchandise as applies to our music. Anyone can make t shirts, we try and offer more than most artists, and we take a lot of pride in what we do, so naturally this carries over to our merch. I am the guy that comes up with some of that stuff, I have a lot of contacts for manufacturing unusual products, and its just about finding options that are practical. We try and offer something for everyone in every aspect of our band.
What can we expect from Bossk in the future? Any collaborations with other artists?
We are currently working on a new release, not a full album, but two new tracks and potentially a cover too. We want to keep making music past Audio Noir, and work has already begun on the next project.