Behind the Music: Interview with boci

‘The style of each track on the album took inspiration from what I was listening to at the time.’

With her debut album, ‘we are each other, this will set us free’, arriving 31st August 2022, I chatted with new artist boci to discover more about the musical era she’s currently in, her creative process, and the wider impact music has had on her. 

Hi boci, thanks for taking the time to chat. Please introduce yourself to your future listeners.
Hello fellow beings. My name is boci (pronounced “bocky”) and I’m a songwriter and violin looper based in Bristol, UK.  

What 5 words best describe your sound?
Cosmic, folky, groovy, raw and therapeutic

Who/what are your main inspirations?
My main inspirations change very frequently. In the ‘era’ I’m currently in though, I would say Bjork, because of her courageous creativity and her ability to connect deeply with a broad range of listeners. I grew up listening to artists like Bon Iver, Laura Marling, Alt-J and Bombay Bicycle Club and am inspired by many folk musicians and traditions as well as contemporary classical composers like Max Richter and Arooj Aftab. I also love electropop, old jazz and math rock. Its just a huge mixture to be honest!

Turning to your utterly beautiful debut album, why was now the right time to release it?
Thank you for saying its beautiful! Um, I suppose I came to a point in my life where I had let go of everything that I thought was going to keep me happy and fulfilled and didn’t feel I had much to lose anymore. I met my producer Tom Campbell at this time and our musical tastes and ambitions were aligned in the right way I guess. I’ve always wanted to make music and release it but this time, a lot of things came together at the right time. Tom is having a baby very soon so we had to make sure the album was finished and released before the arrival of his tiny human!

“Music has given me better self confidence and better self esteem.”

What is the meaning behind the album’s title?
The title ‘we are each other, this will set us free’ is a statement – almost a hypothesis I suppose – that encapsulates the philosophy that I have developed over the past 7 years, informed by Buddhist and Vegan philosophy. It means we are all connected to each other – to everything, that there is no real separation. This illusion of separation and individualism is so destructive. Meditating on this sentiment has really helped me through some tough times, as it makes me feel less alone and part of something beyond ego.

In what setting was the majority of the album written and did this influence it’s journey?
I actually wrote a lot of the album whilst we were recording it. I had 7(ish) songs when we started recording in September 2021 and I was processing some deep losses at this time so songs were kind of pouring out of me. I soon asked Tom if we could make an album instead of an EP and he was like “yeah sure, let’s do it”. It feels like I haven’t really thought about anything but this album since then.

Across the release we experience elements of folk, jazz, minimalism and experimental, as well as more classically centred compositional moments. How did you decide where to incorporate these styles?
Because I love such a wide range of genres, the incorporation of these styles happened pretty naturally and with inspiration coming from what I was listening to at the time. I think I just went with the feeling they gave me when I wrote them and the response I got from people at gigs.

And linked with this, did any of the sonic centre of any tracks change dramatically?
Ooh..yes! When I first wrote ‘Getting High’ it was just a 60 second voice note, and I originally imagined this being how it appeared on the album. Almost like a bit of a joke track. But I sent it to my producer and he liked it so much that we made it into a “proper” jazz song – strings, harp, muted trumpet and all! 

Looking back, what was the most special moment of the entire album process?
Agh there’s been so many special moments it’s really hard to pick one! The first thing that came to mind though, was when me and Tom recorded ‘Out Beyond’ – this is definitely the most special song on the album for me. It’s so vulnerable and raw. When we recorded it, there was just so much energy and creativity and emotion pouring out. I honestly felt high on music!  

Looking forward, how do you feel knowing the album will be out for all to hear very soon?
I’m a weird, juxtaposing mix of terrified and really chill. It doesn’t really feel real. If I look past the fear, I’m definitely excited too. I really want to hear what people think of it and hear what it makes them feel. 

Two of the tracks which feature have previously been released as live versions. To what extent did these require re-working for the studio setting?
The parts that you hear in the live videos are the same in the album, we just added drums, harp and strings (and clarinet and synths in one) on top. The fuller arrangements came pretty organically to be honest. The musicians that I had come and play on those two tracks are all really musically sensitive and creative, so the parts we came up with were in line with that.

Other than yourself, who else was involved in the process of creating the album and what did they bring to it?
So I’ve already mentioned Tom Campbell, who recorded, mixed, produced and mastered the album, but he also wrote parts, played multiple instruments and provided a lot of support in various ways. I could not have done it without him! I had lots of different Bristol musicians contributing to the album too, including a wonderful harpist called Emmy Broughton, vocalist Pearl Love and bassist extraordinaire Liam O’Connell to name a few!

“Since September 2021, it feels like I haven’t really thought about anything but this album.” 

How do your different creative disciplines impact the connection between your sound and the visuals that accompany them? 
I’m a hooper and express myself a lot through movement, even when I’m just speaking. I think movement is an important part of creative expression for me, and so I want to incorporate it into my music videos. I feel that movement can create another dimension of emotional impact. It’s something I want to incorporate more into my live shows too.

And finally, what has music enabled you to do that you would have never thought possible? 
Ooh this is a deep question. I could give a lot of different answers. I think it’s given me better self confidence and self esteem which is something I thought I would always struggle a lot with. I still have bad days but it’s so much better thanks to the connection, purpose and joy that music brings me. 

Thanks boci for chatting with Listen to Discover.
Photography Credit: Alice Farrington
boci’s debut album ‘we are each other, this will set us free’ is out 31st August 2022.

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