Bossk are a very unique band, they’ve weaved multiple genres to create a sound that has made them a well respected band with a growing international following that loves them. Speaking to bassist Tom Begley, we talked about their recent gigs, the re-release of I and II, working with Holy Roar Records, Audio Noir, drugs in metal and the follow up to Audio Noir.
Jack: Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Tom Begley (Bass): Doing very well, busy rehearsing for our upcoming shows.
Jack: In September you played the Underworld with Minsk, Kowloon Walled City and Wren. How did you find that show?
Tom: Was a great show, we have a lot of fond memories from playing the Underworld, and to be part of such a strong lineup was great. Lots of gear for us to nerd out over.
Jack: You also returned to Damnation. How was it play to Damnation to an over capacity room?
Tom: Again such good memories from this festival. Our performance there shortly after reforming over four years ago is one of the reasons why this band continued to play shows. Leeds has always shown this band so much support over the years. One of the best shows we played in 2016.
Jack: The show was the last time you played material from the first album, why are you no longer playing material from this album?
Tom: We had wanted to perform the first album in full for a while anyway, and this felt the right time to put that material behind us and focus on the next chapter of our music. Those songs form the beginning of the band, and we now want it to be about the future.
Jack: Audio Noir was one of my favourite albums of 2016 and it’s a sentiment shared by many fellow writers as it’s appeared in many end of year lists. How does it feel to have it appear in many end of year lists?
Tom: Honestly very flattering, and very rewarding. As we haven’t released new material in such a long time, to see so many people relate to it is great. We have always appealed to a broad audience, so to see if feature alongside all kinds of different artists is a big deal to all of us. We are very proud of the record.
Jack: In February you’ll be re-releasing you long requested I and II on CD and Vinyl through Holy Roar Records, how does it feel to have your first record repressed and discussed again by fans and journalists?
Tom: Feels great, a lot of people have asked us about this over the years since we reformed, and its always something we had wanted to do. This music formed the platform the band is now on, and we always want to tie things together. So to have one of the best UK labels re release it is a great feeling.
Jack: A vinyl repress of your debut has been requested for a long time. How does it feel knowing there has been a large demand for a repress?
Tom: A few of us are music completists, who enjoy journeying back through a new bands back catalogue. I think its important to be able to do that with your favourite bands, gives you an idea of how they ended up sounding how they sound now. Im glad people can now own a copy of this again.
Jack: Did listening to the repress bring back fond memories of the recording process?
Tom: It did! We all spoke at great length about the memories we had from recording, we’d not played live before we released that first record, so we were about as fresh as you can get, with no real experience of being a proper band. We learnt so much in between the two records, its great to have the chance to now enjoy them back to back, but sounding better than the originals.
Jack: How has the recording process changed since creating the first album?
Tom: So much, and also not much. Some aspects have changed completely, others have stayed exactly the same. We always wanted our songs to form part of a journey or experience for the listener, and for us, rather than just a series of riffs strung together. We were all very young making our first music, and now we are all in our 30s. The bands dynamic has never been better. We each understand each other roles in the band a lot better now.
Jack: Magnus Lindburg remastered the album, what was it like working with him?
Tom: Fantastic as always, he mastered and mixed the II album, and he has always been a great friend to us even since those early days. Very direct, very efficient, Magnus is no nonsense, and very to the point. Same as the rest of Cult of Luna, and we have all learned a lot from touring with those guys over our career. To have him take care of the re master is very significant, and very nostalgic.
Jack: What’s it been like working with Holy Roar Records?
Tom: Its been great! I learnt a lot about releasing records from working with Jake at DW, and to work with a label from the UK that shares the same kind of values as we do is very rewarding. Some awesome new UK bands are on that label, and it’s a scene that’s quietly growing in the shadows. Which we have always been fans of. Always check out the underdog, they are usually onto something.
Jack: You’re headlining Holy Reefer Fest on the 20th April, why do you think marijuana and doom go so well together?
Tom: Don’t know? Maybe the speed and tempo of the music works well. We have plenty of weed enthusiasts that like our music, but easily the same numbers that don’t smoke. We like to think of our music to be more than doom, which is a very 2D for our music. We want to offer more than your conventional heavy band.
Jack: You’re also playing Ritual Festival where Ihsahn is playing, has his work influenced your music at all?
Tom: Not me personally, although some of the dynamics that he uses are very similar. The visual elements of black metal are as important as our type of music. To play with such legendary bands and artists is still a great feeling. Plus we like challenging people perceptions, maybe some of his fans will leave that show a fan of ours.
Jack: When you play Lithuania in July, will you be playing any other European dates around this?
Tom: Possibly, not sure right now. That show is fly in and fly out, so not directly, but we want to come play more dates in Europe now the album has been out for a little while.
Jack: Is it too soon to be thinking of a follow up to Audio Noir?
Tom: No, we have already mapped out plans for our next project, and will begin writing it over the next few months. This process takes a while, but it has already begun.
Jack: What other plans do you have coming up for the year?
Tom: Work on playing live a bunch, rehearse new songs from Audio Noir. And work on new material.
Jack: Would you ever consider doing a film soundtrack?
Tom: Always up for trying new things if the right opportunity presents itself.
Jack: Finally, as you’re named after the bounty hunter from Star Wars. Would you consider doing a Star Wars themed song at all?
Tom: No that’s not something we would consider.
Last year Jack talked to Tom from Bossk, you can read the chat here.