Tag Archives: composer

Interview: Bo Boddie

Bo Boddie is a music composer, mixer, producer, recording engineer, and instrumentalist.

Bo Boddie Music Interview

After The Show: What’s your schedule like lately? Do you spend more time composing vs mixing vs producing?

Bo: Busy. These days, almost all of the work I’m doing is for film and television projects. I’ve been doing a lot of work for Craig Wedren for the past few years, and that involves wearing a lot of different hats depending on the project. We’ve just finished two shows, Wet, Hot, American Summer (Netflix), and Blunt Talk (Starz). With Blunt Talk I was the score mixer, and with WHAS I mixed all the score and songs (about 25-30 of them). I also produced and co-wrote a song (“All Time”) as well as a bunch of miscellaneous music production and guitar playing…[I] will soon start working on the 2nd season of Fresh off the Boat (ABC), which involves a lot more cue writing. It looks like I’ll also be mixing a rock record that James Iha is producing as well.

What software and hardware programs do you use on a daily basis for composing and score mixing work?

At this point it’s about 95% Pro Tools, which I’ve been using pretty much daily since 1998. However, I also love using Logic and Reason, although, since time and compatibility with others are such a huge part of my job it’s hard to go out on a limb and use something other than Pro Tools.

What personality traits would you say make someone a great recording engineer?

Other than having great technical skills and know-how I think it’s really about being prepared for any request and staying in the service of the artist/project that you’re working on. It’s about staying humble, making everything seem smooth and easy, and of course making sure everything sounds great. An engineer’s role can be very small or large, you just have to know how much you need to put in to grease the wheels and when to just get out of the way.

When you’re working with artists from different genres (Santana vs Korn vs indie pop), how do you adapt between such stylistically dissimilar sounds? Do you approach each project with the same general mindset or is there a mental switch you have to make?

With such stylistically divergent projects there’s definitely a mental shift that has to happen. However, it doesn’t usually take long to establish a style of working that people are happy with, and from there it’s just about continuing in that vein. Obviously, to some degree you have to be a fan of what you’re working on as well. In my case, there aren’t that many kinds of music that I’m not interested in, so I look forward to working in different styles. There’s so much to learn about the subtleties of different genres, and when you walk away from each project you take something away that will help you bring insight to the next one.

You recorded, mixed, produced, and played bass and guitar on My Rocks Are Dreams by Psychic Friend — what was your favorite part of that process? How do you feel about the licenses/placements those songs got?

That was one of the first projects I worked on when I got to Los Angeles. Patty and I are friends and one day she mentioned she was working on a band with Will as a duo. They came over one day and we recorded some stuff. The songs were great, and I was really excited about working on the material. From that point on we got together whenever time allowed and filled everything out. I think the first song we did was “We Do Not Belong” and that established the overall tone of everything that came after it. Patty and I worked on 8 songs, and then Will and Tripp did the last three together at Dangerbird, although I did end up mixing “Quality Control.”

It was a great experience and I’m really proud of what came out of it; especially given that it was almost entirely recorded in a converted bedroom. All the song licenses were an added bonus. Of course I thought that the songs were great and lent themselves to that kind of use. However, once you start submitting songs to different music supervisors you start to realize how difficult it can be to get placements. I think it’s quite a testament to the quality of the songs!

You contributed articles and interviews to Sonic Scoop. How did that opportunity come about, and did you like that writing experience?

That came from my dear friend Janice Brown, who co-founded Sonic Scoop. We first met at Chung King Studios in Manhattan in the very early aughts. I was an intern and she was working a few nights a week as the receptionist; we became good friends and have always kept up with each other. When I moved to L.A. about five years ago she called me up one day and asked if I’d be interested in doing some gear reviews and interviews for the site and I took her up on it. I haven’t had as much time for it lately, but it’s a lot of fun to get out there and meet different people and play with new gear. I actually just wrote a review for them which should show up one of these days.

“Runaway,” “No Matter What You Say,” “Don’t Know How You Do It,” and “It’s You” are such great Imperial Teen songs. What was your experience like working on Feel The Sound?

It was a lot of fun. I love everyone in the band and it was easy to hang out with them and get things done. With that record they had done some of the basic tracking before I started working with them and they needed a place to do overdubs and record all the vocals. My family and I had just moved to L.A. from Brooklyn and I had a little studio in the back of the house we were renting, which I was thrilled about since, coming from New York, we weren’t used to having so much space. At any rate, the band would all come into town once or twice a month and we’d spend a day or two tracking vocals and other instruments. I’m not sure how long that went on for, maybe four or five months. Midway through we actually did end up going to another studio for a day to re-record drums as well as a couple of the newer songs…it’s a little fuzzy at this point which ones, but we did a lot of tracking that day! The album really came out amazing, I just listened to it the other day and it’s even better than I remembered.

That’s cool that you worked on the Reni Lane album — probably not many people have heard it though. How did that opportunity come about?

I actually only worked on one track on that record: “Ready.” That came about through my friend Sam Bisbee. He’s a great songwriter and performer and at that time I think he had just landed a publishing deal so he was working with all kinds of different artists, writing tons of songs. I had recorded and mixed a lot of his records so he was always hiring me to work on different projects with him. Reni had just landed a deal with Custard and Sam had a bunch of tunes on the album. “Ready” was actually one of Sam’s personal songs; Reni really liked it and wanted to do her own version. Between Sam and I we put together what’s on the record‚ and I programmed drums/percussion on it, played bass, and some keyboards as well.

Thanks for sharing Bo! Keep up with Bo’s work at BoBoddie.com

Comments Off on Interview: Bo Boddie

Filed under Interviews

Interview: Roddy Bottum

Roddy Bottum of Imperial Teen and Faith No More kindly answered questions about scoring for films, the joy of being in Imperial Teen, and what the band will play at their upcoming shows (May 24th San Francisco & May 25th LA).

Roddy Bottum Interview

After The Show: The 4 of you in Imperial Teen evenly split all songwriting credit, so how do you decide who sings lead vocals on any given song? Like do you sing “You’re One” because you brought the idea for it to the group?

Roddy Bottum: we’ve done that all different ways.  usually it’s whoever happens to be at the microphone takes over.  we write a lot of our lyrics together.  will has the strongest singing voice so we usually let him take over in that department.  but if it’s a super unique perspective that i feel comes from me i’ll insist on singing.

the girls mostly sing backups but lynn has sung leads on a couple songs in the past.  usually ideas that she has brought to the table.

You’ve lived in LA, NY, & SF over the years…How do their music scenes differ, and was one place/time better for you as a musician?

SF was such a beautiful place back when i lived there.  it was affordable more than anything and all different types of artists could get by and make music and rent spaces at affordable prices.  i remember paying $160 a month for rent on 16th street in the mission.  that was with six roommates but still…. such affordable housing doesn’t exist anymore and it’s changed the demographic.

LA is more serious minded, if you want to get into the music biz, it’s clearly a good option.  there’s SO much work there.  a lot of it is sketchy stupid hollywood television crap but there is a lot of opportunity.  NYC is a nut i haven’t cracked yet.  i’ve just moved there temporarily and am looking for my niche.  i do know there is more culture and inspiration there for me now.  there are vibrant classical progressive scenes and theater, obviously, and opera.  i’m into opera.  i’m going to write an opera and a musical next year in NYC.

When you’re scoring, what are your goals/responsibilities and how do you work?

all scoring jobs are different.  my favorite ones are when i’m left alone and the director or producers trust me and let me do my own thing.  that’s a unique and wonderful situation.  i do stuff on the computer and play stuff and record it.  whatever works.  it’s all about pleasing the big project at the end of the day.

How do you inject your own essence/personality into a score while also respecting what the director wants for the project?

i usually feel pretty strongly about the notion that the director has hired me to be me.  it’s really all i can bring to a project, myself.  that said, i kind of just try to keep it as honestly pleasing to myself as i can.  sometimes i feel a little misunderstood and there’s some rewriting that gets done but for the most part it’s all about making my personality or perspective heard.

At recent shows you’ve played new songs from Feel The Sound as well as older favorites like “Million $ Man,” “Sugar,” and “Yoo Hoo.” Are there any plans for the upcoming shows to add in other old songs like “Pig Latin” or “My Spy”?

we were practicing ‘pig latin’ for a little bit.  ‘my spy’ i don’t think we ever played live.  we’re playing ‘our time’ and ‘room with a view’ this time around.  those feel really good and we’re attempting another song off of FEEL THE SOUND.  we haven’t done it yet but it was sounding good at practice.  and another old song we hadn’t played in a long time.

Imperial Teen Interview

It seems so rare for a band to stay productive, friendly, and positive over decades. What is it about your 4 personalities / work ethics / attitudes that makes IT a strong, fun band nearly 20 years after forming?

we have a lot of respect for each other and we really make each other laugh.  we have a short hand language that we resort to that gets a lot of mileage.  we’re a family that doesn’t really tire of each other.  it’s still so much fun.  we only do it for that joy of it.  we certainly don’t make money doing what we do.

Did many Faith No More fans follow you to Imperial Teen? The two bands seem very different stylistically.

there are usually a couple of FNM fans in the house.  that band really pushed the envelope as far as diversity goes.  to the FNM fans’ credit… they are super open minded and usually get something out of what IT does.  totally, though, night and day stylistically.

“Room With A View” and “Baby and the Band” sound like autobiographical stories of IT…so does “It’s You” to a lesser extent…

i think we only really write autobiographically.  there were a couple tell all’s on this last record.  we sometimes come from a ‘veiled’ perspective but usually tell it like it is and wear our hearts mostly on our collective sleeve.  we aren’t great at writing about other people.  pretty narcissistic.

What’s one of your favorite lyrics you’ve ever written?

i really like, ‘the hawk bit the chicken…. killing boys but giving birth to men.’  i’m good at writing lyrics.  i wish i did it more.  that’s why i got to write a musical.

Roddy Bottum Interview After The Show

Imperial Teen has some rare, out of print songs like “Pretty,” “Sweet and Touching,” and the cover “Shayla.” Any chance that newer fans can somehow hear those songs?

probably not a chance in hell.  a couple of our records are out of print and we don’t have any of that old vinyl left.

How has your attitude/approach to songwriting changed over the years…have you noticed any major shifts from when you were 25 vs when you were 45?

my stylistic approach has changed a lot.  i’m bored with the 4/4 time signature, honestly, and i like to confuse it up a lot more than i used to.  it used to bug me when rhythms were confusing but now i like it.  i also am open more to sounds as opposed to riffs.  but i still really like a cheeky perspective.  that sounds kind of lame but i think you know what i mean.

Does it matter to you how Feel The Sound has done commercially? It deserves so much more commercial success, and it’s on Merge. Do you think there’s some bias against older musicians amongst the more youth-centric indie demographic?

i was surprised and am always surprised when our stuff doesn’t catch on like wild fire.   i love what we do and it always seems super likable to me.  i don’t think there’s a bias against older musicians as much as there is a really short collective attention span.  people like ‘new.’  that’s clear.  i like new too but i also am a really loyal fan.  i will see bands that i loved back when again and again and again.  i saw frightwig and killing joke both last weekend and couldn’t have been happier… something about that time in your life… your twenties.  the wallop of familiarity.

Care to share the meaning of “Seven”? Was it inspired by your sister?

yeah, it was about my sister.  how she was younger and always taking care of me.  that dichotomy.  a younger person taking care of an older person, being wiser.  it kind of reads sad, does it?

Thanks Roddy! Check out RoddyBottum.com & Roddy’s Twitter + ImperialTeen.com

1 Comment

Filed under Interviews