Here at B3SCI we love nothing more than a great soul artist. With only two songs released to date, London based (by way of Netherlands) soulster, Bo Saris is one we’ve been keeping a close ear on. The recent Universal Republic signee has set the blogosphere a stir with his more than authentic Motown friendly blend of retro pop. And from our recent conversation with Bo Saris we’ve learned there’s so many more layers to know. Check out his debut EP The Addict this October and have a look at our recent chat with him below. Also for those of you in the UK, don’t miss his upcoming performance October 18th at St. Pancras Old Church in London.
B3SCI: Was there a point in your life that you knew American bred soul and pop music was the perfect sound for Bo Saris?
Bo Saris: I never really thought about it so I guess you could say I fell in love with that type of music naturally, I just connected with it without having a explanation for it.
B3SCI: We’re sure that you get this question a lot, but being from the Netherlands… how is it your sound feels so genuine and authentically from the golden age of Hitsville USA? It’s like you actually lived through it five decades ago…
Bo Saris: First of all, if that’s how I sound to you guys then I’ll take that as a huge compliment! In a way I did go through it by just growing up with that music being played in the house a lot & I could identify with it from the start.
B3SCI: You’ve collaborated with the likes of Bondax amongst others? Do you dabble much in the world of co-writes and music production?
Bo Saris: I do more now & it’s good fun! At first I wasn’t familiar with top lining/writing on dance music, I wasn’t even familiar with remixes being made of my music until last year’s remixes of “She’s On Fire”, which I loved! I guess it made me realize that it doesn’t hurt at all to become more diverse in music when you collaborate & that two styles can blend very nicely. Till now I’ve worked with Chase & Status and Bondax in the UK and both sessions were really cool & great experiences. At the moment my main focus is on the EP & upcoming album but I’ll definitely do more collaborations in the near future.
B3SCI: Has there been any other projects you were involved with that fans may come to find as a surprise, before you found your voice…stylistically?
Bo Saris: No I think that for most people it’s quite obvious that its soul music that has inspired me the most. They may be surprised by the different styles of music I’ve listened to & liked which was very diverse. For example “Rage Against The Machine” which I liked as kid to or “Frank Zappa” the weirdness/humor sometimes in his music I really enjoyed. And yes, in my teens I was a massive hip-hop head both underground & the more popular stuff. Snoops “Doggy Style” for instance was one of my favorite records back in the day, still is actually when I listen to it. But maybe that’s not such a big surprise given the fact it had such a huge “Clinton’s Funkadelic” vibe which is basically the kinda stuff I grew up with too. Soul,Funk & Jazz were my main influences so even Miles/Coltrane/Parker were well appreciated in our house. So as I said quite diverse.
B3SCI: You are currently based in London. How ids things on the UK music scene, and do you gig often? When will you come play a show in the United States and are there any plans for SXSW?
Bo Saris: Yes I’m based in London & I love it because it’s a vibrant city where lots of creative people live & work. It’s definitely the right place for me just now. We’ve gigged a few times, but that’s something we’ll start doing more & more in a few months time. I’ve just announced my first proper headline show in London on October 18th at Old St Pancreas Church. I needed an album finished and to release some songs first. Now that the album is done I’m able to really focus on the live side. Hopefully we can start doing gigs in the US real soon. I’d love to play SXSW!
B3SCI: “She’s On Fire” and “The Addict”. Two great songs that we’ve had the pleasure of hearing from Bo Saris so far. What more can we expect on your forthcoming EP? Is there a name for the EP and a release date?
Bo Saris: The Title of the EP will be “The Addict” It will contain “The Addict”, “Little Bit More” and another track I picked only for the EP!! Some great producers have done some remixes, including a Todd Edwards mix of “The Addict” which will also be on there. The release in the UK is planned for October, it’s definitely getting released in the US as well.
B3SCI: Is there a particular track on the EP that you feel especially proud of as an artist? Is there a story with it worth sharing?
Bo Saris: Well actually there’s a story behind all the tracks for me. So it’s hard to just pick one. But if I had to I would choose “The Addict”.
There’s something about that song that makes me emotional sometimes because of the fact it’s drawn from my real life experiences, which most of the songs are but when you write something about the pain & struggle your friends go through, you share that pain, it’s just something that crawls into your soul & it makes you show a more vulnerable side, which is a good thing I believe.
B3SCI: There’s so many colorful tones and lush arrangements on songs like “She’s on Fire” and “The Addict”. Where does the writing process typically begin for you? Do you have a ‘go-to’ instrument that you first like to write and arrange with?
Bo Saris: I play a little guitar & piano and that’s helped but also being in the studio with a producer creating a track, laying down a groove on the spot works very well for me. I’ve had producers send me tracks and that’s also worked for me. As long as the music triggers me then melodies & lyrics come out quite easy. There are many different ways of writing for me. For example, when I got the music for “The Addict” from my record producer Andrew(Dre) Harris I knew exactly the kind of melody & story I wanted to write. And so did the guy who I wrote the lyrics with bye the way, Jones Wetterberg.
B3SCI: We have to ask, what would you say to the Godfather of soul, James Brown if you’d ever had the chance to meet him?
Bo Saris: I would say: Let’s make it funky Godfather!! Yeahhh I feéééél good!! And of course I would want to give him a big hug & say thank you for what you’ve created & added to music history.
Bo Saris (Facebook)