Bosco and Peck: A New Soul Sound
Bosco and Peck fuse soul music with elements of funk, rock, blues, R&B, and even hip-hop to create a new sound that pushes the creative envelope. IXiiV’s own Boss Lady, Vicki, was introduced to the band several years ago by her friend Brooke Williams, who has sung with the group on and off for the past six years. Through Twitter, we have been fortunate to get to know Bosco and Peck on a more personal level. It quickly became clear to us that these creative and hardworking musicians are a rare find in an industry that often compromises artistry in the pursuit of fame and fortune. With undeniable talent and an original sound, Bosco and Peck has become one of the most buzzed about bands in the area.
Bosco and Peck was formed in 2004 when New Jersey songwriters Paul Bosco (bass) and JPeck (vocals, guitar) decided to enter a battle of the bands contest held by a local radio station. With only a few rehearsals, they won the competition. Shortly afterwards, Bosco and Peck, joined by drummer Matt Coslop (Paul’s cousin), released their self-produced debut album A Band So Mysterious…You’ve Never Heard of Them, which eventually helped them land two shows on the 2006 Virgin College Mega Tour.
Through the tour’s publicist, Bosco and Peck was introduced to Dave Natale, soundman for the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac, who took an immediate interest in the group, offering to record a three-song demo at his studio Right Coast Recording. This demo led to a second album, The Burden of a Healthy Mind, which was released in 2007. The album received great reviews from fans and critics alike. Its first track I Can’t Help was chosen for channel 6 ABC’s Most Memorable Musical Moments. The album also led to many performance opportunities including a second run on the Virgin College Mega Tour, Looptopia, and the Dewey Beach Music Conference.
Over the next few years, Bosco and Peck continued recording music and performing at shows. It wasn’t until 2010, however, that the band began focusing on collaborating with other musicians through their innovative Song Swap podcast in which they trade songs with other independent musicians and record covers. The episodes feature both the covers as well as interviews with the guest artists.
With Season 2 of the Song Swap underway, we wanted to find out more about this accomplished band by speaking with the founding members about their experiences, views on the industry, and where they are headed next.
How did the two of you meet?
Paul Bosco: We were 19 or 20 and Jay joined my band to try to steal a bass player for his band.
JPeck: In 98 or so I got a call from a guitarist I’d known for a while saying he was joining a cover band that needed a singer. At the time my band was in need of a bass player, so I went to try out for the band in hopes that I could steal theirs. I ended up joining that band and Paul was the bass player.
You started Bosco and Peck after deciding on a whim to enter a local radio station competition, which you then won. It must have been a whirlwind experience. What was it like to prepare for it?
Paul Bosco: Preparation was really just a couple of phone calls and a rehearsal. It was kind of a test on how we would sound as a “soul band”, so there was no pressure on performing because we knew how to get our “soulful sound” and a couple of songs we had written were structured and finished, so it was really just a good rehearsal.
JPeck: It was a whirlwind. Even with good musicians it’s not easy to put together a band from scratch in a couple weeks.
Speaking of soul, Bosco and Peck’s sound has been described as neo-soul with a touch of 60’s soul, 70’s funk, and modern rock. Who are you biggest influences?
Paul Bosco: Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield, David Bowie, Neil Young, Marvin Gaye, Al Greene, Dylan, Beatles, Stones …all the old greats.
JPeck: When I started playing music my influences were Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and The Talking Heads. But I’ve been influenced by every song I’ve heard, whether I liked it or not.
Since that first competition, you’ve received many accolades including being named Artist of the Month by the World Café Live. What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Paul Bosco: Chance meeting with an Engineer named Dave Natale (FOH sound guy for the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Lionel Richie…the list goes on). We became friends with him 4 or 5 years ago and we always have a lot of fun working and hanging out with him in his studio.
JPeck: I don’t have an answer for this one… can you rephrase this as a multiple-choice question?
Ok, let’s talk about your Song Swap podcast, which the Boss Ladies of IXiiV absolutely love! It’s such an inventive concept. How did the idea come about?
Paul Bosco: We were kicking around the idea of a “musician community”. We all know a lot of great musicians in our area. We were trying to figure out how we could get their fans to listen to our music and visa-versa.
JPeck: We were trying to figure out better ways for bands to share fan bases. Something more fruitful than playing gigs with 4 bands we’d never heard and hoping that their fans would stick around to see our set. We came up with the idea to cover each other’s songs. That way the fans get to hear a song that they know recorded by a band they may not have heard of. The Song Swap was born.
Has it been easy to find other bands to participate in Song Swap? Do you reach out to them or do they reach out to you?
Paul Bosco: Not too easy. We stop ourselves from working too much on someone’s song until we are pretty sure that they are working on one of ours and even after that, they can still flake out. We have had a couple people reach out to us, but mostly we contact the other artist. Usually we don’t contact an artist until we are pretty confident that we can come up with a “Bosco and Peck” version of their song.
JPeck: Sometimes we find a band we really want to cover; sometimes they find us. It hasn’t been hard finding bands, but it has been difficult getting them to actually do the work for the show. When you ask they say “Sure, sounds great!” but when it comes time for them to rewrite and record a cover of one of our songs, well let’s just say there is a reason why musicians have a reputation of being flaky.
Despite these difficulties, collaborating with other musicians must be a valuable experience. Do you feel it has made you better musicians?
Paul Bosco: Absolutely! There is always something we can learn from other musicians.
JPeck: Definitely. It’s also made us much more productive in the studio. Since the show has to be released on a schedule we have to work more quickly.
Paul Bosco: Arrrggggg!! This is a hard question. Our version of A’s Rage song, Born in the Ghetto, was a fun session to do. Two tracks live rhythm section recording. It was fun. We made a YouTube video from the footage. The Mary Jennings interview was fun also. Jay and I took a train to her apartment in Manhattan, with our recording gear in a ShopRite bag. We had some good wine during the interview. I don’t think we got home until 2 or 3 in the morning.
JPeck: Hmmm. I’d say the last episodes of season 1 with A’s Rage was the most fun. We really got to experiment with recording the song. Rather than mic every instrument individually, we set up 2 mics in the room and recorded the acoustic guitar, upright bass and drums at the same time. As far as the interview, well you’ll have to listen for yourself. But one word sums it up…ridiculous.
Have you liked any of the covers of your songs better than your original recordings?
Paul Bosco: YES!!! A’s Rage did a great electronic version of our song As Much As I Want. Also the guys from Sounds From Atlantis did a rocking version of Lie To Me.
JPeck: A’s Rage cover of our song As Much As I Want breathed new life into a song that I had long ago written off as an album track.
So far you’ve put out an album for Season 1, when can we expect an album for Season 2?
Paul Bosco: Octember.
JPeck: We plan to wrap up the second season in August, so the CD will be released in the fall.
If someone is interested in participating in Song Swap, how can they reach out to you?
Paul Bosco: E-mail, or phone, or stalk us. We are always looking for some up and coming artist to do a swap with.
JPeck: The best way is to listen to the show or go to www.thesongswap.com.
After 7 years of performing together as Bosco and Peck, what advice would you offer others looking to start a band?
Paul Bosco: Don’t worry about what kind of gear you have as much as the kind of “sound” you have or the “sound” you want.
JPeck: Do it for the right reasons, money and fame. Honestly, it’s the oldest advice that every young artist ignores. Write music you love, if you sell out to please some record company you’ll regret it.
What’s been your biggest sacrifice for your craft?
Paul Bosco: Sleep. I sleep 5-6 hours a night if I’m lucky.
JPeck: A social life in general, and sleep. I lack both.
Where would you like to see Bosco and Peck in 5 years?
Paul Bosco: Playing festivals and recording without the worry of having “real” jobs to pay our bills.
JPeck: Hopefully not working day jobs for a start. I’d like us to have some time to explore other styles of music and have written a couple of songs for other indie artists. Oh and have one of our songs as the theme for a reality show on MTV, but that goes without saying.
What are you working on now?
Paul Bosco: We currently have about 20-30 recordings started. There are a couple that are really close to being finished and a couple that are finished. These songs will be on our next album Just When You Thought You’d Never Smile Again.
JPeck: We’re are working with Jeff Morelli on a video for our song Pick Me Up that will be on that album. Also, one of our country songs Lila is going to be on a compilation CD Country for a Cause due for release September 1st.
Finally, how can people stay updated on Bosco and Peck and get in touch with you?
Paul Bosco: The Internet or email… or call.