INTERVIEW: Boston Building




Boston Building


TONIGHT, the world of music rejoices following the news of…

Fabric reopening its doors – after a last-minute appeal saved the much-adored venue. It is a major step forward and relief for London’s (dwindling) live scene. I have been worried about the country's musicians since Fabric’s ‘closure’ – luckily, the party can be begin and lessons can be learned. Boston Building is a tantilising, stunning artist based in the capital and someone who has released two fantastic songs in the past couple of weeks – Rule the World and Feels Like Gold. The former has been highlighted and celebrated by Metro and gaining a lot of love. Boston Building’s latest E.P., Feels Like Gold, was written quickly and captures the emotions and intensities in life; covering so many different emotions and possibilities. I talk to James – the man behind Boston Building – about his new material and the inspiration for Rule the World; what the E.P. recording process was like and the main differences between Glasgow (where he was raised) and London.


Hello. How are you? How has your week been?

Great, thanks.

For those new to your music: can you introduce yourself, please?

My name is James. Boston Building is an alter-ego under which I’ve released some songs; co-written with some amazing friends and collaborators.


Rule the World is your latest single. What can you tell us about the sounds and inspirations?

It’s an uplifting sort of track. I was inspired by some good weather, but it’s cold now.

The title gets me thinking about the recent victory of Donald Trump and the happenings across the U.S. What are your views on what has been unfolding there?

I suppose all sorts of people want to rule the world. It’s not just Donald Trump. I hope he’ll calm down a bit now.

Rule the World mixes Dance and Electronic music; it pairs untraditional sounds with abstract noises. Your music is very flexible and diverse. Do you think Dance music has become too predictable and rigid or is it a genre still capable of surprising and confounding?

It’s absolutely capable of surprising and confusing. It has so many diverse subgenres and original stuff comes out all the time.

But it’s good to remember Dance music’s original purpose which is the background to dancing and having a great time. On one level, that’s all it needs to do.

Some tunes can get people up on the dancefloor predictably every single time - which is the best sort of predictable.

Can you tell me about your influences and upbringing? What types of music were you raised on and influenced by as a youngster?

As a teenager, all I listened to was Classic Rock: Beatles, Bowie; Hendrix, Zeppelin and Queen. My tastes have now expanded massively but it was a great starting-point.

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Are there any new artists that have particularly caught your ear?

There’s a lady called Chiara Hunter coming out of London who I definitely rate as one for the future.

The incredible vocalists I’m working with on Boston Building as well – Captain Backfire, Iago; Craig Webb, Charlotte Austen and Lux Lisbon.

Feels Like Gold is the latest E.P. Can you give me a little insight into the subjects that influenced the songs and what it was like writing?

I wrote it quickly. I’m trying to do things more quickly at the moment as it can keep things fresh and not overwrought. Two of the songs are lighthearted and one deals with adversity. I guess that gives you an idea of how I was feeling at the time.

Iago collaborates on vocal duties throughout the E.P. How did you two meet and what was the working relationship like?

We met through his girlfriend, Lorin - who is also an up-and-coming vocalist. Great working relationship; very easy sessions.

When he talks he’s got a full-on Welsh accent: then he sings and it sounds like Michael Jackson.

ARTWORK: Sprankenstein PHOTOGRAPHY: Maximilian Hetherington Photography


You are collaborating with a few different people on the E.P. Can you tell us about the artists you have worked with and who was the most memorable?

Most memorable is this guy Captain Backfire. Every session he’s up in my grill the whole time trying to throw me off with his rubbish jokes - he’s like an annoying little brother.  It’s just his nature. It’s funny, though; we have a good laugh.

Feels Like Gold follows from your debut (in March) and you have already been lauded by some of the biggest tastemakers in the country. How has this year been and what have been your highlights?

Incredible year. This project started off in a modest way: just to put down some songs that I had in my head along with some songs that others brought to the table. The reaction has been massive and pretty instant so I’m focusing more attention on it now.

You draw inspiration from producers like Mark Ronson and Paul Epworth. What is it about those guys that really speak to you?

Mostly that they are strong songwriters first and great producers second. They write in several genres but their songs hang together as a body of work. I really respect that.

ARTWORK: Sprankenstei PHOTOGRAPHY: Maximilian Hetherington Photography


I know you were raised in Glasgow but reside in Deptford. What is the main difference between the two places in terms of the music scene?

London is the centre of music in the U.K. so it’s got everything. Glasgow’s scene is pretty vibrant for a few types of music.

It certainly punches above its weight - so there were plenty of gigs to go to as a teenager.

London seems like a city readymade for you. What has it been like living in the city and, with the closure of so many music venues, do you feel like there are fewer opportunities to be heard?

I know venues have been closed, but actually, you can put on a gig anywhere if you organise it yourself - so there’s still opportunities. I think bands should do that more and not rely on promoters.  It’s a lot of work but not as hard as people make out.

If you had to select the three albums that have meant the most to you: what would they be and why do they resonate so?

Too hard – there’s about twenty albums I’d have to put.

Looking into 2017: what are your plans and aims as a musician?

Just write and release as many songs as possible.

Christmas is coming up shortly. Are you having some downtime? What are your plans for this Christmas?

Yeah. I’ll take a week back in Glasgow. It’ll be freezing.

Could you provide any inspiration or advice for new musicians coming through?

Concentrate on writing songs rather than other distractions.

If you have a decent song people will like your act.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song you wish (not yours as I’ll include that) and I’ll play it here.

Diana Ross – I’m Still Waiting



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ARTWORK: Sprankenstei PHOTOGRAPHY: Maximilian Hetherington Photography