BOYOCA is the moniker of Birmingham (UK) based multi instrumentalists Tim Boyce and Lewis Carr, the duo crafts transformative electronic music with a tangible organic nature, combining real world sounds with electronic beats and grooves. Equally influenced by the dynamics of dancefloor music, as much as the human quality of live instrumentation, they tread the line between the decks and the guitars, the dance floor and stage, the electronic and the organic. The duo’s production skills have already been enlisted by British music pioneers Morcheeba for a remix of their powerful downtempo single ‘Killed Our Love’, reshaping the original into a softened 2-step and soulful electronica hunting cut. They recently released their dynamic debut EP ‘He’s A Fool’, via EMK – the new electronic music platform launched by Kartel Music Group…stream it here.
Hey BOYOCA, welcome to DMCWORLD! That’s an interesting moniker – what’s the meaning behind it?
Boyoca is a combination of our names, Tim Boyce and Lewis Carr. It is often also pointed out to us that Boyaca (spelled slightly differently) is an area in Columbia, which we didn’t realise until after the fact – which makes us slightly more difficult to google!
Your new EP ‘He’s A Fool’ What was the production and recording process like for the EP?
It was a lockdown EP, and the lockdown was a real time of change in our sound as a result of listening to and creating so much music.
The EP has a very distinctive sound. Can you tell us more about the mix of live instrumentation, world sounds, and electronic elements which you have defined as “the Green-House sound”.
Green house is a definition of everything that is dear to us in music. Coming from the band world in our younger years, it has been important to us to maintain elements and carry them through into the electronic world. The “Green” part is a nod to anything organic, not just in sound but in process. For example, doing live takes on a hardware synthesizer is perhaps more green house than programming MIDI. That’s not to say that we don’t do both, but the results acquired from each are different. We’re after as much human as we can get while still staying relevant to the electronic world. This means including a combination of hardware synths, software synths, guitars, vocal chops, songwriting etc.
Do you have any go-to bits of studio kit or hardware that you always find yourself returning to?
The Prophet 08 was a real game changer for our sound. There’s something about the presets in that thing that just fit with our sound. We’ll often cycle through the banks, find a vibe, tweak to taste and we’re done.
Do you use reference tracks when you produce? Or do you prefer to start from a completely blank canvas?
We use more concepts as guides rather than tracks. For example Bamboo Mask was made from the concept of Bm9 and Em9 chords in conjunction with the title bamboo mask. The chords provided the vibe and the title provided guide posts for the imagery we wanted to achieve in the sound. So even when the lyrics including “Bamboo Mask” were eventually removed, the sound was relevant enough to hold the title.
You recently remixed Morcheeba’s latest single Killed Our Love. How does it feel to be asked to put your stamp on the single of such an iconic band?
It was tricky business! Morcheeba have such a distinctive sound and it’s always unnerving to have to find a spot for the Boyoca sound to join in. Their songs are also much different in speed to ours, which complicated things even more. In the end, we found the best method was to let Skye’s vocal shine through (with some added chops) on top of our slightly heavier backbeat.
Let’s touch on the reopening of club nights and the return of live music. You’ve just played your EP launch in Birmingham and have recently played at Parklife Festival – tell us how it felt to be back playing live?
It’s so great to be back out DJing live, testing out new tunes of ours that didn’t exist before the pandemic and seeing the reaction, but the biggest thrill for us was the live show. We’ve had a couple of iterations of this in the past but our Hare and Hounds show was the first of our new set up and the reaction was wicked! It’s great to be able to give some live performance to the audience and transfer as much energy as we can via the instrumentation and featured singers. We basically had our whole studio on stage with us and we gave it all we had, minor technical hitches and all!
What’s your live set up like?
In a semi-circle around us we have – Roland JUNO, Prophet 8, Fender Strat, Pioneer RX2s, Roland SPD, Alesis Sample pad, vocal mics and various percussion. It’s sort of a hybrid DJ / live set with the Dj decks as the skeleton with us filling in the gaps and showing the audience as much of our sound fully live as possible.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would that be and why?
Jungle would have to be up there. Their vibe is just so rock solid and recognisable that we’d love to sit with them and see how they work. Maybe they’d let us in on a couple of their sonic secrets if we made the tea?
Is there anyone who inspires your sound?
Jungle, Maribou State, Disclosure, TSHA, India Jordan, Barry Can’t Swim etc.
What is one record that never leaves your record bag?
Mesablanca – O’ Flynn
Finally, what can we expect from you after this EP? Any big plans for the rest of the year?
Our second EP is sitting patiently to be released in the new year, so after that we hopefully shall be pursuing the release of an album, stay tuned!