Q&A + Giveaway: Bosco Delrey Talks Combining Dancehall and Retro Rock Into One Sound
Mixing early rock and roll (Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry) with dancehall and hip-hop, Delrey is plying his craft in a genre all of his own.
He recently finished recording his debut full-length in Memphis and has just begun his first tour across the United States, which, tonight, finds him playing The Cavern with another buzzing touring act, Magic Kids.
We caught up with Delrey just before the tour started, and he was gracious enough to try and explain his inventive new sound.
Give our Q&A with him a read after the jump--where you'll also find out how to win free tickets to tonight's show, courtesy of its promoter, Spune Productions.
Update: Contest is over. Congrats to our winners!
How did you come up with such a distinctive sound?
My music sounds like a lot of things that have been going on and I just put them together in my own way. It's my own kind of mix. I listen to a lot of '80s dancehall and a lot of early rock 'n' roll. Someone challenged me to put the two together and I ended up covering Chuck Berry in a dancehall style. Some DJs picked it up and started playing it in New York.
Who exposed you to early rock 'n' roll?
I guess I picked up some tapes at a gas station and fixated on them from a young age. And then I started digging though my parents' record collection. I've always been into digging around record stores.
Are you touring with a full band?
It will be me and my girl Bunny. She's going to be running the beat machines and the effects and those types of things. We sort of collage together on stage for a new, modern experience. It's like the Mad Professor who lays down all the dub stuff and then has a rapper on top of it. I'm kind of like that, but the rock 'n' roll version.
One reviewer called you "the garbage-can Elvis from New Jersey." Did you like that description?
I'm happy to be compared to Elvis. That is such a high honor. But I don't see myself as some kind of Elvis impersonator. I might throw in some Elvis style guitar riffs. It's a nice compliment, I guess. I don't consider myself a rockabilly artist. I'm more or a record junkie where a lot of stuff comes bubbling up. In the DJ world, older music usually means stuff from the '80s. I like stuff from the '50s and '60s.
You seem pretty young to be into music from 50 years ago. Do you mind saying how old you are?
I don't want to talk about stuff like that.
Is Bosco your real name?
No, it's Steven. One night, I ended up in this guy's apartment and when I woke up, there were paintings of bottles of Bosco on the walls. It just seemed like a cool name to use.
One critic called your music hall-billy. Have you created your own genre?
It's funny because when you hear the term "dancehall," it's often what early rock 'n' roll was called. Like music for the dance hall. In Jamaica, they took that term and turned it into their own thing. I think dancehall is an influence on me, but now I am evolving into some kind of new creation. No one is doing what I am doing.
You've released a couple of singles. Are you working on a full-length?
I'm recording with people who have worked with Alex Chilton and The Box Tops and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Sonic Youth. I ended up staying in Memphis and finishing the record. It will come out next February.
Have you visited Graceland? Have you eaten a peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich?
Yes, I've been to Graceland, but I have not eaten one of those.
Will the singles be on the album?
No, the singles are about to come out again as remixes. Mike D and Ad Roc of the Beastie Boys are remixing a couple of tracks.
You seem to have come a long way very quickly.
Diplo, the guy who owns Mad Decent Records is a big champion of my music. He sees past current trends and likes to delve into different kinds of things. He's been a huge supporter of mine. When you have someone like that behind you, it really helps.