The Minneapolis group Boson are featured in this week’s Meet The Band. The group, who blend doom, post metal and hardcore, just released their debut album Domain Of Ember. Guitarist/vocalists Jim Adolphson and Dan Jensen introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Boson.
Jim Adolphson: The band started in late 2015 with me (Jim) on bass and vocals, Dan on guitar, Charlie Johnson on guitar, and Rob on drums with the intent of writing doom that collaborates across different sounds. We started out as Tower and changed our name due to another band who was more active than us at the time out of NYC. We played quite a few local shows here in Minneapolis without a note of music released, so our live performances from that time kind of stand on their own and reflect a different sound than we have come into now.
Our favorite bands at the time were Sleep, Yob, and Neurosis so initially it was our main goal to try and somehow mix some of the sounds and ideas that those bands have used over the years while adding our own musical backgrounds. We all come from punk and hardcore scenes and have played in hardcore bands together some time ago. I don’t think that background ever leaves you once you are a part of it and I feel like Domain of Ember really shows that side of us. It took us close to two and a half years to finish this record simply because songs were coming and going based on whether they 100 percent fit what we felt like our first LP should be.
Describe the songwriting process for Domain Of Ember.
Jim Adolphson: The approach really varied a lot song to song. Some songs came in 95 percent assembled, sometimes we would demo riffs and trade them back and forth until something started taking shape, or sometimes we would just making noise at practice and wanting to keep some of it around.
What are the pros and cons of self producing?
Jim Adolphson: Having unlimited time to do what you want with a recording is really a doubled-edged sword. Often times making a decision in the moment and moving on can be really beneficial for an album. It’s a really dangerous place to be in when you expose yourself and your decisions to the rabbit hole of self doubt. You can waste limitless time chasing after making something perfect, when in reality your first or second attempt was fantastic and had more personality to it anyway.
I’m really happy we handed off mixing duties to Joe Mabbott, though. I spent enough time staring at that session adding what I could, and a quick little outside perspective really went a long way. He added just the right amount of crucial touches to the recording without stepping on what we had in mind while tracking and assembling the thing.
How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
Jim Adolphson: I really wanted it to sound modern and impactful in terms of sonic space without introducing a lot of problems that come with really slick, produced records. So no click track, sample replaced drums, autotune, or any of that shit that ruins a lot of records. So I’m really hoping that it comes across as the best version of us playing our music without feeling like we cheated to get there.
What inspired the album title?
Jim Adolphson: Domain of Ember as a concept came from the lyrical theme of the record in a sense. We had recorded the entire record and I came up with the title during the mixing process. I found that all my lyrical themes were from the standpoint of someone who keeps all issues in their life internal until the explode and destroy everything around them.
Hypothetically, the title means that inside of us all, we have a burning level of stress and anxiety that we tend to suppress, leaving no solutions and only misery in everyday life. I have found that through self-realization, we can better understand how to overcome this and get out everything we need to get out. It’s very hypothetical yet literal.
How did Nate Garrett’s (Spirit Adrift, Gatecreeper) guest appearance come about, and what did it add to the album?
Jim Adolphson: I was on tour selling merch for Skeletonwitch last October and met Gatecreeper on that tour (they played half of the shows). We quickly became friends, and I hit it off especially quick with Nate. He is one of the nicest, most genuine dudes I have ever met, so I was really drawn to everything that he is a part of musically, specifically Spirit Adrift.
At the time, Chained to Oblivion was his latest record under that moniker and I checked it out late one night at the hotel after a show in Florida. I think I listened to that record four times through and next thing I knew, it was 6AM. We kept in contact for months after the tour and I knew immediately after “Shadowlands” was done that he would add a ton to the chorus in that song specifically. I think his voice made that chorus sound huge, and I am honored to have him on the record.
How did you come to sign with Anxious and Angry Records?
Dan Jensen: I have been helping out Ryan with the Anxious and Angry podcast pretty much since it started and have been working with him on various Off With Their Heads releases for the last 10 years. So we already had a pretty solid working relationship. After we finished the record, I reached out to Ryan to see if he’d be interested in playing a track or two on his podcast to try to find someone interested in putting it out. Luckily, he wanted to put it out so we didn’t have to look too far!
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Jim Adolphson: I really hope we’ve made something folks can get into to the point where they can drop the needle, light a joint, and enjoy front to back at a high volume. Music has really become this tertiary element for so many people now. Like it’s just background music for driving, or working out or something.
I really hope at least some people check out our record and find it interesting enough to listen to front to back. That’s the way I like to listen to music anyway. With enough luck, there will be enough people who are into that, buy the record so we can go on and make more records.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
Jim Adolphson: Right now, we are essentially trying to work from the ground up to establish our name as a band with this record simply by playing as much as we can locally and regionally. No real tour plans at the moment, but we are always open to opportunity. There are a few weekend runs in the works for early 2018.
It appears from the outside that Minneapolis has one of the strongest heavy music scenes in the country. Do you think that’s the case?
Absolutely, and it’s growing every week. I grew up in the Minneapolis hardcore scene seeing bands like Martyr A.D., Holding On, Regret, and Modern Life is War when they would come up from Iowa every weekend to play. Back then, the music scene was very communal, but it seemed like after 2007, shit just wasn’t the same really.
In the last five years, I have seen a huge resurgence in heavy music in our city as well as a community of friends that help each other in as many ways possible. Bands like Livid, Sunless, Former Worlds, and No Funeral has really done a lot to re-establish our scene and make it strong again. It’s a nice thing to be a part of.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Jim Adolphson: The new Spirit Adrift record Curse of Conception has been on heavy rotation for Dan and I. I have been diving back into older shit lately like His Hero is Gone, Demigod and Disgrace. I was in a bar in Fussen, Germany about a month ago and heard Wishbone Ash for the first time and fell in love with their 1970 debut self-titled record.
The new Temple of Void record Lords of Death has been in heavy rotation, as well as the new Spectral Voice which is probably the best death metal record I’ve heard in the last 10 years. Honestly, it’s never-ending for us, we are always checking out music new and old.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Jim Adolphson: RIP The Triple Rock Social Club, Tom Petty, and everything decent in this godforsaken world.
(interview published November 4, 2017)