Niagara musician Philip Bosley is one busy guy. With eight solo albums released, numerous instrumental and ambient albums, and countless credits on recordings for other bands, he’s one of the most creative and prolific producers of music in the region. He also has a penchant for interesting New Year’s resolutions.
“Last year, I was putting out the same picture on Instagram every day for a year and I thought maybe I should do something with a little more substance this year so I’m going to put out a new song every week.” And just like last year (I checked), so far he’s been able to keep his resolution. At week 17, Bosley has plenty of material still stockpiled, which he expects will last him until about August.
“Some are more finished than others,” explained Bosley.
“Next week I have a riff and nothing else, so I got to put some work in, but the week after that just needs a good vocal take.
To date, Bosley has completed all the writing and recording on his own.
“So far, it’s been 100% me in my basement. It’s a fun excuse to use this suitcase drum kit that I built. Every time I played it at a show, I thought I want to record with this kit but then I’d drive home and forget.”
Often it starts with a guitar part: “I do it a lot by watching TV late at night, it turns the brain off, I take myself out of it a bit, sort of absentmindedly noodling and not worrying too much about ‘oh, what does this sound like?’“
Out of this year’s 17 songs, Bosley likes the most recent, “53”, the best: “that one clicked for me. I enjoyed that one. I tripped on the stairs and messed up my leg in January, so that’s what that song’s about, sort of like ‘oh god this hurts and is it ever going to stop hurting?’
The songs, which range from alt-country to indie rock with shades of Americana and occasionally grunge and blues, are impressive, especially considering that they were performed, recorded, and mixed by a single person in just one week.
According to Bosley, “I’m just putting my demos out live to the world, there it is, there’s an idea, not sit around and worry about making it a perfect pop song or well produced, just crank them out there and see what sticks. There’s something to the process of labouring over a song and putting some polish on, at the same time it’s fun to let them go and not sit on them forever.
The rapid rate of production has also been a way to keep the material flowing: “I’m enjoying the challenge of not letting myself fall into lull of not writing songs. It’s happened occasionally where I’ve gone up to a year or two years without writing songs and then I start getting mad at myself. You’ve got to finish something even if it’s not the best most brilliant thing you’ve ever written, just put it out there and you can say you did it.
For the moment, Bosley is focused on completing the yearlong songwriting marathon. “I don’t know what medium would be conducive to a 52 track album, that would be a hell of a box set, wouldn’t it?”
I for one hope he can complete the task, but I also wonder what next year’s resolution might hold. “Rod Standish suggested that I should put out one a day next year, but I don’t know I’m up for that yet,” said Bosley with a laugh. “I might have to loosen the definition of ‘song’.”
Philip Bosley performs next at the Merchant Ale House on May 4 and at the Jordan House Tavern on May 31.
You can listen to all of his music at philipbosley.bandcamp.com