Today’s Feature – September 23-24: Rosy Boa

September 27, 2008 at 12:07 am (Today's Feature)

Rosy Boa, a name fitting for a Broadway stage performer is actually a member of the Boidae Snake family – and it just so happens our latest feature, Rosy Boa, sits at a pleasant intersection between the two (sort of). The fact that “The Little Mermaid” soundtrack was his first album he ever owned lends to that Broadway part – and much like the Rosy Boa snake, Boa’s latest album is called “Bright Colors,” a release that “falls somewhere between The Grateful Dead and The Arcade Fire.”

The record is full of “sunny sounds and a fair amount of steel drums,” and complete with lyrics from an interesting place, lending inspiration from “how the crash of the sixties’ pseudo-revolution contributed to a lot of the cynicism we encounter today.” In fact Boa says, “I tried to write the whole thing from the place of someone living in San Francisco in the early seventies, so there’s a lot of disappointment juxtaposed with innocence in there.” The collection smacks of those revolutionary types of sounds – something to get your mind moving.

If you catch a live Rosy Boa show today, you’ll see the band having a great time on stage, inviting everyone in attendance to be a part of the show. If you catch a performance in the future, you may just see some circus animals incorporated into the act. Kidding (maybe). Boa will be supporting this record and working on his new work at the same time, work he says is “bordering on a blend of Weezer and Stevie Wonder.” Sounds pretty kick ass, eh? Get into the XXQ’s for a whole lot more.

XXQs: Rosy Boa (PEV): Tell us, how did you first jump into the music industry? Was music always an instant passion for you?

Rosy Boa (RB): The first “industry” stuff I ever did was in high school, when I recorded a couple of EPs with the band Live Long Day. The term didn’t really exist yet, but we were “emo” in all the wrong ways. Our songs had titles like “Bleeding Tragedy” and “Melancholy” and stuff like that. And we thought we were being clever by pulling our name from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, but we didn’t realize that most people preface the phrase “live long day” with “I’ve been working on the railroad” until after our shirts were printed. I’ve always loved music. I begged my parents for piano lessons when I was in grade school, and have been playing music ever since.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

RB: Honestly, I’m not banking on music being the only thing I do. I want to be recording and playing live shows until I die, but I don’t want to move to L.A. and lurk around the crappy bars on the Sunset Strip hoping to get noticed by some sleazy producer. I’m working on a master’s degree in creative writing. Music and creative writing are the two sides of a single drive in me–that drive to create or whatever you want to call it.

PEV: Now calling Santa Barbara, California home, what kind of music were you listening to growing up?

RB: My dad listened to nothing but the Grateful Dead and all their spinoff bands, like the Jerry Garcia Band and Bob Weir’s Ratdog. I used to hate that stuff, but I was surprised by how much Dead came out in Bright Colors. The first album I ever owned was The Little Mermaid soundtrack. I learned to play guitar listening to ska and pop punk, then I went through a blues phase. Now I listen to a lot of hip hop and electro pop.

PEV: You have a very interesting name, definitely one we haven’t come across before. Do people often comment on it? What kind of name is Rosy Boa?

RB: Yeah, it seems to confuse people. The name does sounds a bit gender-bending, which is what mostly trips people up. A rosy boa is a cool-looking snake. I like animals, and I like the way “rosy” and “boa” sound next to each other.

PEV: Tell us about your creative process… What kind of environment do you have to be in to write music? Is there a certain “method” or “science” to your writing?

RB: Wow, it varies a lot. Sometimes, I’ll just get a melody in my head and run with it. Some songs are the chopped-up remains of other songs that didn’t work as well (or were just plain awful). I do always write the music first and try to get a pretty good idea for the melody, because I write better lyrics when I already have the vibe of the song cemented in my head.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Rosy Boa performance?

RB: Fireworks and juggling bears! No, it’s just me and my friends having a good time playing music together, although I would like to incorporate performing circus animals.

PEV: Tell us about your first live performance. How have you changed since that first show to where you are now?

RB: Ha ha–my first live rock ‘n roll show (piano recitals don’t count, right?) was with a pop punk band called South 680. When in doubt, name your band after a nearby freeway. My girlfriend at the time was upset because she was going away to college and I was spending all my time practicing. She iced me the whole night, which was pretty awkward. Now, I have a lot more fun; partly because I’ve done it so many times that I’m not freaking out before going on stage, and partly because I date girls who like music.

PEV: What can fans expect from your 2008 release, “Bright Colors”?

RB: Sunny sounds and a fair amount of steel drums. I had fun recording it, and hopefully that translates in the recordings.

PEV: How is “Bright Colors” different from other albums out right now?

RB: I think the lyrics come from an interesting place, and I tried to stay pretty focused while writing them. For about a year, I was grappling a lot with how the crash of the sixties’ psuedo-revolution contributed to a lot of the cynicism we encounter today. I tried to write the whole thing from the place of someone living in San Francisco in the early seventies, so there’s a lot of disappointment juxtaposed with innocence in there. Again, those concepts only work if the music exudes them. I hope all the thought I put into this album will help it stand out.

PEV: How would you describe your sound? In a thick and talented industry, how do you expect to stand out?

RB: The best description I heard from someone was that Bright Colors falls somewhere between The Grateful Dead and The Arcade Fire, to use two bands that everyone knows. It’s funny; people have been all across the board in identifying my sound–Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Ryan Adams, Mason Jennings, Phish–most of whom I’ve rarely listened to. The new stuff I’m working on is bordering on a blend of Weezer and Stevie Wonder. As far as “standing out” goes, my plan is to keep writing and recording music, doing everything I can to push like hell for lyrical excellence while cranking out some good tunes. I might try to come up with a gimmick or two. Like training a chimpanzee to be my drummer, or something. That plays into the “performing animals” thing again.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

RB: My girlfriend wrote a poem in which she compared me to a man in a giant, foam rubber hamburger suit.

PEV: What one word best describes Rosy Boa?

RB: “Schnozberry”

PEV: How is life on the road for you? Best and worst parts?

RB: I’m not touring right now. I do like traveling, but I don’t like feeling dislocated.

PEV: In all your travels, which has been your favorite city to play (US or International)?

RB: San Francisco.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

RB: They’re proud of me. They also like the stuff I put out, which means a lot to me. They might be lying though.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

RB: I read a lot, design and illustrate stuff, play sports, ride my bike, eat good food.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for?

RB: I like Róisín Murphy a lot, and none of my friends have heard of her from some reason. She’s an electro pop diva from the UK, and is pretty well-established over there. Her last album rocked.

PEV: What’s been the craziest reaction from a fan you’ve ever had?

RB: I had people ask me for autographs in high school, which was mostly crazy because I was such a poor musician at the time.

PEV: Ten years down the road, where will Rosy Boa be?

RB: Writin’ groovy tunes!

PEV: So, what is next for Rosy Boa?

RB: I’m recording another album right now. Hopefully, it will be out late winter or early spring.

For more information on Rosy Boa, check out:


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