Mitch Alexander/Flow Interviewer: Hi Christian, thank you for joining us today. How’s your day going, and what have you been up to lately?
Christian Boshell: Hello there, I’m doing well, though I must admit I’m still adjusting to life back home after a month-long vacation in Mallorca, Spain. Today, I’m back in the office, working on promoting my latest downtempo electronic music album, “Phraktal – The Thing About Secrets.” Later on, I’ll be adding the final touches to a motion graphics presentation for an upcoming festival performance with one of my collaborative projects, Phraktal.
Interviewer: That sounds like quite a journey. Can you share with us how your journey into electronic music began and what led you to pursue a career as a producer?
Christian Boshell: Certainly. My introduction to electronic music goes back to around 1988 when I attended a school disco. Tracks like S-Express’s “Superfly Guy” and the compilation “The House Sound of London – Vol. IV ‘The Jackin Zone'” had a profound impact on me. These tunes, along with others like Reese & Santonio’s “Rock to the Beat,” Richie Rich’s “Salsa House,” Tyree’s “Acid Over (Spectrum Remix),” and D Mob’s “We Call It Acieed,” left a lasting impression. However, even before this, bands like Depeche Mode, Wang Chung, and Tears for Fears were creating beautiful electronic music that captured my imagination.
As for becoming a producer, it wasn’t something I initially aspired to. My journey into music production was shaped by a combination of factors. My uncle introduced me to the guitar when I was around 13, and his home studio setup, which included a 4-track recorder, piqued my interest. From my early teens, I found myself writing songs and creating music. It’s always been a part of who I am. Exposure to the world of House and Techno music acted as a catalyst for me. I come from a less privileged area in Dublin, and music has always served as my escape. My love for music ultimately led me down this captivating path of electronic music production.
Interviewer: Let’s dive into your record collection. Could you tell us about it and share some of your early influences?
Christian Boshell: My record collection was massive, well over 15,000 vinyl records. However, a few years ago, I decided to trim it down and kept around 6,000 records that still hold a special place in my heart. Alongside my vinyl collection, I also regularly acquire digital releases and promos. In terms of early influences, I was captivated by the sounds of artists like William Orbit, Jean-Michel Jarre, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Laurent Garnier, and the iconic Slam/Soma Records.
Interviewer: Living in Ireland, a country with a deep appreciation for timeless techno, must have an impact on your music. How has your Irish background influenced your creative journey?
Christian Boshell: Ireland has played an interesting role in my musical journey. While there’s a genuine love for techno here, it’s not without its challenges. In my early days as a resident DJ in Dublin clubs around 1993, I used to spin tracks from labels like Soma Records, Guerrilla, Trax, and Limbo Records, and the crowd loved it. However, over time, authorities started cracking down on clubs playing this kind of music, which led to a shrinking of the underground scene. At one point, there were so few places to go, let alone perform. One of the main factors that prompted me to leave Dublin, & spend time in Cork and eventually relocate to Australia in 2004.
Interviewer: Your daily routine seems quite packed. Could you walk us through a typical day in your life? How much time do you manage to set aside for music production?
Christian Boshell: Today, I find it challenging to allocate as much time as I’d like to music production. I run a small media company that keeps me occupied with tasks like creating short films, visual presentations, website development, and graphic design. Despite my busy schedule, I do follow a somewhat strict daily routine. My day typically starts around 7:45 a.m. with a cup of coffee and a croissant. After dropping my youngest daughter off at school, I dive into office work. I try to wrap up the office tasks by noon, which allows me to focus on music production until about 2 p.m. After a short break, I pick up my daughter from school and often enjoy Xbox gaming with one of the kids. Dinner follows shortly, and if there’s any time left in the evening, I might spend another hour or so working on music. My understanding wife, Lisa, makes it all possible, but it can be a juggling act. We usually wind down our day by watching a TV series, drama, or movie together.
Interviewer: Your latest release under the alias Paperheart on John Johnson’s ICONYC label is quite intriguing. Can you tell us more about who else is involved in Paperheart and how the project came to be?
Christian Boshell: Paperheart primarily consists of two members: Aidan Kelly and myself. Aidan and I crossed paths back in the early ’90s. I’d often catch Aidan DJing at some of the best pubs and clubs, and occasionally, I’d pester him for the names of tracks he played. We also frequented the same record stores.
Our DJing journeys eventually led us to collaborate at an underground club called Tin Pan Alley in The Harp Bar. After my return from Australia, our paths crossed again around 2007 in Temple Bar. We exchanged emails, and I began sharing some of my musical collaborations with him.
More recently, Aidan invited me to work on the Dublin 2020 project, a short film project centred around Dublin and its vibrant community. My role involved sound production and the cleanup of unwanted sound frequencies. To cut a long story short, our friendship and creative collaboration have been evolving for quite some time. Our work on the Dublin 2020 project spilt over into the creation of two new music production aliases: Paperheart and Code Bushido.
Interviewer: There’s often an interesting story behind artist names. How did you settle on the name Paperheart for this project?
Christian Boshell: The name Paperheart has an intriguing backstory. It originated from an art piece that Aidan created a few years ago. Unfortunately, Aidan is currently in Scotland, so we’ll need to provide more details on the name’s origin at a later date. I will say that the decision to go with Paperheart was quite swift. Aidan suggested it, and I readily agreed without much deliberation.
Interviewer: The EP has a very genuine and heartfelt quality to it, both in terms of composition and design. Can you share some insights into your favourite studio tools and the key elements that featured prominently in this EP?
Christian Boshell: Thank you for recognizing the authenticity of our work, Mitch. This EP indeed represents some of our most genuine creations, and we’re just getting started.
In the studio, we have an array of go-to tools, and some of my favourites include the Access Virus TI and the Roland JP8080. Both of these synthesizers played a significant role in shaping this EP. The Access Virus TI is a powerhouse of versatility, while the Roland JP8080 offers a distinctive and hands-on approach to sound design. Additionally, we heavily relied on Native Instruments Battery 4 and Kontakt samplers in nearly every track. We often incorporate samples in Paperheart productions, ranging from original foley recordings from our city trips abroad to life sounds like the Amsterdam Canals featured on our second EP. We even incorporated French Algerian vocals courtesy of Aidan’s friend Wissame.
Interviewer: The track titles on this project seem to carry significance. Is there a specific connection between the tracks and titles?
Christian Boshell: Yes, the track titles on this project hold significant meaning. For instance, “Torn Apart” alludes to some emotional turbulence that happens to us all at some point during its creation. Without diving into too much detail, I can say that most of the track titles and songs are deeply connected to personal experiences and emotions.
Interviewer: ICONYC is known for its dancefloor-oriented music. What led you to choose ICONYC as the platform to introduce Paperheart to the world?
Christian Boshell: I vividly remember letting John Johnson hear the first part of “Torn Apart,” and he immediately appreciated it from a production standpoint. We engaged in lengthy discussions about the overall vibe of our songs and ICONYC’s vision for the label’s future. John’s passion, positivity, and dedication to the project, played a significant role in convincing us to sign with ICONYC. Following that extensive 2-3 hour conference call, I spoke with Aidan, and we both agreed that a five-year exclusive deal with ICONYC was the perfect fit for Paperheart.
Interviewer: What message or experience do you hope to convey to the listeners through Paperheart’s music?
Christian Boshell: “I aim for our music to be a seamless fit for any occasion or environment. Whether it’s the backdrop to a cosy dinner with friends, the soundtrack to a scenic drive, the motivation during an intense gym session, or the calming force during a yoga or meditation practice, I aspire for our music to enhance these experiences effortlessly.”
Interviewer: Balancing a partnership often involves compromise and collaboration. How do you navigate these dynamics within the Paperheart collaboration?
Christian Boshell: We often find that working together in the studio generally goes smoothly. Sometimes, we set up two workstations in the same room, fueled by plenty of coffee, and each worked on different elements simultaneously. One of us may have headphones on to focus. Occasionally, we do butt heads, which leads to experimentation, sound refinement, and ultimately achieving a great balance in our music.
Interviewer: Have there been discussions about potential remixes for the two Paperheart EPs, and how do you generally feel about your work being remixed?
Christian Boshell: We haven’t discussed remixes extensively for these EPs. Unfortunately, for the first part of “Torn Apart,” we lost most of our project files due to a hard drive failure. As for the second part, we do have the audio, and while we’re open to the idea of remixes, we’re not actively seeking them. In the past, I’ve found that I’ve liked many of the remixes sent to me for different projects. With Paperheart, we’re not overly concerned about having our work remixed. If the right fit comes along, we will certainly consider it.
Interviewer: Tell us about Bakroom, your label. What’s your vision for the project?
Christian Boshell: “At Bakroom, we take immense pride in our team’s contributions to revitalizing the nightclub scene in Ireland. Our seasoned VJs and DJs have consistently delivered high-energy and unforgettable experiences, infusing joy into the hearts of countless party-goers. As a record label, we’re honoured to have been recognized with the prestigious 2020 Technology Innovator Award for Best Record Label in Ireland. This accolade underscores our unwavering commitment to showcasing the unique sounds of our electronic music artists and providing a platform for their extraordinary talents to reach broader audiences.
Furthermore, we’re thrilled to have earned accolades from RTE for our exceptional expertise in crafting stunning motion graphics for video wall installations. Being featured on their network is an honour and an amazing opportunity to share our creative vision with a wider audience.
Our artists have graced the stages of renowned festivals like Creamfields, Body & Soul, and Electric Picnic, further solidifying Bakroom’s position in the electronic music scene.
Our passion for crafting meaningful and unforgettable experiences through techno music has driven us to collaborate with some of the industry’s most talented artists. With an impressive portfolio of 48 releases, including eight albums, we’ve established a reputation for infusing storytelling and emotional depth into our electronic music. Whether it’s through our record label or our nightclub revitalization efforts, we remain dedicated to delivering exceptional entertainment experiences.” In 2018, we experienced our most successful year to date, but our marketing strategy will evolve. We’ve hosted several events in Dublin in the past, and I’d love to explore that avenue again, but time will tell if we decide to do so. There are so many ideas and so little time.
Interviewer: Your music seems well-suited for vinyl. Have you considered releasing your work on vinyl?
Christian Boshell: Yes, we’ve been considering vinyl releases recently. We’ve initiated the process with Diggers Factory, and are currently working on a marketing strategy for it.
Interviewer: What advice would you give to artists hoping to get signed to Bakroom?
Christian Boshell: My main advice is to email us music that you’re genuinely passionate about. We truly appreciate when artists pay attention to detail in sound design and production. It doesn’t matter whether it’s ambient, house, or techno; we release various genres of music. I’d also suggest that artists take the time to listen to our previous releases to gain a better understanding of the kind of music we appreciate and promote.
Interviewer: You were involved with Omnis Recordings in the past. Can you share why you eventually decided to close that chapter and start Bakroom?
Christian Boshell: Omnis Recordings was a significant part of my journey, and I had two great partners Al Manning and Jonathan Ojeda, both of whom remain close friends to this day. We achieved a lot and learned valuable lessons from that project. However, by 2012, we all had young families, jobs, and various commitments that made it challenging to keep up with the demands of the label. At that point, we decided to focus on different projects that required less time and effort. After a break of a couple of years, I launched Bakroom in 2014. I write a lot of music and felt the need for a platform where I could release music at my own pace.
Christian Boshell: Producing our remix of Cassino & Laben’s “Right Now” (Boshell & Cody’s just zen Mix) on Particles is a track I’m still very proud of.
It immediately puts a big smile on my face every time I listen to it, probably because it was my 10th remix and still remains one of my favourites, it was made before I started my music production master’s at Berklee and overall I think the choice of sounds, the mix down and eq of frequencies are all really well balanced.
Let’s end with what’s next, tell us what’s in the works for the remainder of 2018.
Christian Boshell: Well, the second half of 2018 is going to be pretty hectic, to be honest.
2018 has been my most productive year so far, In January, I helped re-launch Techno Scene a web portal with one of my business partners Abdel of Repressure, which has taken on a life of its own so there will be lots of meetings at ADE in October.
Release-wise, I just released my second album last week “Phraktal – The Thing About Secrets” is out now on Bakroom & is in download stores and also for anyone who listens on Spotify etc. A mixed version of that will follow in the coming month or so.
Phraktal – Transfer which is the last single off our “Why 1 is One and 2 is Two” album gets released in September with remixes by Damon Wild, Orlando Voorn & Laurent Maldo. More rehearsals for our upcoming festival appearance at Electric Picnic in 2 weeks’ time, we are currently road-testing our second album which will be released on ICONYC in Jan 2019. Oh, and the second part of Paperheart – Torn Apart in December and lastly, my tech house album called Purple Dragon is due for release in late September, the culmination of 5 years of work.
Paperheart’s ‘Torn Apart 01’ is out now on ICONYC, you can purchase the release: here
Words by Mitch Alexander and Phraktal
Photography by Morphosis Studio
Music by Phraktal