I sat down with Nikki Lanzer from Volume One Magazine to talk about my single ‘California Babe’ and my love for this new style of music, which I’m diving head first into! The article had to be summed up to half a page, so I thought I would share my full answers with you all, incase you wanted to learn more 🙂
Q: What inspired you to write California Babe in the first place?
A: California Babe was one of many demos I had recorded and set aside to finish for another day. Originally titled “3000 Miles”, the track had a rough acoustic guitar lick and only a few lines of verse written. I avoided working on the song for months, due to lack of direction and current void of creativity. It sat silently on my hard drive as the bare bones of an idea until last winter.
As many do, my girlfriend Emily and I reached a difficult time in our relationship, which of course is great songwriting material, haha. We were currently renting out 1 room in a home in Minneapolis. Put yourself in a room with anyone, and you’re guaranteed to get on each others nerves. Long story short, we broke up and she left. I didn’t know where she was going.
Emily is originally from Bakersfield, California and she had always talked about moving back there again some day. The day she left sparked a surge of creativity. I opened up the session and began working on it. I worked on it all weekend, day and night, tweaking things here and there. Surprisingly, she came through the door a few days later. I played the song for her and she really liked it, which smoothed things over pretty well, haha.
Q: What have you been doing (musically and otherwise) since The Silver Heart Club?
A: When SHC ended, I felt I had lost eight years of dedication and hard work. I felt defeated in a way and wasn’t prepared to begin working on a new musical project from scratch. So, I took a breather from music for a few weeks and started up www.MusicInMinnesota.com, a website that features interviews and performances from national acts who pass through Minnesota. It blossomed into a great tool for me as an artist because I’ve been able to have conversations with many successful artists and soak up as much knowledge as they’re willing to throw at me.
Deep down, I knew that jumping into a new project wasn’t going to help my depression, but I love to create and continue to build. My mom had left behind a shelf full of books in her room. I took them all with the intentions on reading them so I could possibly reach her level of happiness and faith that she had. The first book I read was called, “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne and it completely changed my perspective on life.
The Secret is based on the law of attraction and talks on how positive thinking can create life-changing results such as increased happiness, health, and wealth. I didn’t stop there; I began downloading countless self-help audio books and listening to them in my free time. These practices in the books are in fact changing my life for the better. I recommend everyone from all walks of life to check out this information that is available to us all. It’ll blow your mind. Since then, I’ve been focusing on becoming an all-around better person. I also DJ for a 5k color run called The Color Dash. I fly all around the country to play music and throw colored corn starch at runners. It’s a great time.
I am currently working as a Wardrobe Assistant for an independent Christian film taking place in Owatonna, Minnesota for the entire month of October. The film is called Zombies. So far, the experience has been so much fun. I love being surrounded by creative people. Video interests me just as much as music does, so I feel very grateful to have this unique opportunity to be apart of a film.
Q: Was your girlfriend the actress featured in the video?
A: Yes! She certainly was. The music video was her first time ever being on camera, so it was something a little uncomfortable for her, but she loosened up half way through the shoot. I think she did great! It was the perfect opportunity for Emily to visit family in California while we were visiting!
Q: How has she been a help and support throughout your journey as an artist?
A: There is never a moment when Emily isn’t there for me. She breathes confidence back into me when self-doubt crushes my spirits, pushes me to take action on my ideas and gives her valuable unbiased opinion on the new songs I’m working on. She’s not afraid to tell me she hates a song, haha.
Q: Were there any challenges you encountered while making this single? (Warning: Long Answer, haha)
A: Challenges? Absolutely! I paid a studio in Minneapolis a couple hundred dollars to record my vocals for California Babe. They had an assortment of high quality microphones and a great vocal booth. It felt really good when recording the vocal takes, until my mixing engineer Adam confessed that he thought my demo vocals sounded better than the vocals I just paid to record. So, what you’re actually hearing on the final version of the song is vocal takes of me singing from my computer chair at home. Maybe that’s why it sounds so relaxed, haha.
Here’s the big one…On my way home from work one day, my fuel pump went out traveling on i94. The money I had saved to fund my music was needed to cover the cost of the repairs. Once the part had been replaced, I picked up the car and headed to Albertville to meet up with Adam, my mixing engineer. It was stop and go traffic most of the way. As traffic loosened up I accelerated to 65 mph with the Albertville exit just ahead. Suddenly, all I saw was darkness, accompanied by an extremely loud “BANG!”
It all happened so fast. My brain couldn’t process what the heck happened. I thought I’d been shot or something! I was breathing in particles of glass as I tried to pull over to the shoulder of the road as safely as possible. After getting out and taking a look at my car, it was clear the mechanic back at the shop did not latch my hood properly, which resulted in the hood catching wind and smashing my entire windshield.
I slowly cruised my car to Adam’s studio, determined to finish mixing California Babe that night. Just my luck, Adam had bad news. The session kept crashing every time he tried to playback the song. We weren’t able to make any progress that night. I finished the day with the stress of my car being totaled and the possibility of my session being corrupt.
Fortunately, the owner of the shop compensated me for my damages and Adam was able to get the song up and running correctly. Once the song was finished, I felt the need to pair it up with a music video. If I was going to introduce myself to the world as Bo Weber, I wanted to do it right.
So, I used the money I received from my car to buy a couple tickets to California!
I found an affordable videographer on craigslist along with an old truck for Emily to drive during the video. The morning of the shoot, the man who owned the truck cancelled our agreement. Since the truck was crucial to have in the video, I began driving around the streets of Los Angeles in my rental car, scouting for old Ford trucks. I had knocked on a handful of front doors, and talked to a few people who were filling up at gas stations, but nobody felt comfortable with letting us use their vehicle for the shoot.
I drove back to our place and began scouring Craigslist Cars & Trucks listings once again. Luckily, a man with a 1971 Baby Blue F250 responded to my email, agreeing to rent out his truck for one day. We met up with the owner of the truck on set the very next morning. As he was walking up to us, he asked the videographer, “Is that a Panasonic GH3?”.
It turned out that the owner of the truck knew a thing or two about cameras. He then told us he is a camera operator for the USA Television Series Covert Affairs, Conan O’brien, MTV Movie Awards and much more.
He was an incredible help on set by giving the videographer tips and suggestions for scenes and angles. Not at all what I was expecting from a random craigslist guy trying to sell an old truck!
Q; How have you changed stylistically from your former days in the band?
A: I feel that I’ve grown up an enormous amount within the last two years. I’m sure a lot has to do with the death of my mother. When you lose someone, you become more sensitive; at least I did. I’ve noticed certain sounds now have the ability to affect me on more of an emotional level than before. Specific chords of an instrument can fill my heart with a feeling that I can only pinpoint as general nostalgia. My goal is to identify those sounds and chords and create music that moves me, as well as others. I believe that music is an incredible tool for healing, whether you are the listener or creator.
I had a great time playing pop/punk music, however, personal tastes naturally change as you get older. I discovered deep house music online and immediately fell in love. The sounds I heard from these newly discovered songs were warm and the vibe was comforting. Deep house is basically simplistic and relaxing electronic music. (Not the dubstep headaches you might be thinking of when you hear the word “Electronic”.)
Q: How have you developed your own unique sound?
A: Moving from pop/punk music to what I’m doing now was a process that involved completely changing the way I created music. I have spent hundreds of hours experimenting with new digital instruments and learning a style that’s very foreign to me.
I focus much of my time dialing in on specific synthesizer wave forms, arpeggios, and drum samples. There are hundreds of synth presets to choose from within the midi plug-ins, however I prefer to tweak and customize each synth to my liking, which often takes more time than the actual song writing itself. It’s interesting how manipulating the shape of a sound wave can drastically change the identity of the instrument. Yet, the songs I will be releasing still don’t quite meet my expectations. My biggest battle is I know how I want my records to sound, and if they don’t match up with my vision, it’s not good enough to show to the public. There will never be a shortage of knowledge to obtain in this industry. That’s why I love music.
Q: Can we expect any other new releases soon?
A: Yes! Thanks to awesome family and friends, I recently successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign! My goal was to raise $3000 to record a five-track album in memory of my mom, Wendy. Luckily I have the best friends and family around who support what I do, so I can do what I do. I am constantly working on the album; whether it be during a flight home from a Color Dash or a day off from filming. The estimation release date is sometime January!