Coining the term “uketronica” to describe their novel sound, dancy indie folk duo Boombox Séance artfully combine the sounds of a baritone ukulele played through a loop pedal, accompanied by drums, keys and the vocal stylings of singer-songwriters Victoria Vox and Aaron English. Here, we chatted with the two about their current PledgeMusic campaign through which they’re recording and releasing their debut album as a duo.
You both met at a songwriter’s conference. Can you tell us more about how the two of you decided to work together? That’s not a combination most would even think of working with – with a baritone ukulele and loop pedal.
Aaron: The festival we met at -- SteelBridge Songfest, Sturgeon Bay, WI -- is designed to bring songwriters together in new and unanticipated combinations. Songwriters gather in a circle and “spin the bottle” every night for their next writing team for collaboration. You get the wildest, most unlikely combination of writers at this festival.
Regarding the baritone ukulele and loop pedal concept, Victoria is a ukulele-based singer-songwriter and began experimenting with the loop pedal as a tool for expanding her sound as a solo artist. But she brought it into our first writing session together, and that soon became the starting point for each of our songs. She’d create a loop with the baritone ukulele and then we’d start singing over it.
Was there an instant artistic chemistry that let you know this would continue beyond that conference?
Victoria: The first song we wrote together, “Trouble." It was an unusual dance song built around a baritone ukulele loop and layers of vocal chants in tight harmony, and a verse lyric. We wrote “Denial” the next day, and it had a similar result. We dug the new sound and decided to continue writing with that vibe in mind. We decided then that we needed to be a separate project from our solo projects. Boombox Séance was then born. Being a bi-coastal band has its challenges, but we really believe in the music … so we keep going!
How does the final product compare with what you’ve done as solo artists?
Aaron: It’s much darker and more danceable than what we tend to write separately. It’s also more immediate -- these are rhythmic songs full of chanted hooks and beats. The tight male/female vocal harmonies make it different, too. We both are the lead singers, who equally support each other’s part. The hooky, driving sound and the uniqueness of the “uketronica” concept seems to really grab the audience.
Have you found it challenging to learn how to describe and market Boombox Séance?
Victoria: It has been a bit of a challenge to market Boombox Séance. “Uketronica” has been a handy description, and luckily it seems to perk some people’s interest. As far as the subject matter goes, we have a clear and consistent theme/message that’s been easy to communicate. It’s a little dark, but ultimately the songs are uplifting and tackle taboo social issues like domestic violence, addiction, sexual assault. I might say it’s a mix between Tune-Yards and Fleetwood Mac.
How did you decide to partner with PledgeMusic since this was your first project?
Victoria: Our producer, Geoff Stanfield, is a longtime ally of PledgeMusic and praised it as a fundraising platform. We have had successful crowd-funding campaigns as solo artists in the past and were intrigued by PledgeMusic’s model. We especially like the aspect of giving back to charity -- in our case, Futures Without Violence.
Can you tell us some of the hopes for the New Year?
Aaron: Our plans for the New Year include releasing the debut album and touring with it in the spring. We’re excited to see who responds to this music, and how. We both have our established fan bases for our own music, but Boombox Séance is very different – so it’s new and uncharted territory for us.