From Shefield, one of the cradles of electronica, the HiEM duo of Nick Eastwood and David Boswell aka Bozzwell are back, a new EP, “Esoteric” for Belgian label Subfield, label run by Mugwump, an EP that comes in 2 parts, first as a single with the track ‘Moonwitch and Tarot’, and later with the full EP, which will include another original track, ‘Frightened by Strangers’, and 2 remixes by producers Manfredas and Ami Moderne.
An opportunity to do an interview with one of its members and review his long career, we present you David Boswell aka Bozzwell, a producer who apart from his career with HiEM, also works as a solo producer.
– You grew up in Sheffield, one of the cradles of modern electronic music, a city that from the late 70s and 80s saw the birth of bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Human League, Heaven 17, Pulp…. among many others. How did you experience all this explosion of bands in a city like Sheffield?
– (A) Well I missed most of it, because I arrived here in 97, Nick from Hiem has lived here all of his life, so when I got here, it was more of the Britpop thing happening with Pulp etc .
– How has this musical explosion evolved over the years up to the present time? How has it influenced you to dedicate yourself to music?
– (A) Well theres still a lot of synths here, I guess Electronic music, will always be a main influence with what ever comes out of Sheffield ,well I love living here, all my friends are here, its cheap to keep your head down and get on with things, London is too crazy for me ,its got more of a Berlin vibe here .
– Your beginnings in music, as a vocalist in the band/collective ‘All Seeing I’ in the late 90s, how do you remember those beginnings?
– (A) It was quite eye opening at the time, its a bit like your on a rollercoaster hanging on for dear life. well I got brought in to sing and co produce one of the tracks on the Pickled Eggs And Sherbert album, from there they kept on having hits, so they needed someone live to tour with so, i was brought in with a few others to cover that, it was a special time as at the same time, Moloko with Rosion Murphy was blowing up, and of course Pulp were at their biggest at the time, I was never any good at doing the pop star thing, and it was all of a blur really, but made me realise I could actually do something in the industry, and I had something to offer.
– In those same years, you formed Hiem together with Nick “Nico” Eastwood, who came from another band, Venini. What was the idea of forming your band? What influences did you have at that time?
– (A) Well when we were playing Reading/Leeds festivals there was this guy at the front of the stage doing a Monster Dance, anyhows after the show he was backstage in our cabin, then I realised he was in Venini, im sure we had some sort of banter about him eating my scotch eggs from the rider, we just started writing and demoing stuff a year or so later and that was it really .
– In the first years, you released several singles on prestigious labels like Crosstown Rebels or Eskimo Recordings or Marketing Music, highlighting tracks like ‘She’s The One’ (with remix by Mathew Jonson) or ‘Zombie Party’ (with remix by Konrad Black) or ‘Clubscene Popscene’ (remixed by Prins Thomas) or ‘Freaky Nights’ (with remix by Tim Paris)… How do you see these productions over time?
–(A) Well when I look back to those records, I realise there all quite unique in their own way, I mean Zombie Party was an acoustic record really, they were all different, weve always steered away from just writing club tracks, for every millon of them kinds of records, theres not many that have any character. Not saying there all like that, but most of them blur into each other, I guess thats hy weve always sung or had spoken word on our tracks, theres some people that hate my vocals so I dunno ha ha It can work the other way, but for me its important to have something that raises peoples eyebrows .
– Then came the Nang Records label, and with it the development of your excellent album ‘Escape From Division Street’, in which you had the collaboration of 2 masters such as Phil Oakey and Roots Manuva, and a whole series of great remixes. How was the making of that album, and the collaborations, working with 2 such illustrious names as them?
– (A) That album was like a couple of years in the making, with Phil I’d worked with him before in The All Seeing I project, we had a meeting and he came in and did his vocals, its a bit weired I guess because your sitting there thinking, jeeeez were working with Phil Oakey from The Human League, theres always a bit of the Starstruck thing, sometimes I felt we let him down a bit, with the song as it should have been a lot stronger or even of it was the right one for him to do, but I guess it is what it is, Same thing with Rodney (Roots Manuva) his record label were hassling him to have a hit record anyhows he asked me once “Bozz write me a hit record“ so I did few tracks with him and Dj Culture was one of ones that was too pop orientated for his solo album ,so thats why that came out .
– At the same time, you have always maintained an individual trajectory, a trajectory that has taken you to labels such as Firm, Throne Of Blood, Clouded Vision, Relish…… How is your way of working as a solo artist different from working in Hiem?
– (A) The Hiem drecords have much more of an Italo feel to them, as with the Bozzwell records which come from a more Techno and darker place, I loved working with those labels, especially Firm records ,I felt like I’d moved into the Kompakt family for a while, I’ve got so many fond memories hanging out with all them guys djing at 3 in the morning with people going crazy to “In My Cocoon” .
– And now, after some time of silence, the return of Hiem with new material, with an EP for Subfield’s label, directed by Mugwump. How has this comeback been, how has your music evolved in these 20 years?
– (A) Its nice to be back working with a Belgium label, I spent a few years recording for Eskimo and Geoffwahs “Suicide Records” so its nice to be involved once again, I guess its evolved naturally I think, with this new ep, things are a little more post punk and gothic, which weve been having fun with .
– What are your future solo projects, and those of Hiem?
– (A) Well I have some new Acousitic/Electronic music out this year through Society Records in Sheffield, and just working on some new Hiem tracks, which hopefully be out towards the end of the year, were hoping to get another albums worth of music recorded. There should be a few Bozzwell remixes, out there this year also .
– Currently, we are living a complicated situation for artists, musicians, with the Covid-19, this world situation, has this situation influenced you when it comes to producing, how do you see the current situation for artists?
– (A) Yeh I think its influenced, everyone at every level, no one can go out to a club or anything, so its been really tough, but out of this ive come out with a lot of music, so theres one positive thing thats come out of it, luckily Covid has been forgiving with me as I’ve not had anything or any symptoms, touch wood, in fact om getting my vaccine in a few weeks, so im hoping eveyone can get back to normal towards the end of the year all I can say kwhen things get back to normal, theres gonna some serious Partys and craziness going on.
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