The Bosswich
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The Bosswich

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Punk

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"Waterloo’s The Bosswich kicking off summer in spunky style"

For many bands, summer is the time to head out on the road, bringing to the people what they’ve spent the rest of the year working on. But for Waterloo ska-punk ensemble The Bosswich, summer is the time when they need to be most productive, considering nearly all of its members are scattered at universities around the province.

Partly for that reason, the band has marked the start of each of the past three summers with a gig intended to bring together all of its supporters, and this year’s show at Kitchener’s Registry Theatre is the most ambitious one yet. The Bosswich released its debut album, Fun-2-3-4, last year and is gearing up to work on new material, some of which will be premiered tonight.

“Summer is definitely the time when we cut loose,” lead singer Fletcher Planert says. “We spend all year round thinking about the next move we’ll make as a band — writing songs, designing T-shirts, making business plans. Last summer we recorded, but this summer we want to concentrate on performing. We feel that our sound is evolving from our first CD, and we’re excited to have people hear that.”

The Bosswich formed out of Planert’s and a few of his fellow Bluevale Collegiate classmates’ love of ska-punk, particularly California band Reel Big Fish. Soon after, they began writing original material and trying to carve out their own sound, which Planert describes as “zany music that people can just dance or sing along to.” He adds, “The first time we ever played was at a Bluevale pep rally, and I think seeing everyone jumping around and having fun that day is what gave us the bug.”

With a full horn section, The Bosswich certainly has a leg up on other aspiring ska groups, and Planert admits that it took some time to find the right combination of players in order to achieve the sound he and the band’s other core members wanted from the beginning. “It was actually quite tough to find musicians that were on the same wavelength as us,” Planert says.

“In 2005 you weren’t hearing a lot of ska bands on the radio or seeing them on TV, so the people who could play this music were really dedicated to it. In 2010 now, things are starting to change. There are more people, we’re finding, who are getting into the ska-punk movement again, which to me might be a reaction against heavy music that takes itself a bit too seriously.”

The band’s approach is really an extension of Planert’s fun-loving attitude. It’s something he’s had to maintain, given how detached all of the members are throughout most of the year, although he says technology has been a crucial element in keeping The Bosswich together. “Songwriting has become an interesting process,” he says. “When I got my MacBook, I started learning how to use GarageBand, and before too long I was emailing demos to everybody.

“It’s cool though, because I can shape the songs how I want, and then everybody can flesh out the tunes in their own way. Once it gets to that point, the key is to put as much energy into our performances as we can. That’s really what matters most to us, getting across how passionate we are about what we do.” - The KW Record


"The Bosswich aren’t just punks with horns"

The Bosswich aren’t just punks with horns

Local ska-punks, The Bosswich, are beginning to reap the fruits of their labours. The pals-since-high school recently released their sophomore effort, the Eat Me EP; a neat encapsulation of their increasing musical maturity and clever popsmithing prowess. This progressive release, combined with their victory at last year’s taste-making ARC Battle of the Bands, suggest that the Bosswich are getting closer to achieving their dreams.

“We had always talked about how amazing it would be to play in a band at the same level as some of our influences,” singer Fletch said, “but we were young and we weren’t playing our own material (yet). At the time, we were just stoked to have a band together that played Reel Big Fish and Mighty Mighty Bosstones covers.

“We started the Bosswich because we loved to play ska music. The music was fun, funny, danceable, and during our first couple performances we had most of the audience dancing and skanking away. People got excited to hear us play. Metal and emo were really big and we were playing exciting pop-punk songs with up-stroked guitar, walking bass, vocal hooks, and a brass section. We were a total anomaly — and it was awesome.”

As the band grew from high school anomaly to regional ska heavyweights, they tightened their approach to performing and songwriting. No longer content to emulate their heroes’ songs, they knew that to be taken seriously (particularly in a genre that’s anything but), they would need strong, original material, and they’d need to be more than a pop-punk band that happened to have a couple of horns in it.

“When we first started writing songs, a lot of the time we just wanted to tell a story that might make people laugh,” Fletch explains. “Reel Big Fish was a huge influence for us, and they can be very corny. When you listen to our first CD (Fun-2-3-4), you can really hear us trying to be them. For a while I was embarrassed by that, but as we mature it’s something I realize that almost any band that sticks around goes through. We were just looking for an identity.

“The Eat Me EP is more of a step in a direction that can be more distinctly described as ’The Bosswich’. Every artist searches to find their voice, and what comes with that search is a lot of anger and frustration (at least for me). When you’ve already written a bunch of songs that you think are pretty good, where do you go next? How do you try new things while staying true to what you’ve already done and who you are? Sometimes you just gotta play loud music and scream bad words.”

As with any good ska band, the real juice is in the band’s onstage energy. It’s hard not to get swept up in the hollered gang vocals, sharp horn blasts, and skittish, dancing drum beats. Translating that feral, in-the-moment energy onto a record, is, however, a different animal, and one that many of the genre’s bands fail to deliver. For the Bosswich, their history, chemistry, and insistent energy moved them past any such roadblock.

“You’re right, it’s hard to capture that spark on a record,” Fletch agrees. “Part of seeing the Bosswich is experiencing our onstage dynamic. We all grew up together and these songs are an integral part of our lives together. If there’s one thing we’ve always been, it’s fun. We work hard to play well and sound good, but we know that things go wrong in the moment during a live show. We just try to enjoy (it). It’s hard for me to talk about us playing live without tooting my own horn like crazy, but I can say with confidence that you haven’t experienced what the Bosswich truly is until you’ve seen us live.”

WHO: The Bosswich

WHERE: Maxwell’s Music House

WHEN: Friday, Aug. 31

DOORS: 9 p.m.
- The KW Record


"Passing the mustard"

Their first performance was kind of a mess.

The Bosswich were competing in a Battle of the Bands at Club Vinyl in Guelph last year. Five minutes before showtime, lead singer Fletcher Planert suggested to Cody Eckensviller that he should set up his drums.

Problem was, he didn’t bring his drum stand.

“So we got a pair of shoelaces and dangled the cymbals above Cody, and some fans from the audience held the drums,” recalled Planert.

That sense of humour and willingness to fly by the seat of their pants is reflected in their music, and The Bosswich won the battle that night.

Made up of six young men from Waterloo, the ska band has just released their first CD, Fun-2-3-4.

The effort is a self-produced but professional romp, complete with a horn section reminiscent of Modest Mouse.

“We really pull our influences from ska and punk a lot, but everything else kind of pools in eventually,” Planert said.

“We started this band to play ska, and we still strive to do that. We kind of delve into other stuff every once in a while, but it always comes back to ska music for us.”

Eckinsviller and the baby of the group, bass guitarist Chris Casher, attend Bluevale Collegiate Institute. The others are graduates who have all gone off to school.

Trumpet player Nathan Shinkar is at Briercrest Bible College in Saskatchewan, and J. D. Vandonk, who plays trombone, goes to Wilfrid Laurier.

Planert is in his second year at Queen’s, taking a concurrent education program and majoring in vocals. His song-writing partner, lead guitarist and saxophone player Nathan Leung, is in the musical theatre program at Sheridan College.

That means the group can only get together during summer, Christmas holidays and reading week. They typically practice in the basement at Eckenviller’s home.

“His parents have been great,” Planert said. “There’s just amps and gear everywhere and racket coming all the time.”

The Eckenvillers don’t just lend their son and their basement. “Cody’s mom is known for her Kijiji skills,” Leung said. “So she goes online and gets all this equipment really cheap.”

She helped them track down a mixer and a bunch of microphones and cables. When Planert’s parents went to Europe last summer, they decided it would be the perfect time to take The Bosswich to the next level and start recording.

“Our initial plan was to get the gear together, and do it ourselves, and get it done in two weeks,” Planert said. “And we started, and we realized we really had no idea what we were doing.”

They pulled in another Bluevale grad, Andrew Schedler, who completed the mixing and mastering. It took several weeks to finish the project.

“We figured we would feel better if we did it ourselves, and more proud of the final product,” Leung said.

Song titles such as Kissed Her Sister and I Like Someone Else belie the vocal maturity of Planert and the tight performance of the band members. But there is no doubt these guys are just out of high school.

They were in Stratford for a performance of The Music Man when they got the inspiration for their band name at a diner called Features. One of the menu items, the Bosswich, layers on three eggs, sausage, and HP sauce.

“I am not kidding, this was without a doubt the best sandwich I have ever eaten in my life,” said Vandonk.

The Bosswich has performed at the Wax, Maxwell’s Music House and the Grist Mill. But, like garage bands everywhere, they’re not above playing a gig in a garage.

Fresh from their triumph at the Battle of the Bands, The Bosswich wanted to give their fans a little more. They drove back to Waterloo and set up in Shinkar’s garage.

“We felt like we’d cheated people, they didn’t get to see us play that much,” Leung said. “We played until the cops came at about 11. We were in the middle of the last song when we saw the cruiser pull up.

“I turned to Cody and said, ‘Hurry up, we want to finish this song.’” - Waterloo Chronicle


Discography

Fun-2-3-4 (2009)
Eat Me EP (2012)

Photos

Bio

The Bosswich has been a pillar in the local music scene in Kitchener-Waterloo for the past 8 years. As an up and coming Ska band they strive to prove that ska is far from it's last breath. Their high energy shows leave you humming their tunes for days.

Raised on The Planet Smashers, Reel Big Fish, The Mad Caddies, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones (Just to name a few) this seven piece ska band is working hard to bring a return to ska. With their clever song writing, catchy hooks and pulling from a wide taste in music, The Bosswich have discovered a recipe for creating a sound that is uniquely their own. The Bosswich have their goals set high. They have shared the stage with Ska greats such as Reel Big Fish, The Planet Smashers, The Johnstones, as well as punk legends GOB to name a few.  They have also enjoyed playing the main stage at KOI Music Festival and being a part of SCENE Music Festival in St. Catherines.

Currently recording their sophomore full-lenth, these seven gentlemen will surely become a staple in the Canadian Ska scene.

Band Members