It’s rare that your first band is the one that catapults you to a beach on Hawaii, a penthouse on the Upper East Side or a front-row seat at Kanye’s next album launch / fashion show / celebration of all-things-Kanye.
Instead, most musicians try on bands like you try on jackets in the H&M changing room, discarding a few until it starts to feel right.
Bossy Love might be a boxfresh concern, but it already feels right.
The Glasgow-based duo of Amandah Wilkinson (ex of Aussie indie-pop outfit Operator Please) and John Baillie Jnr (ex of hug-loving noiseniks Dananananaykroyd) have combined forces to form a stomping, groove-laden pop-funk machine with the kind of killer hooks that could lay waste to the charts.
Since the release of their Holidates mixtape in late 2014 they’ve built a small but loyal fanbase, and expectations are high for more of their dazzling, savvy, RnB-inflected pop, which has echoes of TLC and Grimes in Wilkinson’s smooth vocal delivery, backed by Baillie Jnr’s bass-heavy yet nuanced production.
Much has already been made of their day jobs (“mechanical scientist” and “barbecue restaurateur”) but we caught up with Amandah between all the data, charcoal and synths to find out how they approach Bossy Love, and what’s next.
Like most other listeners, we first heard Bossy Love thanks to the free Holidates mixtape, which felt like a complete breath of fresh air. Were you happy with the reaction to it?
“Cheers! We didn’t really have a plan when it came to the mixtape, we kinda just put together all the bits and pieces we were working on and put it online. We were surprised with the reaction mainly and pretty happy that a few people managed to hear it.
“It was when I had just moved to Glasgow after travelling and living in a bunch of places around the world, so a lot of the songs are based around transition and movement.”
You’ve both been in bands before, but Bossy Love feels like something totally new. Did you see it that way or is it more of an evolution for you?
“I had no idea where I was going to end up after my last band, I knew I’d definitely continue to write and make music and in the beginning Bossy Love was born as a solo project.
“John and I had worked together on and off for years – so when I settled in the UK I called him to do production on some songs I had and it worked and then it was pretty obvious he was a supposed to be part of it and we were supposed to write and work together.”
What’s your approach to songwriting and production? Do you collaborate from the start or keep it separate?
“It works in so many different ways. Sometimes John will have beats, sometimes I will write a shell of a song, just kinda sparks from things here and there. Sometimes when we are just hanging out and listening to snippets, a whole song can happen. We don’t really have a specific way of doing things.”
There seems to be a whole range of influences from ’80s pop to ’90s RnB and hip hop in your music, but who are your musical heroes?
“I love a lot of artists for their genius production as well as writing, but musical heroes as artists are Lisa Lisa & The Cult Jam, Janet Jackson, Robyn, and The Knife.”
How do you juggle Bossy Love with your day jobs at the moment? Do you see that changing?
“Like everything we make time to do the things we do, at this point in time it’s necessary to have a day job and I’m lucky enough to have a flexible work place where they understand what I’m doing!
“Who knows [about that changing]? I think so though.”
What’s the story behind the name? Will you ever consider a split-release with Tuff Love? Or Courtney Love?
“I wanted something that was a mix of sweet / sinister – happy / sad – nice and mean. Somewhere balanced like that.
“Imagine one of those collabs?! That would be wild! And yes, considering one of the first songs I ever learnt on the guitar was ‘Celebrity Skin’.”
How is 2016 shaping up for you? Any festivals on the horizon yet?
“It’s good! Plenty of shows and festivals happening.”
Do you have plans to release any more new music in 2016? How is that shaping up?
“There’s a brand new single coming very (very) soon!”
Your sound has the potential to take off in a major way. Would you embrace the popstar lifestyle if it did happen, or stay all secret and mysterious?
“I think you just gotta surrender with whatever is happening and go with it!”
Bossy Love support Errors at La Belle Angele in Edinburgh on Saturday (5 March).