By ROB DUGUAY In the world of electronic music, it's only a matter of time until the individual, or individuals, behind the beats end up incorporating vocals. The likes of Daft Punk, Fatboy Slim, Deadmau5, MSTRKRFT, The Crystal Method, Justice and many
In the world of electronic music, it’s only a matter of time until the individual, or individuals, behind the beats end up incorporating vocals.
The likes of Daft Punk, Fatboy Slim, Deadmau5, MSTRKRFT, The Crystal Method, Justice and many others have done it and the results are often interesting. Sometimes it borders on hip-hop, while at other times it’ll embrace a pop vibe and there are even instances of it mimicking rock music.
Trying to classify “Bellows” from the Cranston-based electronic musician Boltcutter, who is also known as Riley Baez-Bradway, and the Middleboro, Massachusetts based artist Theodore James is a tad more difficult. The track, which came out on Dec. 4, has a very chill and hypnotic vibe that’s akin to contemporary alternative and indie music while also having a unique pop identity.
The Los Angeles-based label, internet collective and curation channel Lush Selects assisted in releasing the single, while the collaboration between Baez-Bradway and James has been a few years in the making. They’ve done a lot of experimenting together with effects, sounds and loops, and it resulted in the unveiling of “Bellows.”
“Theodore and I actually began laying the foundation for ‘Bellows’ in 2017, back when we were roommates,” Baez-Bradway says of the making of the track. “He has a background producing beats and had already whipped up the core percussion, sound effects, most of the atmospheric bits. I think he’d hit a wall, so he sat me down to have a go at it. We then spent a few hours creating the main chords and experimenting with recording effects and extraneous sounds. I recall tracking a distorted kick loop played through a pair of earpods and fun stuff like that.”
He adds: “Then it sat on my hard drive pretty much untouched for three years until, after prolonged procrastination, I started chipping away at it again, and the rest just kind of fell into place. I wrote the lyrics about a really good day my wife had, she had just been diagnosed with a chronic disability that saps a lot of their energy day-to-day. I came home from work one day to find them dancing and singing boisterously around the kitchen while making potatoes, and I remember it making me smile a huge, dorky smile seeing them really feeling like themselves. Simply watching them exist is magic to me; I wanted to capture that ascending, mesmerizing, all-consuming, standing-atop-a-mountain feeling in musical form as accurately as I could.”
With the song being completed, Baez-Bradway decided to hit up a connection of his at Lush Selects, and the rest is history. He also had a fellow member of the collective make the cover art for it.
“After finally wrapping everything up, I sent the pre-master over to my old friend Brent Smith at Lush Selects and got everything in place,” he says. “I’ve been releasing music with the collective since my college years at the New England Institute of Technology. Sean Sinclair graced it with his absolutely gorgeous cover art, I finished the mastering and then we released it to conclude the final month of an absolutely bonkers year with a simple memoir of a wonderful evening. It’s about the little moments, right?”
To embrace the little moments “Bellows” provides, give it a listen via Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, Deezer or YouTube. To keep track of what Baez-Bradway has coming out under the Boltcutter name, give his page a like at facebook.com/boltcuttermusic and visit his Soundcloud page at soundcloud.com/boltcutter.