Boslen talks about his new album Gonzo, as well as his growth as an artist and man in his interview with SHIFTER editor Kevin Bourne, aka KB The Boss.
Kevin Bourne: So let’s jump right into it. One thing I guess I noticed immediately is how much you care, about first of all, the details. We were just talking to your manager about how detailed sometimes you could be with the sound of things.
Boslen: Yeah, too much sometimes (laughs).
KB: No, no, ‘cause I was saying to him, on our end, we receive a lot of music, so when someone pays attention to the detail, we hear it. Even the way you use your voice; thank you just for that. For that level of attention to detail. Where does that level of attention to detail come from for you on this project?
Boslen: My attention to detail specifically on this project, it came from truthfully, me proving to myself that I can do it, you know. Proving to myself I can make timeless music, ‘cause when it came to this project more than anything, this was supposed to be an experimental twist of sounds; and it’s gonzo so it’s supposed to be up, down, left, right, like that’s how my personality is. But if you, if an individual is able to have one line, like a spinal cord throughout a project that’s supposed to be sporadic, then I did my job well. And the attention to detail is kind of just a cherry on top to just remind people that a lot of people don’t have that in their music now. So if you’re able to do that on this, then I conquered my job.
KB: I appreciate that ‘cause again, you’re still pretty young and so for you as a young artist to still have that level of attention to detail, and even the attention to the content. I appreciate that fact that you are so conscious of just wanting to inspire. I find a lot of artists, I won’t say shy away from inspiring and being role models, but you’re kind of embracing the opportunity. The attention of wanting to inspire the next generation, where does that specifically come from?
Boslen: That is the closest thing to giving a human purpose, is to inspire. Because it transcends through not just music, but sports, to designers, to food…it’s everything on this planet. If you’re able to start a new legion, an army of kids that feel like, “I can do something now because of that individual”, then it’s not even about you anymore, it’s about everyone else. And I feel like a lot of people like to be selfish in a way. A lot of, even when you hear conversations, of just normal conversations, people love to talk about themselves; it’s just casual, it’s cool, ‘cause that’s all you think, everybody thinks they’re the main character. And if you just let your work speak for itself, or you just let the room breathe and be quiet, then it attaches to that inspiration.
I feel like even before that, it was just me, my mom and my sister; that was before my dad, his name is Christopher Gosselin…he changed my entire life, made me the man I am today. Before that, I had to be in that position to be a role model ‘cause I wanted to make sure my mom was good, so it was just kind of natural. And I saw it started resonating at shows. I just did a show in Toronto so seeing some of the kids come up to me, and their smiles, knowing the lyrics. Some girl came up to me and said, “You know my friend died last week in a car accident”, and she started like crying and stuff, and she’s like, “You’re music changed my life” and I was like, “Bruh”…I was lost for words.
KB: Let’s talk about the Toronto show ‘cause we were there. While you were performing, it was almost like you were studying the audience a bit.
Boslen: A hundred percent (laughing).
KB: You were very observant at how people were reacting. I saw you looking around the balcony. I was like “Yo, this guy is studying the crowd.” Were you looking to see how people were receiving the new material?
Boslen: Not really, I was having fun. I wasn’t really caring…I was calling people out ‘cause it was funny, but more so I was just living in the moment. I was just taking a mental image ‘cause for some reason I just have bad memory loss. I don’t know what it is. I can’t even remember what I ate yesterday but in moments like that that are very pivotal for an artists’ career––that is my second show in three or four years––and in Toronto with specific individuals that I know should be there. I’m just trying to live in the moment and breathe. So when I’m looking around, I’m really just looking around like, “Wow, I’m actually here”.
Before I went on I was on a call with my dad in the green room and he’s like “Corbin, there’s gonna be a time and a place where you’re gonna be 50 or 60 years old and you’re gonna look back on all this. And what are you going to do? what are you going to remember?” And I was like okay. So I went on stage and I made sure that I remembered the girl in the silver dress right in front of me. I remember that 12AM is right over there. I remember that the crowd, the kids, are right here and I felt like for some reason, all the labels and execs in suits were all upstairs, and my ragers were right here. And I remember that my team was right to my right. Isaac was telling me to stay on. Like it’s just all these small details you need to remember so…
If you’re able to start a new legion, an army of kids that feel like, “I can do something now because of that individual”, then it’s not even about you anymore, it’s about everyone else.
KB: And how was it seeing people reacting to the new material, performing the new material in front of the live audience?
Boslen: Man it was…
KB: ‘Cause someone hit me up after, they were like “Yo, people know the words.” So to see the people in the front knew the words, whether it’s the older material or the new ones… I found other people in the audience were surprised ‘cause you’re a Canadian artist, and people know the words to even the new stuff.
Boslen: You know what’s funny? I just had this random thought. Before I went on tour there were multiple individuals. I was in LA, in Toronto for a bit, there was multiple individuals who when I mentioned I was going on tour they were like, “Oh who’s headlining?” And I was like, “Me” and they were confused. It doesn’t make sense for an artist at my career stage analytically to be on a tour by himself and to have artists scream the lyrics back and actually resonate. It shouldn’t happen is basically what I’m trying to say. And that’s what makes me so excited because it’s not like, “Oh, I’m proving you wrong, fuck you”. It’s not that, it’s more like I can do that as a man, I know I can do that. And that’s the coolest thing about this whole trip is that if there’s 30 people in the room, to 500, to whatever, I’m just grateful for anybody to be there and I feel like I should be here. It’s not really a surprise. Like I’m not trying to sound egotistical by any means, but if I don’t believe it who else will? So me being on that stage and everyone singing the lyrics, that should happen. It has to. If it doesn’t then what is my purpose? You know. Me headlining Coachella one day, it has to happen. You have to be gonzo or delusional, that’s part of this project, to really be like, “I am that”. You have to believe it now.
KB: I love the confidence. So you mentioned the new project, you mentioned at the listening session, it’s different than the previous project. This one’s a little more mature. Can you kind of unpack that a little bit? How do you find this particular project to be a little more mature than what we’ve heard from you before?
Boslen: Truthfully, man I think it’s just more life experience. I mean, I’m still young. I’m 23, still tryna learn my way. I’ve in no way figured it out. In months time I’m gonna be cringing at myself, and I’m okay with that. But right now I feel like I’m less worried about relationships, and less worried about small, minor things, miniscule things. I think there’s more worries of trying to think further.
I’ve been reading this one book that’s really been helping me. If you start living in the future mentality instead of living in the current, you’re gonna unlock a lot about yourself. So with this project, I really tried to just imagine and live like future Corbin or future Boslen already lives and that was giving me the power to be like…I’m not trying to sound like no Shakespeare shit, but like, it just gave me the power to unlock more vulnerability. And if that’s what it is that needs to be right now, then that’s what it is.
KB: And you also talked about some of the collaborations. You had Yohan Lennox. Who are some of the people you’ve had the chance to collaborate with on this project that you were like, “Oh my gosh”. Engineers, producers, who contributed to the project?
Boslen: #1, he deserves credit. He didn’t even touch a song; he just gave me so much advice was Anthony Kilhoffer. The man behind Travis Scott, the man behind Kanye West. Like, genius. I sent him the project early, and I was writing some music for another individual that he works with and he just gave me some criticism, and it was very very cutthroat. And it was very, very real. Some of the stuff that he was telling me was, “You know, it just needs a theme; it needs to be a line. I know you wanna be gonzo and all that, but man there needs to be a title. What does everything tie back to? Why is it called Gonzo?” And Steph, my publicist, she literally reminded me about that today again. And I feel like that is what’s most important about this project. We can have the features and all that, but I feel like it’s truthfully the people that live in the dark, the people that a lot of people don’t get to see, those are the real pillars to this project Gonzo. It’s not the name that I need just for clout so a person in Wisconsin can listen to Boslen. That person will soon listen to Boslen; it just might not be now.
Another individual, Zack Jerch, he really helped me step up to who I am today and find my voice. Shout out to Zack Jerch. Yohan Lennox of course. Another individual named Kisaco; he’s from Vancouver. He produced “Nightfall”, one my biggest songs. He produced “Dawn”, the outro on, Dusk To Dawn. He was the executive producer for basically this project and my right hand man to bounce ideas off of.
Another individual named Max; he’s a 17 year-old kid and I trust him with my life. It’s crazy. Very, very smart. He works at Chaos Club, so he helps me through a lot.
Wondagurl―she didn’t touch any of the songs, but she gave me a lot, a lot of advice as well just behind the scenes for now. But yeah I think that’s it for now. I’m probably missing a thousand people but…Oh yeah! Of course the 245 Boys, Boddi, Adriano, the Zu Kids; they were a big big help on making “Gone” and a lot of those songs.
KB: Now before we end, let’s talk about the popped eardrum ‘cause that’s like a very unique and interesting. Unpack a little bit more about how you think that influenced the sound of this specific project.
Boslen: Thank you for asking. That was a really good question.
It’s changed my entire perspective of how I approach music. Imagine being a director and losing an eye. Imagine being a chef and losing your taste. Imagine being a sports man and losing your legs. Losing my right ear, like *snaps* I can barely hear that. It’s crazy and at the time, it sunk me into a hole; I was depressed. It was during Christmas. I was out with my family and I gave them all COVID and I felt so bad (laughs). They were puking and I was like, “I’m so sorry “and it didn’t affect me, but at the time I was losing my listening, and I was almost done Gonzo. I wasn’t done, so I was like, “Halfway through, of course this is happening”.
At that time, that’s when I found Salvador Dalí, and what he was doing and how delusional, and how further, and how long he will go to be a creator, to create this world. It’s crazy. I don’t think I mentioned his story but basically what Salvador Dalí would do is before he did some of his paintings, he’d have a silver fork in his hand, and he did the Melting Clock and stuff, and he’d sit in his chair all night for probably a week straight. He had a metal plate on the ground right here, cameras right here, and the paintings in the right hand. And he’d just stay up. And every time he fell asleep he’d drop the fork and it’d wake him up and he started painting something and he tapped into that dream state. You have to be delusional. You have to be gonzo. You have to be like fuckin’ crazy to do that.
You know Prestige, the movie by Christopher Nolan, it shows artistic integrity and not much people actually care about their art that much to do that. So when it comes to my eardrum, I really try to just use that as my superpower because now I’m applying it to my shows. Before you hear Boslen go on stage you’re gonna hear a long 440 HZ for a minute, ‘cause that’s what I deal with every day. I deal with tendonitis. I deal with that ringing, so that’s why I want you to feel it. I want you into my world. I want you to feel. I want you to see what Gonzo really is. It’s made me attack songs differently. You can be pessimistic about a lot of things in life, but I’m so grateful and so happy that I have a lot of the things that God has given me and my family is healthy, and I can keep going.
if an individual is able to have one line, like a spinal cord throughout a project that’s supposed to be sporadic, then I did my job well. And the attention to detail is kind of just a cherry on top to just remind people that a lot of people don’t have that in their music now.
KB: That actually makes me think…In the listening session, someone referred to this project as being like a puzzle, and you talked about, you almost don’t want people to get it right away. Is that accurate? You see this product as a puzzle that people have to revisit to get different meanings from the music?
Boslen: I think Gonzo is up for interpretation in the sense of you don’t need to take anything from it. You can take absolutely nothing; it’s up to that individual. Every time I listen to it I get something different for myself. I just try to make sure that the music I’m creating is timeless for me; that’s all that was my concern. If that means that you are able to go back and take more from it, then that’s amazing. That’s a cherry on top. I feel like some of the best works of art, some of the best paintings, some of the best movies, they do that. But I don’t think that was their intent, I don’t think that was their goal. I think that was something that just happens with them creating because they thought out all these crazy bizarre ideas, grounded it and made it into a way that was consumable.
Virgil Abloh had this one crazy quote. When he started designing the shoes for Off White and Jordan, he didn’t change everything; he changed two percent. If you just change 2% of it, people will still understand it, and they’ll be able to take something from it. So, yes, I feel my music is very anthemic; there’s many layers to it. But when you think of it, it’s still down the line. It’s not like fuckin’ twists and turns; it’s actually pretty simple. I feel like being a minimalist is something I’m trying to do more of; taking away instead of adding. That’s what I’m gonna do for my next album. That’s my first time saying that. My next album is gonna be called Dalí for Salvador Dalí.
KB: That’s awesome; a little exclusive. Thanks so much for your time. That was an experience. I can’t wait to hear the album.
Gonzo is available now on all major streaming platforms.