The young gentlemen who comprise local jazz trio, Bogg, are more than just some of the most talented and disciplined musicians in town. In the last year alone, on top of juggling multiple bands (Clouds on Strings/Pageant Dads), the musicians have performed in support of a rock musical in San Francisco (Loki Miller’s The Raven), written and starred in their own musical theatre production (The Loveseat Diaries), spearheaded ambitious entrepreneurial projects such as their website gigindie.com, organized a local music festival (Hardly Strictly Chico), and have continuously demonstrated an inspired and tireless creative spirit. The current Chico music scene would benefit greatly by taking a page from their book.
Coincidentally, Synthesis has assigned exactly one page with which to examine the brass tacks of everything Bogg. I met with Joshua Hegg (keys), Michael Bone (drums), and Gavin Fitzgerald (bass) at Has Beans Creekside to pick their musical brains and preview the release of their first-ever vinyl record, So Happy, It Hurts.
Why do you play music?
Joshua: In context with this project, the reason I play music and the reason I play in Bogg is that it’s a chance to not only write music that’s challenging, interesting, and things I’ve never tried before, but it’s also a chance to reach out and collaborate with people I’ve always wanted to, and have that artistic, family-vibe in which only music can bring people together.
Gavin: There’s just nothing else. I could be living in a hole in West Hollywood playing music every day and if I could pay for the hole, then I’m great. It’s a joy to play with these guys because it’s so like-minded. They’re fantastic, so you’re constantly challenged to push yourself harder, learn new things, and to get all theoried out and shit. It’s great.
Michael: I like to make music to make people happy. I like to play music because it’s always an uphill battle to get better. It’s a never-ending game.
What benefits have you experienced from starting a second band?
J: Michael and I, when we were trying this out last summer, were listening to more jazz and really intrigued with the sounds, the theory, the ideas…with Clouds on Strings, we weren’t doing a lot of that stuff so we figured, why not just have both?
M: I just wanted to play drums really bad. The benefit is that it’s just nice to have a different perspective. It’s different players, two completely different writing styles and practice schedules…those kinds of things.
J: Playing with Michael as a drummer is a way different artistic thing than playing with him on guitar. And I’ve never played with a bass player like Gavin, so it’s just different perspectives. Not better or worse, just different.
Did you take any new approaches or recording methods for this album?
M: We recorded in Faith Lutheran Church in this nice, wooden room. Matt Franklin and some friends from the Bay Area mic’d it up, so the recording process was really natural. It sounded cooler playing the songs in there than we ever practiced it at home, so that was really inspiring.
J: Not only was it more collaborative with the music, but we borrowed really nice mics from Scott Cory, Scott Barwick, and Justin Vodden – he lent us a bunch of really fantastic gear like these tube mics for the horns, so it’s cool in that respect. The engineering community in Chico came through and it was that kind of collaboration.
G: It’s nice to see that community effort between friends; even the art of the album, these are fantastic artists that just do it because they’re nice, we asked them kindly, and they’re friends. It’s great to see the product you can make having all your friends help you out.
J: It’s a testimony to Chico’s vibe that there’s this much talent willing to come together.
M: It’s nice to have a big physical thing, especially with all the cool art that we’re getting. Andy Greer did a piece that’s great. Ellen Akimoto did a really nice piece. It’s something that everyone can be proud of when they have it in their hand.
J: The idea was we wanted one piece of art by a different artist for every track. All the art came back and it was just so out-of-this-world. Every track will have info and then the art piece inspired by it.
M: The album is super dynamic as well, volume-wise. The mastering guy didn’t do any compression at all. There’s really loud parts and there’s really quiet parts, so it comes through on vinyl pretty well.
What do you have planned to make this show special?
J: Bogg, as a trio, was only the nucleus of the album. There was a ton of other stuff happening when we recorded so we wanted to mirror that kind of grandiosity in the respect of sheer number of people, sounds, and instruments. We’re going to have essentially the same lineup that we had on the album represented live. It’s gonna be a loud, bombastic trio plus friends.
The bombastic trio, Bogg, will perform this Thursday, March 14th at Café Coda with support from touring acts, Song Sparrow Research (Seattle) and Avita Treason (Oakland), as well as locals, The Rugs. 8PM. $5. All-ages.