You can fall in love with a person, a place or a food, but sometimes it’s an album that captures you. Sometimes, you play the album over and over, framing your life’s moments. For local band Boostive, these moments rush through beats in their latest album, “Room for Living.”
“This album was largely inspired and completely dedicated to our friend Kyle Lesley who passed away this past year,” Gibbs said in an e-mail. “Kyle is one of the reasons we are the way we are today.”
The snapshots in the album capture the love of friendships and a celebration of life. Boostive’s trombone player, Travis Gibbs, explained the work behind the album and remembered Lesley, a friend who played an integral role in the project.
“He recorded and helped put together our previous releases, and his influence has affected and will affect all of the music Boostive creates,” Gibbs said. “Naturally, this project resonates strongly with his presence.”
Lesley, who on Aug. 28 died from cancer at the age of 34, was invested in music, activism, and his friends and family. The music’s soul and Lesley’s legacy is reflected in their album.
Lesley, a fellow musician, worked closely with Boostive and donated a mixer, multiple microphones and a piano to the band. The last track, “Chances Are,” was recorded the same night Lesley passed, adding a layer of melancholy, Komo said. Boostive’s methods of incorporating honest emotions into their music are cathartic for both ears and minds.
Memories of their bachelor-pad-transformed-musical-playground also paved the way for the album. Boostive is well known in Santa Cruz communities for their enthusiastic approach to playing music. Whether a backyard, a venue or a living room, the guys in the band never leave a space quiet and empty, and instead fill it with musical righteousness. Their latest album release marks the third album since their self-titled EP, “Boostive,” released in 2012.
The album sways in the background of any scene, thrusting you into a hyper-awareness of self and surrounding with “Chances Are.” With a slow acoustic melody, the drum pounds like a heartbeat just before the heartbreak. Singer Salami Rose’s vocals hit like the last look your lover gave you. Yet the end isn’t bitter. The song closes with a hopeful echo, and vibrates with background noises signifying an open future.
Dylan Gallup, a long-time musician and third-year from Stevenson College, listened to the entire album a few times, each time refocusing his attention on different aspects the of the work. Although Gallup had little context for the work and the band, he connected with the last track. His entire demeanor changed as his voice slowed down, with his head turned upward in a hopeful manner.
“I remember getting jolted out of my chill vibe with the last track,” Gallup said. “They slow down the tempo, but they manage to bring in this really powerful guitar rhythm and drums that are so subtle, yet it sounds like it was recorded so naturally. Their background noises of conversations also really impacted me.”
After two months of finalizing the album, the project debuted Jan. 21 and received 2,352 plays on the first track on Soundcloud. The band’s method of creating new music is unique to each of the members — Seiji Komo, Dylan Webber, Nathan Kocivar, Travis, Mulligan B, Brian McNamara and guest vocal appearances by Salami Rose, Austin Antoine and Malcolm Lee. All bandmates add their flavors one by one. Producer and bassist Komo, who compiles many of the beats, explained the combination of flavors that result in a divine flow.
“It all starts with a drum break,” Komo said. “I dig out old records and look for any loose drum sounds that I can chop up and make new. Once I have laid down a drum groove, we all play around on different ideas until something sticks.”
Boostive experiments with sounds from hip-hop to reggae to jazz and swing and keeps surprising fans with their ever-widening range. They often jam with one another, marinating ideas, melodies and verses until they come up with a track.
“We are already working on new material that has no specific form or name,” Gibbs said. “The creative process has found a perpetual state of movement, so it’s hard to say where one project starts and the other begins.”
After Boostive blew away fans at Serenity Gathering on March 17-20, the band plans on traveling through the west coast to spread their differing sets, depending on the focuses of different festivals.
When asked what the band hopes to get from listeners’ ears, Komo responded with good grace.
“Warmth, we want to ease the mind and warm the bones,” Komo said. “Our music is for everyone and everything. We have a unique sound and love to blend genres so it’s got something for the hip-hop heads, dub lovers and the jazz cats. My grandma’s actually our biggest fan.”