Upon her return to her hometown of London, we’ve fallen for atmospheric pop newcomer, Bo Rocha.
Making her way back to the capital via rural France and Berlin, Bo Rocha has found her musical home in a DIY West London studio. If you can’t already tell from our premiere of High Lucia’s remix of her track, “Tangerine Flake”, or the playlist we asked her to curate, we’re officially obsessed.
Having come from a musical background Bo has been focusing on her solo music career for almost two years now. She has, however, been working on various music projects for the last three years so is no stranger to the industry. She appeared out of the woodwork with “Tangerine Flake” and has got us all hooked with her unapologetic dark sounds. From first listen Bo’s music is captivating in an: “I’m playing this song on repeat”, kind of way and that feeling only increases the more you listen.
Her latest track, “Angel Eyes” is direct and to the point, there’s no extra added frills. It gets straight to it with a heavy undertone rift and synths but isn’t drowned by over complicated noise. It’s electric pop perfection. We spoke to Bo about her musical family, High Lucia lending his skills to her track and the daunting leap from classical to contemporary.
What did you grow up listening to?
A lot of jazz thanks to my Dad. I have three older brothers with really varied music tastes who each tried to get me to continue their musical obsessions. Twice a month when I was around 12 I was getting a flight on my own and then making a long coach journey to go for music lessons and I used to take whatever CDs were in my brothers’ rooms to listen to on the way. It was stuff like Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead through to Bowie and Mariah Carey, and a lot in between. I moved to Berlin for a while as a teenager too and that got me into hiphop in a big way, I was big on Nas and Lil Wayne.
Do you come from a musical family?
Yeah. I’d say music has been the only real constant. My parents met as singers in London. Apparently my Mum sang in an opera when she was heavily pregnant with me and I let her know I wasn’t happy about it. Mainly by being born.
What was it like studying at Purcell School of Music?
Intense. A bit fraught. I was young. And never really gelled with the classical world. I would get crippling stage fright and I left before finishing. Being surrounded by insanely talented people possibly did the opposite of what it should have done at that age. I never felt like I could match up and that was quite crushing. I fell out of love with music almost entirely and studied history instead for a while.
What made you go from classical music to the music you make now?
That process of falling out and then back in love with it. I found that playing classical music didn’t let me connect with things the way I immediately feel like I do when I’m writing now. It’s been a case of following instincts and shifting from an academic impulse to an emotional one. Unlearning a lot of the formal training, which has been liberating. I’ve eventually figured out that I like to work alone often and I also adore being on stage when I used to dread it so much. So I know I’m finally living right. It feels closer now and more raw. I get a huge kick out of it.
Tell us about the lyrics to your single “Tangerine Flake”?
The song was meant to signal the start of something. Something that’s potentially reckless but you’re doing it anyway because it feels good and right… I had custom car culture in mind at the time, I liked the idea of guys building these colourful, armoured worlds up around themselves and then driving them as fast as possible. All the projections of bravado and self-curation in that. I was kinda fetishizing the idea of ‘happily ever after’ too – whether or not the risk pays off I think will shape the story that unfolds. I guess we’ll see if that thing is good or not!
How did the remix by High Lucia come about?
I’ve known Leo for a few years now, he’s a very talented guy and I’ve wanted to do something with him for a while. I felt like his lush production would suit the track really well.
What would be your dream music collab?
Contributing somehow to a Kendrick record would be up there. I’m an out and out disciple! I would also love to play live with BBNG. They’re amazing.
What’s the inspiration behind “Angel Eyes”?
“Angel Eyes” came from a very specific feeling. Someone was showing me all these old Virginia Slims adverts from the 70s and the way femininity was being packaged up and sold back to women. Like, ‘you’re strong now, you deserve to smoke just like your men do – here’s a slim cigarette, liberate yourselves’. I’ve definitely felt those kinds of attitudes at play still today in high places and powerful institutions. So I wrote the track from the two sides – being defensive and under attack and being passive and demonised.
What are you listening to right now?
Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s “Multi-Love”. And the Young Thug record.
Where would you like to be this time next year?
To be starting a summer of live shows. And working on a record. Maybe somewhere I’ve never been before, too. Somewhere new.