Why You Should Care: Who doesn’t love music about struggling through your teenage years? Boniface, formerly known as Micah Visser, has been creating music for a few years now, and is getting ready to release their debut album on February 14. Boniface used to release music under their name, and that’s when I found them on Spotify back in 2017. Fast forward to 2020, and there’s been a reborn (or rebrand?) of sorts with the new music coming out since. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve been waiting for this artist’s debut album for literal YEARS and I am so excited to share my Q&A with them!
The self-titled album was recorded with Boniface and producer Neil Comber, who has worked with the likes of Charli XCX, Glass Animals, and M.I.A. Like most of my readers know, the determining factor that comes with me deciding if I like or am even remotely interested in a song is based on the lyrical content, and Boniface checks that box off of my list. Though I am 25 and unfortunately have to define myself as an adult, I still completely resonate with lyricism about growing up and struggling to come to terms with who you are and how you fit into the world, and I think that is a universal theme that a lot of people can identify with. The intricacies of Bonifaces’ work and storytelling are truly on par with some of the best that I’ve heard in recent years, and I’m really looking forward for my readers and the rest of the world to really dive into their work fully.
Check out our Q&A below to learn more about Boniface and their process in creating their debut album. Boniface is set to release on Feb. 14 through Transgressive records. Click here for more information.
Chicago Haze: You spent a lot of your childhood learning instruments and really diving into music. Was there anything specific that inspired you to take that route as a kid? Who did you enjoy listening to growing up?
Boniface: My mom loved Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, great songwriters. She used to play them in the car. I think that was a big source of inspiration early on. The way they used words and chords and said so much through that.
Chicago Haze: Your debut album, Boniface, specifically speaks on coming of age and how your teenage years unfolded and shaped you into the person you are today. How was the process in terms of revisiting those themes? Was it easy for you to draw from experiences or difficult to revisit? Maybe a mixture?
Boniface: Early on, it was really visceral. I was just writing about experiences I’d had and things I’d observed. I was just trying to get it all on paper, so it was very instinctive and very easy. When the time came to finish the record I looked back on all of these songs from a less emotional place and realized there were common threads so I wrote a few songs to tie it all together.
I think the balance of immediacy and hindsight has served the record well. Early on, it was really visceral. I was just writing about experiences I’d had and things I’d observed. I was just trying to get it all on paper, so it was very instinctive and very easy. When the time came to finish the record, I looked back on all of these songs from a less emotional place and realized there were common threads so I wrote a few songs to tie it all together. I think the balance of immediacy and hindsight has served the record well.
Chicago Haze: What was the collaboration process in the studio with Neil Comber? As someone who spent a lot of your time creating your work at home, your brother and longtime collaborator (Michael Dunn), was the transition to opening your process with someone else difficult?
Boniface: When the time came to work with Neil, I’d been working in a bubble for so long and I was definitely aware of my blind spots. Having someone to cover that for me was a relief. Every collaboration on this record is a different blind spot for me, and I’ve gotten very lucky with the people I’ve been able to work with.
Chicago Haze: You’ve spent the end of 2019 touring with White Lies in the U.K. What was that experience like and what do you hope to take away from it moving forward?
Boniface: White Lies has been so lovely to us and gave us a chance to play our songs in rooms where they can truly resonate. I honestly didn’t even think we’d make it this far, so it was exciting and surreal. I think we really grew as a live band and it definitely lit a fire, so I’d like to get back into rooms like that as soon as possible.
Chicago Haze: Is there anyone specific that has influenced the way you write and create music as a young adult compared to who inspired you when you were younger?
Boniface: I loved Bright Eyes (super excited for the new music!) Conor Oberst showed me you can have an unconventional voice and still make the music you want to make. That was really important for me to know.
Chicago Haze: What do you hope listeners take away from your debut album?
Boniface: I think the most important thread for me on the album is one of tenderness. People are trying their best so often but there’s so much darkness. Kindness and grace is the answer, as much as possible. Being vulnerable and tender if you can.
Chicago Haze: Putting out your first album is a huge accomplishment. Other than that, what else do you hope to achieve in 2020?
Boniface: I just want to give this record a chance to reach people. It’s something I’m very proud of and something I think could be really positive for a lot of people, so we will be touring lots. I’ve also been writing new music and am excited to work on that.
Chicago Haze: Anything else you’d like to add?
Boniface: Thank you very much!
Click here to check out Boniface on Spotify.