Water Boswell, 24, makes music with two bands.
You’ll often see him playing with the band Curlers at local venues like Proud Larry’s, and sometimes he makes music at home with GarageBand, an iPhone app that enables Boswell to record music independently in the comfort of his Oxford home.
The two methods often compliment one another. “It starts with the music I write and record on my own, but Curlers is definitely a collaboration,” Boswell. said. “The live aspect couldn’t happen without the other band members.”
Boswell spends time brainstorming before he writes the instrumentation for Curlers’ songs, which usually includes guitar, bass, keys, and percussion all layered together in the GarageBand app. He is also the lyricist for Curlers.
“Sometimes I will come up with some lyrics or a melody to sing first,” he said, “but usually songs that I finish start out as instrumentals. I’ll make a cool instrumental, then start ad-libbing over it, which can spark an idea for a whole song.”
Boswell uses minimal tools and instruments, limiting himself to just his own voice, his guitar, and the electronic sounds on GarageBand.
“I record everything on my phone. Vocals…guitar…I create beats and instrumentals using GarageBand tools. Those get layered together and edited to achieve the sound and mood I want.”
Making music completely from home without the luxury of a recording studio or professional recording equipment does have its challenges.
“Since I do everything on my phone, working on a small screen is kind of hard, especially when I try to edit small details,” he said. “I also use the keyboard that comes with the GarageBand app, which has limitations on a phone, like you can only play a certain number of keys at once.”
Despite some setbacks, Boswell feels new technology and the rise of streaming services like Spotify give musicians advantages.
“Technology has made making music from home a lot more accessible to the amateur musician,” he said. “iPhones come with the GarageBand app, which is all I needed to start recording songs.
“I think others are surprised to learn that I’ve made my music using just my phone, and I hope that has inspired others to use the tools they already have to record their own music. Anybody with an iPhone has all the opportunity they need at their fingertips.”
Although Boswell writes and records most of his own music, he has collaborated with Curlers member Caleb Rushton, who grew up with Boswell. Rushton, who lends his talents to several Oxford music projects, has many years of experience singing, writing music, and playing a variety of instruments.
“We don’t really consult each other on progress necessarily,” Rushton said, “but I do send him songs to get his opinion. We live close to each other, so I’m able to just play it in person and see what he thinks.
“We like to try to make things that are recognizable as pop music, but take ideas and sounds from other genres of music to make it a little bit different. Something that is catchy, but is also interesting musically to play and listen to.”
Boswell hopes to inspire other musicians. He said if you have the dedication, you will find a way to create.
“When I started making music, I was begging my friends to let me record songs using their equipment,” he said. “You can’t let not having the best tools limit you.
“If you’re worried about not having the best recording equipment, you’re focusing on the wrong things. If you’re focused on your artistry and building your skills as a musician, your challenges will be the building blocks to your future. Nothing can limit you.”
Curlers first EP “Food Court” was released in 2018 and is available to stream on Spotify with all of its songs reaching over 5,000 listens. Curlers will continue to make new music in 2019. You can follow the band on their Instagram page @curlers_music for the latest information on new releases and future shows.