Nothing cures the misery of midterms week quite like Hillside’s specialty coffee and good conversation. Despite the sudden emergence of “sweater weather," William Bolton radiates energy in a lively floral shirt reminiscent of spring. His passion for music becomes apparent as he shares with me, eyes aglow, his vision for his latest artistic endeavor—Times New Roman. With the release of his tape Satisfaction, last week, and other projects in the works, William is well on his way to making a name for himself.
Well, my name is William Bolton and I’m a sophomore from Detroit, Michigan. I’m a Marketing/Perspectives major with a minor in Music. On campus I’m involved in the Music Guild and Chorduroy, where I’m also an officer. In terms of interests, I love to longboard and ski in the winter.
As an artist, did you have any projects pre-Times New Roman?
In high school I released my first 3 CDs under my name, William Bolton.
And that evolved into Times New Roman? That’s pretty lovely. So what’s the inspiration, if any, behind the name Times New Roman?
I was actually writing an English paper when it happened and I started thinking about the font – Times New Roman. As I kept thinking, I realized Roman could reflect the days of old while the font itself still retains some of its modernity and I guess that reflects what I’m doing. My goal as an artist is to make modern music while trying to look back at some of the music from the 50s and 60s for inspiration. I guess the whole sound of Times New Roman is making new with parts of the old.
You also had a tape release party last week in the Vandy Cabaret Room for your new tape Satisfaction, how would you describe your sound on this tape and what can people expect?
The sound on this tape embodies my sound as an artist. It is definitely more upbeat, but it’s kind of like a teaser. I made around 80 beats this summer and I decided to release 4 songs as a teaser for a larger project I have in the works, but I wanted it [this tape] to be more focused. I would describe the sound as soulful and retro.
Have you ever played shows and is that something you see yourself doing while you live in Boston?
I played my first official show in Boston about two or three weeks ago at the Middle East. I’m actually playing another show there this weekend at the Middle East Upstairs. I had one show in Detroit, but it was before I really became serious about this as an artist. Over this last year I’ve realized how seriously I take this and that I hope to make this into a career.
Are there any particular artists that influence your sound?
Mayer Hawthorne is one of my favorite artists of all time. I’m also a big fan of Pharrell, he has this ability to make good music from different genres. I also really like Kid Cudi and I really love J Dilla, he was Detroit royalty. And of course I’d have to mention the whole Motown sound like The Supremes, The Four Tops, and The Temptations, which is reflected in my sampling and the beats that I create.
Are there any Boston venues that you recommend or that you like to frequent?
I like the Middle East, it’s a cool venue. I also really like the Paradise Rock Club, it’s small and intimate which makes it a really dope spot.
What advice do you have for artists who are still developing their sound or anyone interested in pursuing music?
I think what it really comes down to is passion. Passion and work ethic are really important because it’s all about the work you put in. This summer was really meaningful for me because I decided this was what I wanted to do as a career so I worked countless hours on my craft and basically spent my summer writing songs and making music.
Sounds like a beautiful realization to find something you feel so strongly about. Last, but not least, can you give me a little hint as to what can we expect from you in the future?
I do have a project that I’m almost finished with and it’s going to be anywhere from 6 to 10 songs. I actually revealed the name of it at the release party, which is The Garden, and the date isn’t definite. In terms of sound it’s going to be a little bit darker, more personal. Right now I really want to push my current project (the Satisfaction tape) on campus, online and in Boston. But in terms of the future, there’s a lot more to come hopefully playing at BC and off campus.
It seems like you have a lot in the works. How can people download your tape or find you on the interwebs to check out your music?
My Twitter is @gillsorfloaties (long story) and you can also find me on Facebook.
Photos by Jono Keedy.