Interview: Boston 168

Words: Jackson Gray and Charlotte Rhodes

Boston 168 is a laboratory of sound crafting.

Sergio Pace and Vincenzo Ferramosca are two electronic researchers who have spent years working on vivisecting sound in order to create a new solution for the techno substance.

Their meticulous work mixes up the acoustics of the traditional machines that have made the history of techno, Roland Tr909, tr707, Moog Mother 32, and other technological hardware.

New Rhythms spoke with Sergio Pace and Vincenzo Ferramosca ahead of their debut Australian tour about their gear of choice, influences from their hometown of Turin and how they manage to produce their famous melodic acid techno.

NR: Where did it all begin for you guys and what’s behind the name, Boston 168?

B168: Everything started in Turin, our city, it was always difficult to find a place where playing our music also because in Italy in the period we begun to make music and buy records the “artistic” part of our job was not really important.

After some years in the studio we decided to run a label, Old and Young, with Gambo, a friend of ours, and this is how everything begun. Via Boston 168 was simply the address of our real first studio where we started producing together some beats and melodies.

NR: Acid techno and its intergalactic vibe have roots back to Chicago. Where did you first begin to form a love for the sound? Are there influences from your hometown of Turin that come out in your music?

B168: We were clubbers at 15, you know what this means! Vincenzo was playing and buying records really young and Sergio was born and grew up in a musician’s family, so
music was a big part of our life, love for electronic music born obviously in Turin clubs, where we were going every weekend with our friends.

Turin always been a techno city, we can tell for sure that the place we lived in had an
important role in our choices.

NR: How does Italy respond to the sound compared to other major cities? Are there places in the world you love playing to more than others who may respond to your music stronger than others?

B168: Italy right now is Techno, everybody wants techno. By the way we have a different attitude, less cheesy than what Italians are used to like.

There is a strange idea of techno in Italy. “Big drops” are what the most means with techno [sic]. This is why there are other places where our music is more appreciated and they are for sure, Paris, Berlin and Tbilisi, but we remember also a super night last year in Dublin where the crowd really got mad.

Boston 168's live set up
Boston 168’s live set up

NR: What was the first piece of analog gear that you bought?
Vince: Jomox 888
Sergio: Korg Emx

NR: When you’re performing a live set, how much of what you’re playing is improvised? 

B168: 30% our released tracks or pieces of them, 70% jam session, we suppose this is what a “live” must be.

NR: What’s your favourite piece of gear in your collection and what do you love about it? 

B168: We don’t have a real favourite machine, it is easy to say 303 but that is, we wouldn’t make music without it.

NR: We’ve noticed that you guys run Ableton live. What do you guys use Ableton for in your live set up and is it also your DAW of choice for the studio?

B168: We use Ableton in the studio to record and during or live sets as sampler.

NR: If money were no object and you were able to buy any piece of musical equipment in the world, what would you go for?

B168: We would like to have every single musical instrument in the world but the first thing that we would buy with all the money in the world is a Make Noise System*.

Boston 168 will make their live Australian debut with Melbourne collective Bunker this April.

You can catch them at The Sub Club in Melbourne  on Friday April 13, and The Civic Underground in Sydney on Saturday April 14.


*A small system devoted to capturing external sounds and sculpting them into new ones.