The debut self-titled EP by Bootleg Orchestra features the soulful beats of multi-instrumentalist and female producer Menchie Caliboso, embellishments by the Arca-inspired producer Chris Walker, and topped with the militant, Fiona Apple-esque vocals of Vanessa Acosta. While they remain the core members of Bootleg Orchestra, the EP features an assortment of Long Beach friends and Berklee College of Music alums, such as David T. Walker (Marvin Gaye/Stevie Wonder), Brandon Eugene Owens (Kendrick Lamar/Robert Glasper), Vicky Nguyen (Anderson Paak), and Emile Martinez (Kamasi Washington). With the help of their friends, Bootleg Orchestra aims to create and bring to life palatable jazz-inspired pop music with progressive messages of social change. The sonic result is a collection of soulful pop on the edge of jazz-infused R&B, experimental hip hop, and activist rock songs that challenge listeners to reflect, grow out of their comfort zone, and create social change.
Before Bootleg Orchestra came into existence, the trio founded rock band Feed The Feeble for four years. After releasing two EPs and years of trying to make music long distance when Caliboso moved to Boston to pursue music therapy, their creative journey came to an end after four years. During her time in Boston, Caliboso began experimenting with beat production, drawing inspirations from Bonobo, ToKiMonsta, Teebs, and Hiatus Kaiyote. After two years of making beats in her bedroom, Caliboso moved back to Long Beach where Acosta and Walker transformed her beats into dynamic songs. With her pop sensibilities, Acosta drew from her experience in community organizing to create lyrical content that spoke of desperate need of change balanced with sentiments of hope. Walker’s keen ears for rhythmic variation and sound production further elevated the songs for head-bobbing and passionate sing-alongs. The EP includes a track completely produced by Walker himself, emanating sounds of Arcade Fire, Enon, and M.I.A. The EP also features vocals and lyrics by CATO, a jazz and classically-trained vocalist, who sings about her experience in observing the Charlie Hebdo tragedy from afar.
Bootleg Orchestra creates music for people who actively care about good music and the health of our society. Check out this video for their single “Phenomenon”