Seven Questions With Boxwood and To All My Dear Friends, Playing Sweat Records Tonight

Doing it yourself may be all the rage on the DIY Network. But it hasn't quite made it mainstream in the music world.

Still, that hasn't stopped certain ingenious musicians from applying a little know how and a hell of a lot of creativity to overcoming problems like the lack of a full-on symphony.

Just check out a live performance by Marc Hennessey of To All My Dear Friends fame and SoFla's own Jose Ferrer, better known as Boxwood, and you'll agree Holmes and his Homes ain't got shit on these dudes.

Boxwood's been doing his thing around town for a bit now. You may recall him as a Best Of Miami winner last year for Best Songwriter. Meanwhile, To All My Dear Friends hails to us from G-Ville, first starting out in 2008 when Hennessey linked up with drummer Greg Stull. Their styles, you'll find, are quite different. But the means by which they approach them are similar, using a loop pedal to layer tracks and create vastly dramatic swells of sound.

You'll have the chance tonight at Sweat Records when both To All My Dear Friends and Boxwood will take the stage, along with Pure Imagination for a one-of-a-kind show. Meanwhile, New Times caught up with both Ferrer and Hennessey for a quick chat.

New Times: This is a really cool show. Give our readers a hint of what they can expect.

Jose Ferrer: Well, it'll definitely be a trip. All three performers are in the nature of absorbing the audience into their world. So instead of staying home and reading a novel or getting lost in a movie, you can come to this cozy little venue and get lost there.   

How'd you get started creating music this way?

Marc Hennessey: I had spent many late nights at home working on orchestral compositions. But I didn't have the connections to get any symphony to play one of my piano concertos or string quartets. So when I heard about the existence of a looping pedal, it suddenly clicked. I could finally perform my orchestral music live for people. And I could blend in aspects of rock and jazz with the guitar.

How would you describe it to someone who hasn't seen it firsthand?

Hennessey: It's like Bach meets Talking Heads.

How did you get involved in this show?

Ferrer: I got involved when Marc contacted me about the show. I'm guessing he saw one of my videos, saw that we both work with loops on stage, and thought it would be a good idea to be on the same bill when he came to town. Sounds right.

Hennessey: I'm currently on a three-month tour throughout the Eastern United States. I create and book all the shows myself, independently contacting the other bands and venues. Playing with performers like Boxwood and Pure Imagination at a venue like Sweat Records makes for a magical night that you don't see too often.

There are definitely some stylistic differences. But there's a commonality in your approach. From your own perspective, what are some of the similarities and/or difference in what you each do?

Hennessey: Jose and I both have a comprehensive understanding of the looping process. Neither of us are just looping. We are using the concept of layering sound to create something beautiful. The difference is that I use the electric violin and guitar to do this while Jose uses a variety of rhythmic instruments with his acoustic guitar.

Ferrer: Marc's music stands on its own. His music doesn't get stuck in that linear build up that most loopers fall into. I try to do the same thing. It's challenging to keep a repeating melody from sounding repetitive with a loop pedal. At the same time, being your own accompaniment gives you the freedom to get really creative, which lends to creating a unique sound. So even though Marc and I use the same pedal, it doesn't mean we're doing the same thing.

To All My Dear Friends, Boxwood, and Pure Imagination. Tuesday, April 5. Sweat Records, 5505 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 9 p.m. Call 786-693-9309 or visit

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Christopher Lopez