ElectroSpit is a company led by music producer and engineer Bosco Kante, and marketing maven Maya Kante. In 2019 they launched a revolutionary new talk box, the ElectroSpit ESX1. A talk box is a musical instrument that allows musicians to modify the sound of a musical instrument to act as vocal cord replacement for speech or singing. Traditionally, talk boxes have been expensive, difficult to move and perform with, and require a user to play an analog instrument. The ESX1 is portable, easy to wear, and can work with a keyboard, electric guitar, or just a phone and app. Broadly, they aim to change the way people approach music making.
What community do you work in? What issues does your work address?
We're working to democratize playing musical instruments. Our company is based in Oakland, CA, where we started at Zoo Labs, and we come out of primarily a community of color. We are looking to work with a younger demographic who don't see themselves as creative. We believe that our work is really important because the workforce around us is becoming more focused on the creative class, and we can inspire people to recognize themselves as creative and help them be a part of the emerging creative class. We see that particularly as people from junior high to their mid-20's. ElectroSpit was really birthed out of an idea to inspire creativity, innovation, and wanting people to see themselves as the solvers of their own problems. Bosco saw an issue with a traditional instrument, and set out to work with technology to solve that issue.
What are the most valuable assets that you experience in this community of young people of color?
There's definitely an entrepreneurial spirit that we think is present in communities of color. That spirit has had to be there because of the way people of color are often barred from corporate jobs or traditional routes of obtaining employment. People have always had what we call a side hustle. But there's definitely a resource in that type of mentality - of having a knack for building your own business out of what's around you and the needs that you see in your community.
So far, what impact has your work with ElectroSpit had?
People see what we've built so far, and they watch the journey we've been on, creating this instrument out of thin air, essentially. Some have reached out to us to find out how they can do similar things with ideas that they have. Their ideas may or may not even be about music, but they see an example of somebody who looks like them who's doing it, who is making something happen.
We’ve also had an outpouring of support from not only people who are just starting in music, but seasoned veterans who are really excited about the product, what we're doing, and how it will make it easier for them to access the sound. We are bridging a gap between people who are first time musicians and virtuosos. Traditionally, people without means have been barred from playing musical instruments, either because of the time that it takes for lessons or the price of equipment. But we're giving them access to the creativity without being limited by the instrument itself.
What impact do you think your work will have had 10 or 20 years from now?
We're imagining people being able to pull out their phones and immediately being able to create professional sounding music. Something that sounds really cool, that they can be proud of, that they can use to express themselves. People will be able to have impromptu creative jam sessions. We will have broken down those barriers of years of lessons and practice, and putting the creativity straight in the hands of the creator, not tying them to an instrument. Just imagine people being able to create a song in a spare moment, wherever they are. On public transportation, or walking home from school. We imagine lots of little impromptu bands that can pop up at any given moment because people have the tools in their back pocket.