The Boston Boys: We’ve Got The Tamana

Tamana (TAH mah nuh) n. – The “spiritual force” that guides The Boston Boys toward opportunity, serendipity, and success.

The term, according to lead vocalist Eric Robertson, was born during a rehearsal while repeating phrases to work out harmonies. While it’s exact meaning is a matter of debate, it seems to embody an energy that creates good vibes, and tips a hat to the chance encounters that make amazing creative moments happen.

On Monday, Zoo Labs entered The Boston Boys’ tamana orbit as we kicked off our first-ever music residency. The four member band and their manager moved in to start a two week creativity-infused residency with us.

The first event of its kind at the studio-turned-innovation-incubator, the Zoo Labs Music Residency is designed to help teams successfully create both music and strategic goals to take their project to the next level.

The Boston Boys — Eric Robertson, Duncan Wickel, Josh Hari, Nicholas Falk, and their business manager Benjamin Baron, are poised to create something new this week, and they’ve come to Oakland with the ‘tamana’ on their side.


Over a sun-drenched patio brunch beneath the historic marquee of the Fox Oakland theater, Robertson described a desire to use this residency to “jam more,” be free, and create as a group.

“We’re gonna try and go for more of a live vibe this time,” Robertson said, noting the advantage of having access to the Zoo Labs Studio A live room and the ability to create in the moment, and record those moments as they happen.

“This is how music was meant to be made,” said bassist and Oakland native Josh Hari, after joining the rest of the guys later in the studio.

But the Brooklyn-based band isn’t leaving creative success to chance. They’ve written eight new songs in the short time since learning that they were selected to participate in the residency, and have come to Zoo Labs with a clear creative plan and a decisive focus. One thing is clear: The Boston Boys are here to take full advantage of the opportunity.

“Nick and I just looked at each other and laughed,” Robertson said, describing the feeling the two shared on arrival day.

“It’s a total dream come true.”


Little did they know, the start of the residency represents the fulfillment of a Zoo Labs dream to build an experience that propels creative teams forward.

“It’s pretty amazing” said Vinitha Watson, President and Co-Founder of Zoo Labs, about the opening workshops that included a playful rapid-prototyping exercise and an exploration of business models.

Our goal for day one was to bridge thinking about business with the creativity process. By getting hands-on and practicing what we like to call “imagination applied,” we all sparked our inner-innovator, showing that business innovation is accessible to all.

By the end of the residency, the Zoo Labs team hopes to empower the residents to feel fully qualified to reach beyond music into the strategic terrain some bands don’t often approach.

“They saw this all as a studio session. It’s all one fluid thing,” Watson said, adding that if they leave with one new idea, she hopes that it will be that “you have the power to create your own business.”

Or as The Boston Boys might put it, the tamana.


Written by Justin Warren (@j_sight) and Anna Acquistapace (@annavolcana), Photos by Stephen Hawk (@tapdancingporridge)

Follow @thezoolabs on Twitter and Instagram and the hashtag #ZLMR for ongoing updates about the Music Residency experience. Follow @bostonboysband for updates about the band.