>> Despite hailing from Los Angeles, the bitter-sweet alternative rock band Dear Boy have been regarded as an incredible up and coming Brit-pop sensation! Listen to their latest single "Semester" from the 'Strawberry EP,' and check out their interview to learn about their run-ins with ghosts, becoming 'hexed' on tour, and their host of musical influences!
Many critics have described your sound as 'brit-pop' despite the fact that you hail from Los Angeles. What artists and genres do you feel have influenced your artistic sound the most?
Post-Punk, New Wave & 90’s Britpop is really the genre trifecta for Dear Boy… It’s funny, I never really think about how weird it is to be so heavily influenced by work and culture that you never actually experienced… But that’s for my therapist. As far as artists; Pulp, The Cure, The Smiths, Suede, The Stone Roses, Siouxsie & The Banshees, New Order, Kate Bush, The House of Love, Roxy Music, Joy Division, Moz, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Buzzcocks, Teenage Fanclub, The Jam, Adorable, Psychedelic Furs, Cocteau Twins, Chameleons… There are so many more.
How have you branched out and experimented with new sounds and styles on The Strawberry EP?
We have. One song in particular… There’s a dark waltz on the EP called “Something Good,” which has a lot of expansive sound stuff happening… Austin plays this beautiful lap steel solo that gets swallow up by a choir of distorted ebows, a sentence I never thought I’d write, and it’s like an Americana Mazzy Star thing. I love it. But honestly, the whole EP has a lot of new territory that we’ve never had a chance to explore before. Mostly because this is the first time we didn’t have to make the whole thing in 3 days.
Could you describe the inspiration behind your latest single "Semester"?
Lyrically, Semester is all about surrendering to someone or something. Most of us have whole periods of our lives that are defined by one person… And when that person leaves, returning to your normal life feels strange. Almost as if the world moved on behind your back. Musically, it came together the way the best things do; in 20 minutes, while we were working on something else.
You wrote your self-titled debut EP in London-- could you explain your connection to England and what led you to write the EP in this city?
We were in our early 20’s and like all American musicians, we romanticized England and British guitar music. So when you’re that age, you just want to be in it… Hoping you’ll stumble into whatever magic your heroes left behind. It was ‘leap and the net will appear’ optimism, which was very exciting. Of course, the realities of our life in London were severely non-magical. We keep getting evicted, one of our flats was haunted, we got in trouble with the Home Office… Whatever the UK slang for “gnarly” is, that’s what it was. But in the end, I guess we did stumble into our sort of magic too. This band has become something special to us and a lot of people, but it was a really hard beginning and definitely not what we were expecting.
How did you first get into writing music? Do you express yourself creatively through other mediums as well?
I’ve been playing in bands since I was 11 years old, but I used to have such a high singing voice, I would get made fun of whenever I tried to use it. So it made me really afraid to write songs… It wasn’t until I was in my high teens, that my fear of being humiliated finally lost out to a hunger to express myself.
Everybody in the band is super creative… they paint, they draw… Lucy is learning lasso tricks… but for me, I love to cook and write poetry.
What's a guilty pleasure tv show / movie that you cannot stop watching?
I’m laughing to myself that I’m about to reveal this after telling you that I write poetry, but I love The Bachelor. I love it. It makes me sick, but I love it.
What's the strangest thing that's happened to you on tour?
Every day on tour is some degree of strange, so I don’t know if I'm equipped to choose the MOST strange thing… But on our last tour with Rogue Wave, I was having coffee and a man in seven layers of beige came up to me and “healed” my leg against my will. If it looks like a curse, and it feels like a curse...
What skill would you choose to pick up if you could gain it instantaneously?
Being comfortable walking into a house party.
Could you name one high point and one low point that you experienced during the writing / recording process of The Strawberry EP?
I think the biggest high point for me was when Tony Hoffer sent us his first mix of Semester… We had wanted to work with Tony since we started Dear Boy, so the fact that he had even agreed to work with us was already insane. But I teared up listening to his first mix. I think what made that moment so special, was that it was a perfect storm of things going right. It was a song I had written with my best friends, recorded it the way I wanted to, mixed the way I’d ALWAYS wanted it to be mixed and it was just the purest creative expression possible. Our ideas, our money, our time. The way it should be but never is.
The only lows in this process were the healthy ones. Self-examining your own work, watching your ideas do battle with everybody else’s, etc. We were recording The Strawberry EP in between legs of tour, so we were just so IN IT. There wasn’t any time for darkness to creep in. It was an electric and exciting period of work for us, not an awkward moment in sight.
What plans do you have to tour and promote The Strawberry EP once it's released?
We’ll be heading to SXSW & the East Coast in the Spring… Summer plans are still up in the air, but honestly, we’re very anxious to get back into the studio and start working on our first full-length record. It’s already fully written, so we’ll have to make sure we have some time for that. But we’re also planning to go back to the UK and reconnect with the ghosts we used to live with.