Boyfrienders are a power pop-punk quartet hailing from Michigan. Their fun-filled tones and nostalgic sound have appeased many, and have quickly developed a style and sonically diverse offering. They now make another triumphant return with 'First Person Singular", their new single that packs a punch and so much more. The energy is seeping through this outfit from the off, which is yet another reason to love their music.
We caught up with them at FLEX to speak all about their new single and how they have formed their modern, powerful sound. Enjoy!
Hey Boyfrienders, welcome to FLEX! Sum up your music in three words for us?
Poppy: In order for me to answer this correctly, I need to apply it to every record that we have released so far. Each record cycle tends to come with a different musical aura, and I feel like to properly describe our sound in three words, we need multiple three-word sets. For LP1 it was “Mountain Goats Worship”, LP2 was “Lots ’O Synth”, our latest record Midwest Alive in Nightmares could be described as “Identity Crisis Emo”, and for this latest single and forthcoming record, “Assertive Indie Sleaze” is the three word term that I like best!
You really bring power pop to the modern day, who are your main influences?
Poppy: Speaking for myself, the musical influences I tend to draw from change between records, based on the type of vibe I’m going for in regards to my songwriting. Each Boyfrienders record has a different set of influences, and now that we’re a more “collaborative” band and I’m not the sole songwriter, it’s been cool seeing how those influences gel together. As of late I’ve been super influenced by a lot of indie rock from the late 90’s and especially the early 00’s such as Metric, LCD Soundsystem, Blur, and the like.
Celeste: For me, going into writing the next record, I have been listening to a lot of Glass Beach, Frankie Cosmos, Jack White. I don't know if that shines through but that's what has been amping me up to write the way I have been.
Tell us all about your new single 'First Person Singular'?
Poppy: Oh, man, there’s a LOT that goes into this one haha. As mentioned above, recently I have been super into early 00’s indie rock, and that definitely bled into the tone and vibe of this track more so than at any point in our most recent record Midwest Alive in Nightmares. Lyrically I had also been super inspired by the film The Worst Person in the World, particularly the themes of continuing intrinsic struggle and identity crisis that tends to come to a head in your late 20’s. There’s a lot of clarity disguised as bitterness in the lyrics for FPS, and the message I was trying to go for was that as you get older, you have to accept that not everything is going to be okay sometimes. Not every interaction with every other person you meet is going to be neat, you aren’t going to get closure every single time, it’s nearly impossible to blossom into a full-fledged person without coming to terms with the fact that not everything is always going to be okay. And there’s an inner peace that comes with realizing that. It’s okay to have a continuous low hum of tension with people you don’t talk to anymore, as long as you both deal with it in a healthy way, and are also kind to yourself in a way where you’re realistic while still being respectful and empathetic.
There's so much energy in the music, what brought you all together in the first place?
Poppy: To be honest, I really have to thank my bandmates for the energy that we have as a group. Even though before Nightmares and FPS there were two records, they were both written solely by myself, and they don’t even seem like part of the Boyfrienders canon anymore. I used to be very cagey about collaboration in regards to songwriting, because of experiences in bands in the past, and it just feels very nice that Celeste, Matt and Evan were able to break down that wall for me and restore my confidence, both in my own abilities and how I’m able to write with others. I wrote the lion’s share of material for Nightmares, as I had done for previous records, and bringing them into the studio with Matt and Celeste was an amazing experience, both of them took the parts that I had written and, in some cases made those parts better, and in others completely eschewed what I had written for something THEY had written that, also, was way better!! Evan came on board after recording for Nightmares, and I am still so thankful to this day for him because he is without a doubt the best drummer on the planet in my opinion.
Celeste: I joined Boyfrienders in late 2019 to come in and play the music Poppy had written for live shows. After the pandemic started and we only got one show under belt as a group, we started working on the record. I had never really had space to grow like I do in this project. Midwest Alive in Nightmares was the first time I had ever written lyrics that got fleshed into a full song to perform as a group, the only time I've felt truly collaborative on what's going into the record, and the stepping stone for me to perform as a singer; something I had not been doing at all until we started this. I am thankful we had that whole first year as a break to grow together and mesh our minds for that record. It has changed our dynamic and our sound quite a bit.
Listen to First Person Singular here:
There's a real nostalgic tone to your new single, was this the intention?
Poppy: Yes! I really wanted to let this track have that sort of darker, more intense dance-punk tone, which is something that we never really explored as a band before this. Nostalgia for older influences has always been a running theme in Boyfrienders, but I don’t think that we hit the nail on really letting those influences shine through consistently as strongly as we have on the new single before. Before, I would let those influences make their presence known, but feel like I had to dilute them in order to not come across as derivative or like I’m “copying”, and now I feel much more comfortable being schmaltzy and letting my freak flag fly in regards to my reverence for the classics and the hold that they continue to have on me, both musical and otherwise.
What's next for Boyfrienders in 2022?
Poppy: We have some really cool things in the pipeline! We’re playing some fests, got some cool gigs lined up throughout the rest of the year, and our priorities right now are to keep playing gigs, and to continue writing LP4 with the hopes of recording it at the end of this year! We have a LOT of demos and works-in-progress, and all of it sounds absolutely killer. We’re pumped!