I Dream of Vinyl

Music News, Reviews and Views


Always Turn Up Early For The Support Band: An Interview with Dear Boy

It’s April 2016 and we’re heading into Los Angeles to see DMA’S play a Localchella show at The Echo. The Aussie band had just released their debut album “Hills End” and I was really liking their unashamed love of Oasis. Also on the bill that night were The Palms and local band Dear Boy, neither of whom I knew anything about but you should always show up for the support bands! While I don’t remember the set from The Palms, I was blown away by how good Dear Boy were that night. With songs like “Alluria” and “Local Roses” I was hooked immediately and, as they finished their set with “Hesitation Waltz”, I remember thinking that this band is going to be huge.

Since then, Dear Boy released some great singles and EPs and played a euphoric homecoming set at the Greek Theatre in 2019 (supporting James and The Psychadelic Furs). And now, finally, they are releasing their superb debut album on September 16th. “Forever Sometimes” perfectly captures everything I love about the band; immaculate indie-pop with great tunes and memorable choruses. Featuring a combination of new tracks and the singles they’ve released over the last few years, the album will surely help them achieve the prediction that I made six years ago.

We caught up with Ben from the band to talk about the album and how they developed their sound.

Hi Ben! How’s everything going right now?
I’m sitting here in 106 degree weather and looking at Autumn Core hashtags, so you tell ME.

What classic album cover is your current mood?
Bloc Party – Silent Alarm… It’s hot here, Paul.

Dear Boy’s debut album is finally out on September 16th. It feels like I’ve been waiting for it for a long time but I’m guessing it’s been even harder for you and the band?
It’s definitely been hard, but the feeling of excitement is prevailing. I’m psyched you’re looking forward to it.

The album contains some of the brilliant singles you’ve released from the last few years. Was there a dilemma over whether to include them on the album or just release a whole album of new material?
It’s a great question and thank you for the kind words! Not to get too vibe-y, but the album kinda tells you what it is and what it needs while you’re making it. We always knew we wanted to include The Nominee and give it a proper release. We’re still very proud of that song… And we decided to include Heaven Moves midway through the recording process because the themes and feelings that kept coming up in the songs we were working on kinda begged for that resolution. Plus, the original, non-single version of Heaven Moves is a bit longer. The Director’s Cut, if you will.

Do you have any favorite songs on the album? (I would say the title track is my favorite song you’ve released so far.)
Wet Clothes was a song I had been dying to work on for YEARS. It makes me incredibly happy that it’s on the album. Swan Dives is another favorite of mine. I love how Say When came out. And I’m going to put the most idiosyncratic song on there too, Marrying For Love. It’s something different from us and I can finally show off how much I love The Magnetic Fields.

It felt like Dear Boy had a lot of momentum in 2019 releasing The Strawberry EP and playing SXSW. Do you feel the pandemic slowed you down or did it give you the chance to concentrate on writing and perfecting “Forever Sometimes”?
I would say both, actually. I mean, we never would’ve had the time to make the album this way. We literally spent 10 months, 6 days a week, 12 hours a day working on Forever Sometimes. Not to mention pretty much all of our money. It was our deep obsession and I think in the grand scheme of things, worth the pause in momentum. I could not be more proud of the album.

If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
No matter which album I choose, I will regret it. But let’s say A Different Class by Pulp.

I’ve always felt Dear Boy have a very British sound but you’re from LA. Am I missing something?
You’re not missing anything! We’re missing accents, but you’re doing great. Honestly, we’re all just moved by the music and atmosphere of lives we’ve never lived. It’s not on purpose. The magic of Factory and Creation just imprinted on us and we’re doing our best to represent our city and our perspective with the inspirations that have been given to us.

Which bands did you listen to when you were growing up and how did they influence your songwriting and how you want the band to sound?
My early days were spent listening and playing punk. A tale as old as time. My Dad had the Beatles on in the house all of the time, which obviously gets into your bloodstream, but it was finding the Buzzcocks, Green Day and The Damned that really set it off for me. And when you pull on that thread you find The Cure, Wire, Siouxsie, The Smiths, etc. I chased the jangle. Britpop found me in my late teens and then I knew exactly what I wanted to make… With zero idea how to do it.

You signed to Last Gang Records last year. Why did you go with them and how has that been working out?
They’re real audiophiles. When we were shopping the record in 2021, they were the ones that really got it. They didn’t care about Tik Tok, or streams, or anything like that. The discussions were always about purpose, the record and what we wanted to do on a creative level. It was like being with your music friends and we felt and still feel safe with them. They also put out some of my favorite records ever, so there’s that.

Photo Credits : Jonathan Weiner

You’ve also released a couple of singles as The Birthdays (with Jackson Phillips from Day Wave). How do you decide what is a “Dear Boy song” and what will be released as a “Birthdays song”? Has it caused any friction with the band saying “Hey, why are we not playing that?”
Haha! No, there’s no friction here. Everybody in the band has other projects and we’re all very supportive of each other. Dear Boy would never play a Birthdays song, so there’s no problem there. I will say that I’m excited for people to hear the rest of the album Jackson and I are working on… it’s pretty wild.

You have a couple of album release shows coming up in LA and NYC. Can the rest of the US (and further afield) expect to see you anytime soon?
YES. We’re working on it. Touring is kind of like the Wild West right now, so it’s hard to be confident in announcements… but yes. Incredibly soon.

What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
I could spend a week thinking about this. “(On Pie) Mind” and we would guess what toppings you want on it.

What can we expect from Dear Boy for the rest of 2022 and into next year?
Aside from Forever Sometimes coming out on SEPTEMBER 16TH (!!!!) we’re getting back into the studio to make some more music. Album 2 is well on its way.

Dear Boy are Ben Grey (lead vocals, guitar), Keith Cooper (drums, vocals), Austin Hayman (guitar, vocals), and Lucy Lawrence (bass, vocals). Their debut album “Forever Sometimes” is released on September 16th and they will be playing two release shows (at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on Oct 28th and Elsewhere Zone 1 in Brooklyn on Nov 3rd). You can find out more about the band by visiting https://www.dearboyofficial.com or following them on Instagram and Twitter.

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