Interview/Show Review: Dear Boy @ The Roxy in Los Angeles 08/03

Words & Photos by Rachel Elizabeth Goertz

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With howling six string riffs reminiscent of early Indie greats and a frontman with the eccentric stage presence and raw talent best categorized as Bowie-esque, the L.A.-based quartet Dear Boy shook West Hollywood on Thursday, August 3rd at The Roxy Theater with the unveiling of their second EP: Parts of a Flower. The four-track album, featuring fan favorites “Alluria” and “Local Roses”, was met with seemingly endless and thundering applause from fans packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the iconic Sunset Strip venue. The band rocked to near midnight, finally having returned from an international hiatus to premier their newest work for none other than their most eager, home-grown fans.

Shortly after the show we caught up with lead vocalists/guitarist Ben Grey for a short Q&A:

1. What should we, as fans, know about Dear Boy that puts your band in the Indie foreground?

My answer would probably [be] different every day that you asked me that question, but today I’ll say and I say it as humbly as possible, but nobody is making what we’re making. Early 80’s post-punk & early 90’s britpop by way of Los Angeles, CA is not exactly ubiquitous. We also use the word ubiquitous, so that stands out.  

2. As the band’s second EP go around, what do you consider to be the most distinguishing aspects of Parts of a Flower from your self-titled debut?

The first EP was written and recorded before we really knew what this project was… Honestly, we were trapped in a little cold flat in the UK writing these dark & crazy guitar songs before we ever even really had name. I do have a lot of affection for that album, but we were finding our legs while we were making it. That has its own charm, but we hadn’t really played live together or lived in Dear Boy world all that long.  I look back at that record like I look at the first few seasons of The Simpsons or Seinfeld. The exciting part of this new EP is that we’re finally releasing something that is truly focused and truly Dear Boy. The Conan years. 

3. In the three years between the release of your first EP and this new summer track list, how has Dear Boy evolved?

We’ve fully coalesced. The four of us all know what this project is after touring and writing for a few years… Our sound, our aesthetic, our live show… We’re a united front and now it’s play time. 

4. Parts of a Flower has a slight but arguable darkness compared to your earlier work- what sparked the edge of angst?

That’s interesting, I didn’t really think about it like that, but I think you’re right! I can’t pinpoint a reason, really… but I guess, we just don’t find happiness to be that inspiring. Which is funny because we’re all positive people with A LOT to be psyched on in our lives, but we just don’t connect with happy songs in the same way. Is it crazy to say that feeling good is a luxury and writing about it sometimes comes off as gloating in a way? I’m not saying we haven’t, don’t or won’t do it, but it’s rare. Feeling mixed up and trying to make sense of it is infinitely more interesting than being stoked. Being blue is complex and that’s unfortunately / fortunately very attractive. 

5. The Roxy in West Hollywood: how does it feel to play your EP release show back on your home turf?

Amazing. It’s always scary headlining your hometown because you’re testing your mettle. Hoping that it’s bigger and that people care more than before! I will say that we’re very proud of this community that we’re a part of within this giant city. It feels very familial and close and I wouldn’t want to celebrate anywhere or with anyone else. 

6. With SoCal roots, what qualities does Dear Boy bring into play that are intrinsically L.A.?

A lot of people have told us that Dear Boy is their favorite thing to drive to… Perhaps the third of our lives spent on freeways somehow infiltrated the way we do things. Like, we write the stuff we would want to be in the car listening to. Just a theory. 

7. With two EP’s now under your belts, how has the band’s vision for future works changed over the last four years?

I guess we don’t really think about it in those terms. Since the moment we first fully understood what this project was about, we’ve always been focused on the next piece of music. So that’s where our heads are at now. To answer your question, I guess I would say we feel like we know what we’re doing now <3 

8. How did your time in the UK help shape this EP?

It was very inspiring. The lion’s share of the music we listen to comes out off the UK, so as an american who romanticizes UK music so hard… to be surrounded by it is exciting, whether that’s psychosomatic or not. Plus, living in London reunited me with my own darkness, so I guess I would say thank you & fuck you for that. 

9. Are there talks of a full-length album on Dear Boy’s horizon?

We’re just about finished writing it! The number of songs we actually adore changes daily, but I feel like we have 18 or 19 songs that I would consider ready to be LP ready. 

10. For your newest following to fans who have kept with the band since your 2012 launch, what can we look forward to most down the road from Dear Boy?

The best is ahead. 


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