Tell me again, why I’m not living in Austin. We’re hesitant to try and classify our latest obsession as shoegaze, dreamcore or any of the easy classifications that music critics like to use. Let’s just say that there’s an ethereal beauty surrounding Boy Friend that allows your to lose yourself in the epic soundscapes that they create. They are yet another Austin band that is exploring a style of music that made 4AD a force in the 80′s and 90′s. Christa Palazzolo and Sarah Brown (formerly of Sleep∞Over) talked to Amy and Todd about the roots or their music and the direction of music in Austin.
TDOA: I read that you guys have been friends since high school. I live with my best friend of 13 years, but I can’t imagine making music with her. How does the dynamic work?
C: It has it’s ups & downs, but more than anything, we can trust each other with the process. Basically I stress out about everything & Sarah chills me out. This summer we added Tiffanie Lanmon to our lineup, and it’s just been like having a 3rd sister in the band who makes everything twice as fun.
S: One of the best things about our relationship is that we can be totally honest with each other, it may take us awhile but we’re always able to work out any problems.
TDOA: I really think that the comparisons between Boy Friend and Beach House/Cocteau Twins are a little shallow – it seems like there’s some extra “oomph” that you guys bring to the table – what do you think that is? What were you listening to or what was influencing you as you wrote this album?
C: People love to place those comparisons on us, but yeah, we do things a bit differently. I was very heavily inspired by both bands, but honestly, that record was more of an emotional release than anything. We wrote those songs after our last band broke up & just jammed whatever we felt. It’s hard to compare it to anything directly.
TDOA: I read an interview where you suggested that your music had more to do with R & B and reggae than the shoegaze, dreampop classifications that people try and tag you with. Tags aren’t that important as long as people love the music, but I’m intrigued by your description of your music. Can you give me some examples of where I can hear that in a specific song? You’re among friends here and we love to talk about song structure.
C: Haha, uh oh I don’t remember the reggae part. I think we just felt our songs follow a more typical pop format – vs/chorus/hook/repeat in a pretty straightforward way, more so than a lot of shoe gaze/psychy bands out there. We don’t align ourselves with shoegaze. I guess we were jamming a lot of Alton Ellis & R Kelly when the record came out, so we just went with the feel.
TDOA: I like that this record has a mix of shorter and longer tracks, but I’m curious why. Does it have to do with the flow of the record, or the individual songs?
C: It was a mix between both. We jammed Rogue Waves and just wanted it to open & close the record in similar ways. The next record will have a lot more building, in terms of flow, now that we know the process and how to work it.
S: We were just trying things out. Apparently there is a learning curve on those things.
TDOA: Given that you’d previously released the Crystal EP, how did you approach writing and recording Egyptian Wrinkle differently?
C: Well, EW was actually finished before we put out that little tape. Crystal was part of a Kickstarter reward, so it was more just jams between us & Speculator. EW was a huge learning process b/c we rushed the writing to get recording finished in time & then had to sit on it for awhile before it came out. The tour tapes we put out summer 2011 were our release from that.
TDOA: Here’s the obligatory Austin question…. Great music scene, blah blah blah. But what’s getting me is number of great psych, shoegaze, dreampop bands coming out of Austin. I know you don’t necessarily classify yourself in those categories. But it certainly doesn’t have obvious “country” roots. Why do you think the Austin scene has created this really strong offshoot that seemingly eschews country music?
C: I don’t think Austin “eschews” country music – every town has it’s roots – but it’s also a very urban progressive city. Mix it up & you get diverse styles. It’s great to me because I can’t really deal with the Stevie Ray Vaughn wannabe-dude-alt rock here.
S: I think you could say the same for every city in the nation right now. These genres are just what’s “in”, so either people are just noticing these bands because of the popularity of the genres, or some may be just starting shoegaze bands because they wanna get in on the trend and are influenced by them.
TDOA: Can you talk about your first experience with making a video? Will you (have you) considered making more or are you done with the process for a while?
C: We actually loved making our first video! We had a few friends make videos for us before, which were great, but filming/editing the video for Egyptian Wrinkle was a really fun challenging process. We basically taught ourselves how to do it because we were on such a tight budget. We made it at a rough time when a friend had passed away so it was also a great distraction.
S: If we had better equipment we’d have probably made a video for every song by now.
TDOA: There are some incredible lady-fronted bands in Austin, Boy Friend included. Who are some of your favorite acts there that we need to know about?
C: Some of our local faves with ladies are Mirror Travel / LRN GRN, Silent Diane, BOAN & Belaire
TDOA: What’s next? Any plans to record a new album or single?
C: Yep! New record is in the future. We’ll have a tape coming out before that too. We’re super stoked to share our newer songs with the world.