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SXSW Interview: Dear Boy

If you haven’t already added Dear Boy‘s single “Hesitation Waltz” to every playlist you’ve created since it’s release last August, you may recall the LA-based four-piece helped pack the Bardot for the second installment of our TuneCore Live event series. Dear Boy is returning to SXSW after making their debut trip last year, having since built a devoted live following.

A jangly guitar rock band that oozes “cool”, we’re psyched to have Dear Boy as an addition to our TuneCore Live: Austin party at the Vulcan Gas Co. this Friday, March 20th! Lead vocalist Ben Grey was kind enough to answer some questions for us as the group prepares to take Austin by storm:

It looks like this is your second trip to SXSW. What lessons are you taking with you from your previous experiences?

Dear Boy: Yes, this is our second year. Honestly, the idea of SXSW really freaked me out before we went out there last March. On paper, it sounded like a nightmare… But as the story goes, I fell in love with Austin. Saw so many great gigs, hung with some of the raddest people I know, discovered La Barbecue. It was all so killer.

As silly as it sounds, the chief lesson from last year that I’m taking is to really savor it. It’s almost like music’s birthday party. You’re supposed to have fun at music’s birthday party. We’re also playing twice as many shows this year, so yeah. Happy Birthday.

What’s piece of advice you have for artists making their first trip to SXSW that you could have used?

Comfortable shoes. Jesus Christ, bring comfortable shoes. Make some memories.

How do you guys plan to take advantage of your trip to SXSW in terms of networking?

Networking is kinda like being funny: if you’re trying to be funny, you’re going to bomb. If your mission is to schmooze, you’re going to bum everybody out. For us, we genuinely love music and meeting other musicians, so being around other artists and watching what they do is its own reward. Some might call that networking but we just call it hanging, and we plan on taking major advantage of hanging.

Got any plan to tour on your way down to Austin or after SXSW ends?

Dear Boy actually has some studio time booked right before SXSW starts, so unfortunately we’ll be dead-heading out there. Come to think of it, this will be the 3rd time we’ve driven straight to Texas this year. I just gave myself chills.

As far as downtime goes during SXSW, are there any artists, events or panels you guys are particularly excited about?

Absolutely. I don’t think any panels can top Jarvis Cocker’s last year. But on the performance side: Marina and The Diamonds, Merchandise, Alvvays, The Cribs, Palma Violets, Metz, Ringo Deathstarr, The Vaccines, Wolf Alice, Swervedriver, The Church… We also have a lot of friends playing, Kitten, Nightmare Air, Cloud Nothings, Talk in Tongues, Dark Waves, Mini Mansions… So I’m really hoping to see those guys too.

There’s been some positive buzz about Dear Boy’s live performances. In what ways do you plan to stand out and introduce yourselves to first-time listeners at SXSW?

Haha, that’s cool to hear. Well, I guess justifying the buzz is going to be our deal. Honestly, we’re not the band that climbs all over the walls or employs a floor tom circus to get a reaction. I don’t know. We’re a real bones and blood band. We don’t rely on backing tracks or anything like that. Feeling something live is what this stuff is meant to do.

What bands or artists would Dear Boy cite as major influences? Any newer acts that you find particularly exciting?

For Dear Boy, our chief influences live in the late 70’s / early 80’s post punk era & early 90’s britpop world.

The Smiths, Modern English, The Cure, New Order, Pulp, Suede, Joy Division, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Trashcan Sinatras, The Church, OMD, Psychedelic Furs, The Stone Roses, Ultravox, Oasis, Lightning Seeds, etc.

Some of the new music we’ve been super into lately are DMA’s, Wolf Alice, Merchandise, Alvvays, Sky Ferreira… I’m forgetting some surely, but it’s a lovely time for guitars.

As a relatively young band, what kind of role has TuneCore played in Dear Boy’s development?

Tunecore has given us the freedom to feed our audience. We couldn’t do this without them. Seriously.


Heading to SXSW? You can catch Dear Boy during TuneCore Live: Austin at the Vulcan Gas Company on Friday, March 20th (presented with the help of Swisher SweetsCraveOnlineMirrored MediaDropKloud, and LANDR). Their other SXSW dates are below:

Tuesday, March 17 @ Cheer Up Charlie’s
Wednesday, March 18 @ Bar 96
Thursday, March 19 @ Red 7 Patio