Boy Crisis Interview
Boy Crisis's sound is (according to a profile in The Guardian) so “hip and now that it hurts”, combining Studio 54-style disco-electronica with the spunk and glam rock of CBGBs. Their synthesized melodies are fresh and flamboyant while their fragmented yet harmonious vocal rhythms are reminiscent of 80s pop-funk. The band consists entirely of Wesleyan alums: Victor Vazquez ’06 (vocals/synthesizers), Tal Rozen ’06 (vocals/synthesizers), Alex Kestner ’06 (bass/synthesizers), Lee Pender ’07 (guitar/synthesizer) and Owen Roberts ’07 (drums/sampler). We chatted with the band members about the group's origins, bevy of collaborations and what Claire Potter might think of their name.
Stefan Golangco (SG): How did the band get its name?
Victor Vazquez (VV): We just made lists of words and combined them. Then, later, an article came out about “the boy crisis” which was basically about how American boys' academic performance were in decline. After Googling around we found that the term actually dates back to a similar decline in American boys' academic performance around the turn of the century. Except back then, they blamed female teachers that were making the boys too weak and effeminate or something, and folks were saying that young boys needed to be out in the woods with other boys, doing manly things with male role models…apparently, this eventually led to the founding of the Boy Scouts. I'm sure Professor Claire Potter knows all about this and has a lot to say about it. You should ask her what's up.
Tal Rozen (TR): What's up Claire Potter?
SG: What's the history of the band? When and where was it formed?
VV: Tal and Alex did a bossa nova cover of a Fiona Apple song in the summer of 2005 and then a song called “Let's Get Fantastic,” and our friend and fellow Wesleyan alumnus Jordan Fish [’06] made a little video for it. Tal and I had been freshman year roommates in Westco up 4 and were senior year roommates, so I ended up making some songs with him and Alex that year. We didn't really become a real band until Lee joined in 2007 and we started playing shows. Then Tal left for a minute, Owen joined and Tal came back.
TR: Victor and I used to be in some bands together. They were called the Novices and Narwhal.
VV: Lee was in a band called Franny.
SG: How would the band describe the music it plays?
TV: Maybe not shambolic.
SG: What is a live show like by the band?
VV: Fucking hella good. You should go see us on Friday, except I have a sore throat right now and I might be bad at singing.
SG: Are there any upcoming projects to look out for?
VV: I'm in a side project called Das Racist with Himanshu Suri ’07, and Owen's other band is Balloon. This French band The Shoes are remixing one of our tracks and I might jump on one of theirs. I think Khalif Diouf ’11 said he was going to remix a track of ours too, and we did a remix of a Chairlift song with Jorge Elbrecht of Violens and Lansing-Dreiden but I don't when/if that'll see the light of day. I'm also in this other side project called JV Basketball with Jordan Fish.
SG: What about upcoming tours? Where are you most excited about and why?
VV: Nothing like an official tour quite yet cause we have no album to tour in support of. But we're going to Reykjavik, Iceland for a festival in a few weeks and we're going to the UK next month for a couple of shows to support the really small release of a single over there.
TR: We're also playing a Halloween show in Brooklyn that we're excited about with Francis and the Lights, Violens, Amazing Baby and MGMT.
SG: How does it feel to be considered a “Brooklyn buzz band”? What are you doing that's new and different from the Brooklyn scene in general?
VV: I don't know. I don't know.
TR: I know.
SG: What does the press say about the band? How is it being received?
VV: They like us. Do you like us?
SG: What would the band like to do next?
VV: Finish the album and put it out and tour.
Lee Pender (LP): Play Bard.
TR: I'd like to go to that Vietnamese place. What's the name of that Vietnamese place?
VV: Pho Mai?
TR: Pho Mai.
SG: How does it feel to be back at Wes?
VV: It will probably feel a little weird. We've been back a few times and it's always weird, but pleasant.
Owen Roberts (OR): It will probably feel really weird.
SG: What were your majors in Wes? How, if at all, does it affect your music?
LP: Science in Society (physics and ethics).
TR: Art (painting)
Alex Kestner (AK): Art (sculpture).
VV: Our Wesleyan education has served us well.
SG: Any general comments for Wes?
VV: Stay in school.
TR: Thanks for everything.