Hi Austin, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hey, thanks so much for having me! I’ve been ok, all things considered. It’s an insane time.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Boo Riley”?
I wanted to write something like a theme song for the band. Something danceable and up tempo that would really get the listener’s blood moving.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I love the band, Wilco. I was listening to their track, Wilco (The Song), and was really drawn to the line “This is an aural arms open wide, a sonic shoulder for you to cry on.” I wanted to write a song inspired by that line, but expressed through Boo Riley’s perspective.
Why name a song about your own moniker?
I feel like the tune really captures a lot of the band’s sounds and colors. It’s a calling card, of sorts.
Would you call this then your most personal track to date?
No, I wrote this song with the idea that Boo Riley is not just me, but the whole band creating this collective sound to lift up the audience. I also wanted the message to be universal enough to grab as many ears as possible. So compared to some of my more introspective songs like Mango Garry or Kinetic Collector, Boo Riley is intentionally a bit broader in that regard.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
It was quite the endeavor. We did a ton of pre production; lots of rehearsals for the choreography, scouting filming locations, finding costumes, mapping out shooting schedules, etc. We shot the entire video over a 38 hour period. We started in NYC on the subway at 2AM on a Monday morning and finished in Philadelphia, PA at 4PM the following Tuesday. It was exhausting, but a lot of fun.
How was the recording and writing process?
It was good. We recorded that EP at The Honey Jar in Brooklyn with Devin Greenwood producing. I write all my songs on acoustic guitar and then bring them into the studio to flesh out. It’s cool to watch a song grow from the ground up. It never ends up sounding like what you thought it would.
What role does Manhattan play in your music?
NYC is such a musical place. Pre pandemic there was live music everywhere every night. So, tons of opportunity to play out, but also a lot of bands to watch and learn from and be inspired by.
There’s also this undeniable pace to the city; an energy that is both exhilarating and exhausting. I think any artist who lives here can’t help but incorporate that into their work.”
What is it about the 80s that you find so fascinating?
There’s a lot of hazy nostalgia wrapped into that decade for me. I’m an 80’s kid, but I don’t really remember much from that time because I was so young. But the music from that era is a sort of time capsule that takes me back, so I like to have elements of it in my own material.
How would you say your Broadway background influences your music?
It’s made me really care about the quality and substance of the lyrics. Guys like Stephen Sondheim, Adam Guettel, and Lin-Manuel Miranda are masterful at that craft. You can really tell they work their asses off until it’s the best it can be.
We hear you’re in the studio and we can expect new material soon – how’s that coming along?
It’s pretty slow going, but there’s some exciting stuff coming. I’m working with a new producer, Jesse Barnes. He’s been great to collaborate with. A super talented guy.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
Hopefully by the fall. No title yet; that’s sort of an ornament for the finished product.
Any plans to hit the road?
No plans right now, but I am actively manifesting it in my mind. 😉
What else is happening next in Boo Riley’s world?
I’m always writing stuff, we’re talking about making another video off the Mango Garry EP, and we’ll also be creating some video content for the new tunes.