Boygenius: Being called a tortured artist is depowering

Boygenius Being called a tortured artist is depowering

I hate live music, announces Phoebe Bridgers, festival headliner, four-time Grammy nominee and one-third of indie/alternative triumverate Boygenius.

"OK, that's not true but, God, 80 per cent of it I hate and 20 per cent is transcendent."

Her bandmates have some thoughts about this declaration.

"Well, some people are live music lovers, like my dad," says Julien Baker. "If he goes to a restaurant and there's a surprise Doobie Brothers cover band, he's thrilled."

"Oh I find that uncomfortable," says Lucy Dacus. "You have to perform that you're listening to them.

"But I'm in the middle of this. Sometimes, I've walked into a bar and fallen in love with every single member of a band. But I've also walked into a bar and been like, 'I never want to hear music again.'"

"I have automatic tenderness for anyone that wants to play music," decides Bridgers. "It's just that they lose me at some point, in a myriad of ways."

"The only way they lose me is bitterness," says Baker.

"Except for Jerry Lee Lewis: I saw him perform at a festival and someone hit him with a beach ball. He was like, 'I didn't play music for 60 years to be hit by a plastic ball.'"

"That's not bitterness, that's self respect," says Dacus.

"Anyway," says Bridgers, staring down the Zoom camera. "Do you maybe have any questions you want to ask us?"

At this point, it's a good 10 minutes into the interview. We're in London and Boygenius are in LA, perched on a four-poster bed, trading in-jokes, finishing each other's sentences and mercilessly poking fun at each other.

Dacus provokes roars of laughter when she describes her songs as "jolly bops"; Baker is roasted for describing herself as a secret emotional masochist ("there's no secret about it!"), and there's a long discussion about the items fans throw on stage.

"It's always bras," says Dacus.

"Once, I got a rainbow harness," counters Bridgers, quickly clarifying that she does not condone fans pelting her with sex toys.

"You don't want to get one dead in the eye," Dacus deadpans.

'Can we be a band again?'

For all their camaraderie, Boygenius formed almost by accident in 2018 when a savvy promoter booked all three ascendant songwriters on a joint US tour.

Already fans of each other's work, they decided to record a joint EP as an excuse to end every night with a joint performance.

Recorded in just four days, it was a revelation. Vogue christened them "the 'Infinity War' of female-led indie rock outfits" and fans started clamouring for a full-length album.

Instead, the members went off to make career-best solo records: Baker's Little Oblivions, Dacus's Home Video and Bridgers' Punisher.

The latter became a cultural phenomenon, elevating the singer to rock's A-list, where she now duets with Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney and SZA.

But a week after her album came out, she sent Dacus and Baker a message in their group chat, asking: "Can we be a band again?"

It turned out everybody had been thinking the same thing, but nobody wanted to be the first to say it.

Within hours, Baker had set up a shared folder called "Dare I say it?" that quickly filled up with song sketches.

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