Dear Boy
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Dear Boy

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF | AFTRA

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Alternative




"NYLON Premieres "Parts of a Flower" EP"

L.A.-Based Band Dear Boy Debuts Their EP ‘Parts Of A Flower’
Spoiler: it’s pretty awesome

If you’ve been waiting for a summer album with a bit of a dark side, Dear Boy is here to deliver just that. The L.A.-based band wrote their second EP, Parts of a Flower (available for stream below), in Vauxhall, London—a detail that doesn’t go unnoticed; the EP, which contains four tracks, flawlessly showcases its roots in early ’90s Britpop and late ’80’s post-punk with a modern and subdued indie spirit that carries across each song.

The album captures the elusive feeling of love through lyrics like “I can hold her now but it’s clear that she’s not mine to keep/ It was always in my heart to let her go” and “Breathe me in, while you can.” Here, we caught up with guitarist and vocalist Ben Grey to find out how the band got together, what you can expect on their EP, and, most importantly, which band member would last the longest if cast in a horror film.

How did you first get into music?
I started playing guitar so I could play in my dad’s cover band. I would be on stage, and he would say stuff like, “We’re Midlife Crisis, and this is my son, Prelife Crisis.” Then, when I was like three days into junior high, I was making a papier–mâché guitar in an art class and this kid came up to me and was like, “Do you want to join my punk band?” And I was like, “Sure...? What’s punk?” So then I joined Noise for no reason, and I went from The Dave Clark Five to Bad Religion in, like, a day.

How did Dear Boy get started?
We were all friends for a while first, and this was the first time that we were all musically single. It was great to say, “I’m starting a band with my best friends, finally!” It was the most organic thing I’ve ever done. And because we’re insane, we all decided to move to England to start the project. I had a friend who was able to give us a flat and get us work visas, and that’s where Dear Boy started.

How did London influence your work and your band?
I grew up in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley to be exact. I think we had an expectation versus reality shock. We went in the winter, and we all had a one-bedroom flat. I shared a bed with our drummer. We had no internet, we had nothing. And we’re pretty sure the flat was haunted, so the vibe of the songs are pretty dark. I think that between the cold, the fact that we didn’t have any money, and not knowing anyone in London, we were really able to focus on the work. I also think the chemistry of the four of us as best friends and blending our U.K. influences with our Southern-California upbringing really makes for an interesting sound.

What was the process like of making an album and how does it feel to be finished?
It kind of never turns off. But when we play a big concert, or if I have to go to a party that I don’t want to go to, the morning after, if I’m having a coffee and a pastry, honestly that’s like Aruba to me. And with making a record, it’s so long. You dream it up, practice it, and build it, so it doesn’t feel real until it’s out. I’ve been in creative purgatory for a few months, getting ready to release it.

Which bands have influenced your work and the way you look at music?
The Cure, The Smiths, Pulp—Pulp is my favorite band in the world—House of Love, Suede, New Order, and Roxy Music. Those bands all are seriously life-changing.

Where do you look for inspiration when you’re writing songs?
Normally, I think we write songs about stuff that sort of, like, commands a song being written about it. Sometimes have a phrase or a word that I kind of don’t know why I keep saying it—it becomes sort of this involuntary mantra—and then it makes sense to me maybe months later. So, there are certain events and certain things that happen to me and to us, but we don’t know why there should be a song about it until the song starts.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I would probably be a chef who makes Cajun food. ’Cause that’s seriously what I thought I would be doing when I was a kid.

If Dear Boy was a pizza, what would the toppings be?
I would say they would be four types of sausage including one vegan sausage. Nils, our bass player, is vegan.

Are you currently bingeing anything on Netflix or Hulu right now?
Luther is really cool, it’s like a British supercop show. Luther, Stranger Things, and then I just got so into The Night Of on HBO, and I’m freaking out about it. It’s basically “Serial” mixed with True Detective.

If Dear Boy is cast in a horror movie, who’s the first to die, who lasts until the end, and who’s secretly evil?
I’m gonna say Keith, our drummer, is first to die, for sure. Like, he’s dead before the credits start. I would say our guitar player Austin is secretly evil. He’ll turn on the crowd, or he’ll turn on the group. Not saying he gonna turn on the group in real life, but just for the sake of argument... he’s got mysterious eyes so, let’s say him. Nils is the bad guy, and then I am the Scream Queen.

Do you watch Scream Queens?
You know what? I do, and Nils got me into it. Nils gets me into a lot of stuff. So a lot of my personality is his fault. Like now I drive only listening to this band The Cult, and it’s his fault.

It’s coming back in the fall.
That’s right. Oh shit! The year is going by so fast! That’s gonna be awesome.

If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go and why?
I would go to Paris because I really want to learn how to make macarons. Like, right now, I have to take like a loan out if I have this craving [laughs].

Do you have any life motto or kind of words to live by?
Well, I’m kind of embarrassed that these are the first words that came to my head, but... “You gotta risk it for the biscuit!”

Where could we find you and your bandmates hanging out on a Saturday night?
We’re all pretty big coffee monsters. So before we go anywhere, we’ll probably meet at some sort of coffee shop and discuss things and deconstruct stuff, but we hang a lot at this one venue and bar in Echo Park called The Echo. It’s the best sense of community you’ll get in the Los Angeles music scene.

What is the best part about being in Dear Boy?
I think aside from the fact that we all match clothes all the time, I would say the best thing is that I can stand behind it and I can stand with my best friends behind it. I know that the thing we’re making is special, and I just feel really lucky to be a part of something that is real and cool. So, yeah. The best part is that. - NYLON

"Consequence of Sound "Alluria" premiere"

You don’t have to come from across the great, big pond to have a bit of British edge to your band. Dear Boy may hail from Los Angeles, but their alternative sound carries with it distinct notes of post-Britpop stylings. There’s the unruffled lilt of lead singer Ben Grey’s vocals, the floating yet electric lift of the guitars, and the riled temperament of Keith Cooper’s drumming. All of it harkens back to a country none of the members was born in, but one whose musical phrasing they make their own.

It’s all audible on the boys’ latest single, “Alluria”. Taken from their forthcoming sophomore EP, Parts of a Flower, the song has a mournful fall to it, but it’s cushioned with the buoyancy of what is most certainly affection. At least, it was at one point. “Alluria/ Give me a reason to stay,” Grey begs on the chorus. “Just tell me something to change my mind/ And I promise to get carried away.”

“While we were recording this song, I can’t remember who it was, but somebody in the control room said that it sounded like if The Cure had written ‘American Girl’,” Grey said about coming up with “Alluria”. “After that, we all kinda quietly decided that that was what we were going for the whole time. I wanted to classify a really specific feeling. There’s a special brand of displacement that only love does to you and it’s not always the healthiest thing. The word/name Alluria was just haunting me for weeks and I didn’t know what it meant until we started writing it.”

Produced by Doug Boehem (Girls), Parts of a Flower is due out August 5th via Easy Hell. Pre-orders are going on here. Dear Boy is out on tour supporting the release throughout California, and you can find their schedule below. - Consequence of Sound

"SXSW 2015 In Review - NME Writers Have Their Say On The Best New Bands"

Jonathan Garrett, writer

Dear Boy: A classically-inclined brit-pop band from Los Angeles of all places, Dear Boy split the difference between Suede and Manic Street Preachers. It was unexpectedly refreshing to hear songs with a flair for the dramatic (and melodramatic) in the heart of Texas. - NME

"Hesitation Waltz premiere"

With the release of last fall’s self-titled EP, L.A. quartet Dear Boy distanced themselves from the alt-rock masses, with singer-guitarist Ben Grey and mates Austin Hayman, Nils Bue and Keith Cooper affirming their new band identity by injecting some Anglophile-friendly edginess into their pop grandiosity. And so it goes with the anthemic “Hesitation Waltz,” a deeply emotional slow-burner and the band’s first new music since the EP. Produced by Doug Boehm (Girls) and mixed by Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode and Wire, among others), the song “is about the impossibility of reconnecting,” Grey says. “Before every fall, there is a moment that you take for granted. This song lives in that moment.” The quartet, fresh off tour supporting Kitten, is finishing up writing its full-length, aiming to record it late this year. “Hesitation Waltz,” out this week as a single, is for one of those late-in-the-set moments, with lighters held high. - BuzzBands LA

"Artist Direct Interview"

Dear Boy create the kind of lavish smart alternative that nods to The Smiths and Joy Division without ever sounding derivative. It's a fine line to tiptoe, but they walk it masterfully on their self-titled debut EP. [iTunes link] It's an instantly inviting and invigoratingly infectious collection that introduces one of Los Angeles's most thrilling young bands.

In this exclusive interview with editor in chief Rick Florino, Dear Boy singer Ben Grey discusses the group's EP and so much more.

Did you approach the EP with one vibe in mind?

Yeah, we wrote the record in the UK. We really left Los Angeles wanting to create something new. We didn't really know where it would end. We wrote twenty to thirty songs in our tiny one-bedroom flat. When we got back to LA, we wanted to make sense of everything we'd done because we left with no name and we had no project. We came back with Dear Boy. For the first five songs, we definitely knew what they'd be. We thought this would be a good introduction to the band.

It establishes a boundlessness from the beginning.

That was definitely part of it too. We didn't want it to be constrained by anything.

What's the story behind "Blond Bones"?

When you're sequestered from everyone you care about and everything you know, it really distills what your voice is and what you want to write about. Without giving too much away, it's one of the darker songs I wrote. It was the second or third song we completed, and it set the emotion tone. It's melancholy, but it's not hopeless. I was in a dark place when I wrote that song. When I came back, my family was definitely in a dark place. It had to do with me thinking about if I would be alone and by myself forever like I was in our little haunted flat in the UK.

It was haunted?

It was absolutely haunted, man! I don't say that lightly [Laughs]. We were menaced night and day by all kinds of things, which is an experience for sure.

What was the weirdest thing that happened?

There was a phantom chair. Outside of our flat, there was a tunnel that led to underneath the river. We were in South London. There was a chair that was always perfectly symmetrical sitting in the center of this tunnel. It would keep switching angles. It was really bizarre. You'd hear a noise. You'd go outside, and the chair would be facing some other direction, but it was always perfectly symmetrical. It was too much [Laughs]. Five months with three men and a ghost is too much!

Where did "Funeral Waves" come from?

Touching on the boundlessness you mentioned before, we wanted to hit the musical ceiling creatively in terms of what we could get away with and was the most chaotic and raucousness we could put into a four-minute song. I'd never written a song like that before where we really took it to the extremes. There's a riff in the bridge that's insane. It's the most fun and cathartic musical thing I've been a part of. When we started, it was like, "What can we do and what can we get away with?"

Pulp is a huge influence on this band. Then, there's Minor Threat, The Smiths, Stiff Little Fingers, and, Television for sure. Of course, I was in these terrible punk bands when I was 14-years-old, and I couldn't really pay homage to those influences. Now, I think I'm doing a good job.

If you were to compare the EP to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?

What a fun question! Let me see if I can do that justice. For a combination of movies, I'd say if I could take The Graduate, Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, Pretty in Pink, and Amélie, it'd be that! That's seriously the most fun question I've ever been asked. I had to give a good answer [Laughs].

—Rick Florino
11.20.13 - Artist Direct

"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. - TuneCore Blog

"First Listen: LA Post-Punks Cover the Psychedelic Furs "The Ghost in You""

Los Angeles post-punk outfit Dear Boy is bringing a ‘90s shoegazer touch to an ‘80s classic with an exquisite and transporting cover of the Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost in You,” premiering today on Yahoo Music.

“The Ghost in You” is the B-side to Dear Boy’s new 7-inch vinyl single on Easy Hell/Manimal Vinyl, “Hesitation Waltz,” which was produced by Doug Boehm (Girls) and mixed by Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Wire, Merchandise). The remake is retro yet thoroughly modern, a sort of alt-prom anthem for a new generation of Andie Walshes. Have a listen. - Yahoo Rising


Dear Boy EP

Hesitation Waltz/The Ghost in You 7" single

Parts of a Flower EP



Born in Los Angeles, Dear Boy wrote their debut EP in Vauxhall, London. Tracked by Chad Bamford (Spiritualized) and mixed by Michael Patterson (Trent Reznor, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club), the DEAR BOY EP was released in September, 2013. Propelled by the single "Oh So Quiet,” Dear Boy built a devoted live following, headlining local venues such as the Troubadour and The Bootleg Theater, along with performances at SXSW 2014/15 in Austin, TX and a national tour supporting Kitten.  They've also supported national acts such as The DMA’s, The Dears, Cloud Nothings, Ash, The Airborne Toxic Event, The Maccabees, Peter Murphy, NO, Meg Myers, Fenech Soler, X-Ambassadors, INVSN and Night Terrors of 1927.

August 12th, 2014 marked the release of the newly recorded single, “Hesitation Waltz,” produced by Doug Boehm (Girls) & mixed by Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Wire, Merchandise). Recorded in part at the legendary Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood, the anthemic “Hesitation Waltz” affirms “their new band identity by injecting some Anglophile-friendly edginess into their pop grandiosity” according to BuzzBands LA. "'Hesitation Waltz’ is about the impossibility of reconnecting," the band admits. "Before every fall, there is a moment that you take for granted. This song lives in that moment.” 

September 11th, 2015 saw the release of the band's first international 7" via Easy Hell / Manimal Vinyl, with "Hesitation Waltz" sharing the disc with Dear Boy's previously unreleased take on "The Ghost in You" by The Psychedelic Furs. 

Dear Boy released their sophomore EP “Parts of a Flower” on August 5, 2016, reuniting with producer Doug Boehm.  The video for the first single “Local Roses” premiered on FLOOD.  

"Since their 2013 self-titled debut EP, LA’s Dear Boy have shown a knack for anglophilic melodies and a bright, buzzy brand of alt-pop that seems like it’s been preserved especially for us since the early Clinton years." - Flood Magazine

"'With shimmering guitar lines that sparkle over the track like the sun setting into a lake and the rich emotional draw of vocalist Ben Grey, "Local Roses" hits all of the sonic and atmospheric sweet spots that will make every kid who grew up on [The Cure's] Disintegration melt into a puddle of warm nostalgia. We want to hear more ASAP." - Baeble Music 

“You know when you really like a new band, and then you see them for the first time live, and then you like them even more? Well that just happened to me when I saw Dear Boy for the first time…” - Aaron Axelsen/LIVE 105

Dear Boy is Ben Grey (vox/guitar), Keith Cooper (drums), Austin Hayman (guitar) and Nils Bue (bass).

Dear or Die.

Band Members