“I don’t want to give you the satisfaction” croons folk/pop trio Boy Band on their debut single “Sorry (High & Dry)”, premiering exclusively on Mind Equals Blown. And oh how satisfying it is.
New York’s Boy Band is the collaborative project of Ana Dratz, Jen Fischer, and HaleyJane Rose, a trio with a knack for building stunning harmonies and inescapable melodies – crafting their own unique, commanding sound in the process.
“Sorry” – the first single off their debut EP Begin, out July 28th – is a crash course in pop perfection, keeping you guessing at every turn. From its acapella intro to the huge sing-along chorus and back again, the track is a vibrant middle-finger to anyone who’s done you wrong – and a battle cry toward anyone who might.
“It’s a heartbreak song, but it’s so defiant and fun” says Rose of the track.
“Like ‘yup, you hurt me bad, but don’t pity me. I got this'”. As with most of the band’s repertoire, the song began as a solo composition – this time from the mind of Fischer – before the other two members joined in to help flesh it out and bring the song to life.
“It was a huge relief finally finishing this song I had been struggling to complete. I had the chorus melody and lyrics floating around in my head for a year before I was finally able to pick it back up again” notes Fischer. In that spirit of collaboration and creative trust, something truly special was born.
Wrap your ears around this infectious summer jam below, and scroll below for my continued chat with Boy Band.
MEB: How did Boy Band come to be?
AD: Haley and I met in college through a friend who wanted us to write a musical. The musical never came to be, but we decided we sang pretty well together and continued doing that throughout college. Jen and Haley sang together a lot in high school and Haley would always bring up how the three of us would sound amazing together.
HJR: It wasn’t until a friend’s backyard party that we all met – it was an open jam, so we spontaneously tried a song together. The only people who heard us were the host and some very cool moms, but we spent two years saying “we gotta do that again!” Then finally wrote our first song together last year.
“Sorry” is a great summer song that blends pop, folk, and even some soul. Can you take me through the writing process?
AD: The arrangement, like most of our songs, became a collaborative effort. Jen would tell us where she wanted some added harmonies or builds, and the three of us worked together to sort out who sang what vocal part. We love using our vocals as the core of our music, and “Sorry” definitely showcases that.
What was the recording process like?
JF: Super fun! At first we had no idea what we wanted to do with it instrumentally, production-wise, etc. Jack Hoffman [the song’s producer] is a genius. He suggested several helpful directions for where we could go with this song, and he patiently listened to all three of us chirp away about things we possibly wanted to add.
AD: WE LOVE JACK. Recording is a lot of fun for us because we are building almost an entirely new arrangement. We have the opportunity to create a full band sound even though it’s just three of us.
HJR: We have such fun experimenting with different instrumentations – and I think the fun we have in the studio comes through in the record. We play a lot, but once that first instrument is down, the rest falls into place so easily. I think for this track it was once we heard that sliding bass groove in the chorus we were like, “oh, that’s the song!” We came in clueless at 10am, and left at 5pm with the entire track recorded.
How does “Sorry” fit in with the rest of the EP?
HJR: I think “Sorry” is a great representation of who we are and the EP. There’s something so unapologetically woman about this collection of songs. Musically or lyrically, there’s no hiding that we’re three girls, other than our cheeky band-name I suppose.
AD: We’ve got two very folksy songs and two very pop songs and “Sorry” is kind of the perfect blend of both genres. Vocally, the arrangement is very folk, but with the instrumentation you hear how we are definitely not 100% folk music.
HJR: One of the opening lyrics of the EP is “I like to think myself a modern day, female crusader”, and I think that’s exactly what these songs are – a crusade through life, even if we might still be navigating our way through. Each song approaches self-discovery, heartbreak, and building yourself back up, with a bold sense of confidence and strength. There’s no self-doubt in these stories… just “this is the way it is and I can handle this.”
JF: When Haley pointed out that she loved the “modern day female crusader” line, my first thought was, “Oh…I wrote that!”, followed by: “This kind of represents us!”
HJR: I am woman, hear me roar, ya know?
How does your recorded music translate to live performance?
HJR: Most live shows, it’s just us and a guitar. That’s how we write and rehearse, and we love letting just our three voices in harmony fill up a room. But, my god, playing with a full band is so much fun.
JF: I think all three of us wish we could play with a full band more often, however it’s not always possible. We still enjoy filling up a small space with our voices and a tiny guitar.
AD: It’s up to us as vocalists to sell our music. Which is good, because that’s how we write our music anyway.
HJR: Ana and Jen are both talented piano players though, so we’ve been working that into our solo… trio?… sets too!
What’s your favorite song to perform live?
AD: I love singing “Still”. It’s Haley on lead the entire time, but I love jumping around on vocals from the low notes to up high. It’s just fun for me to play with my voice that way.
HJR: I love playing “Up From the Mud” because it’s cathartic and personal to me. But I also get really excited to play “Think Things Through” because Ana and I play some unconventional instruments that make the audience laugh and enjoy themselves.
JF: I always have fun playing “Think Things Through” because there are so many musical surprises, it typically gets a laugh out of people who have never seen us play it before.
What’s the one thing you hope people take away from Begin?
HJR: It’s really cool to have agency over your feelings. It’s cool to own your flaws and even more so, your strengths. Self-advocacy is so important… and did I mention cool?
Begin is out July 28th. Peep the tracklist below.
- Think Things Through
- King Lear
- Sorry (High & Dry)
- Up From The Mud