Interview with the charming indie music duo BOY

Photo credit: Johan Sandberg

Consisting of Swiss-German musicians Sonja Glass and Valeska Steiner, BOY have shared a beautifully dramatized video rendition of their single ‘FIT BACK IN’. The video featured the two singers and the Kaiser Quartet, which brings a cinematic flair to the original work. Making music together for the past several years, the duo have shared two breathtaking albums; Mutual Friends (2011) and We Were Here (2015). Mutual Friends has been certified Gold in Germany and also charted in the Top 10 lists in both Switzerland and Germany. Their live performance video of the song Little Numbers’ has also been viewed over 2 million times-nice. The world has so much beauty and so much destruction, BOY’s music is a warm hug for the weary traveller that has lost their way in life.

We chatted with delightful BOY singer-songwriter Sonja Glass below.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? 

Listening to classical music on the radio and pretending to be the conductor of the orchestra in my parents living room. Age five or so. 

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

 Mostly we start with a musical idea which is my part. Inspired by these musical moods Valeska starts to write the lyrics. And from there it goes back and forth like a ping pong game until the song is finished. But this is only the short version of the process because almost every song we create takes us weeks if not months to write and arrange. And we even had to make a few different versions of some songs before we thought they are done. 

What gets your creative juices flowing?

  To be honest I just watched the news about Kabul and it’s difficult for me to talk about music. What’s happening in Afghanistan right now fills my heart with sadness and I am horrified. Especially women and families who are in danger and I can’t imagine how frightening it must be to live in Afghanistan right now. How could this happen so fast? It’s so hard to believe that we can’t do anything about it. 

As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change? 

Why change the music scene. Why not change how this business works. For example, I think it would help if we all weren’t so afraid to fall behind by not following the rules of social media. We let it have so much power over us and the work we do. It’s really a twisted situation. Social media should serve us the people and not the other way around. Why does everything have to be about money and power? I know it sounds naive, but I really do think we have a choice. The way everything is connected makes us dependent on a system that isn’t very artist-friendly. And especially for people who are having a hard time being present all the time without having to say something, this game is really exhausting. And doesn’t that apply to almost everyone who is using it? And on the other end, the fans are getting flooded with uninspired messages a lot of the time. I don’t know. But secretly I hope this whole thing implodes one day. It’s just not healthy. 

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

 I prefer creating music since I am quite a shy person. Being on stage in front of so many people isn’t always the easiest thing for me to do. But at the moment it’s hard for me to justify the pleasure of making music. With everything going on in the world I kind of think: let us first make a plan on how we want to live in the future and take care of the really important things like climate change. And then go back and make art or whatever it is we want to do. Somehow it feels disconnected from reality to just go on like always. 

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

People crying in the audience – so touching. And real tattoos on arms that copy lines from songs of us like ‘all my love against your fear’.

Famous last words?

You can’t start a fire without a spark.

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