Boyscott has been a band on my radar for the past several years– their album Goose Bumps features songs that invoke a feeling of being in a place like the image on the album cover: playful, light, and hazy sounding. Their sound reminds me of a beach or road-tripping on a sunny day. The most popular tracks on the album are “Novia Scotia 500” and “Marco Polo” (if you haven’t heard them before, listen here.) But for the past four years, no new music and little news of the band has been found online. When I walked into a Vundabar concert that Boyscott was opening for, little did I know that I’d get to chat with Scott Hermo, Boyscott’s lead singer, about what they’ve been up to.
Surf rock, echo chamber pop, metamorphic rock — it’s hard to capture Boyscott’s sound with just one genre. Their music features mellow, atmospheric beats with chill tempos and soft electric guitar. Goose Bumps, released in 2015, is the only album they currently have out, but Scott Hermo shared with me that they’ve been working on a new one that will hopefully come out in early summer of 2020.
The show they opened for took place in this old, retro theater where the top seating section had been transformed into a concert hall. After the set, I walked down the faded red-carpeted stairs to what was once the concessions area, where I found the band members hanging out and signing merch. They were more than happy to talk to me about what they have been working on. I was struck by how humble and nonchalant the band was — at the end of the interview Hermo even thanked me “for letting [him] talk about [him]self.”
The band (or “project” as Hermo calls it) first started when Scott Hermo and Emma Willer met as film students studying in Nashville. Like most of us who go into college thinking we want to do one thing and end up doing another, neither of them went to college knowing they wanted to pursue music. Once they started playing together, they both found that they “really liked doing music, so then [they] just focused on that.” Hermo also mentioned that he and Willer have recently moved to Connecticut together to focus more on finishing the album and making more music.
As Hermo said of the band: “We just did it for fun, and just, like, kept doing it!“ But as casual as he makes it sound, after releasing their first and only album, the band has over 4 million streams on Spotify and is touring with bands like Vundabar and Pine Grove in big venues.
So how did this band that started as a fun pastime activity become as successful as it has?
Hermo replied that they’ve “just been playing shows since [they] began and playing out-of-town shows, as well as getting [their] music up all over the internet.” The ability to share music online and reach whole new audiences has definitely been a game changer for Boyscott, as it has been for all bands starting up in the 21st century.
Hermo speculated that their success could also be a result of the fact that they weren’t playing to make money or for any reasons other than that they enjoyed it. In contrast to their peers in Nashville who took it more seriously and were more business driven, when it came to Boyscott, Hermo exclaims that “it didn’t matter, we were just doing it for fun!”
Since their first album, the band has taken on over twenty different members throughout the four years, but they usually stay at around four or five members total. Some of the musicians have been their friends who had their own bands to get back to, but also, as Hermo said, “it’s tough finding people that are willing to go on the road and that understand what we’re going for.” But, overall, he said that the changing roster of band members has been a valuable experience because “you just grow by playing with different people.”
Since their first album release in 2015, this shift from playing basement shows to touring with other bands in large theaters has helped their sound to grow. Hermo said that he has learned a lot from “playing with a live band and learning how to play to a room — just from seeing other bands, even seeing Vundabar… I was just like ‘holy shit’ at all that you can do with a song.” Their second album will also be an evolution in their sound with their new production resources. Hermo recorded their first album almost entirely himself, before they even had a real band: “We had our buddy on the drums do all of the drum parts — I wrote them, but he just added some stuff.”
When I asked about what to expect in the upcoming album, Hermo laughed: “I’ve been working on it for so long that I don’t even know if it’s good or bad or what it even sounds like.” The most I could gather is that we should be ready for more percussion, and that he hopes it’s similar to the sounds of their last album, but no promises were made.
Watch out for the new album to be released by spring or early summer! Boyscott is undeniably a band to keep your eye on — if their growing popularity after their first album is any indication, I predict they are going to blow up in the coming years. You can listen to Boyscott’s current music here.