Boy Band isn’t your typical boy band, in fact, they aren’t a boy band at all. The trio consists of Ana Dratz, Jen Fischer, and HaleyJane Rose; this all-female folk pop band from New York City captivates listeners with their catchy choruses and beautiful harmonies that could easily fill a stadium some day. I had the opportunity to ask the group some questions to find out more about this female powerhouse trio emerging from the city that has delivered some of the world’s best musical artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The story of how they got their start honestly reminds me of something you’d see in a movie. In 2014, the three spontaneously played a cover of “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” at a mutual friend’s backyard party; two years later, they got together and wrote their first two songs, according to Rose. When Rose and Dratz were in college, they always used to joke about calling themselves “Big Burly Men”. They wanted a name that would make people laugh when they saw three women get on stage and settled on the name “Boy Band” (I can attest that it is effective, it definitely caught my eye and made me chuckle when I saw a picture of three women with the name “Boy Band”). Dratz says she loves the reactions they get when they say who they are.
I think that our very different personal musical influences is what makes us work so well as a group. We each bring a unique perspective to a song. -HaleyJane Rose
I think what makes Boy Band’s music so unique and able to fit nearly any category you decide to throw them into is the fact that their influences are all over the map, and each musician has different strengths they bring to the group. From what I’ve been told by the group, they rely heavily on each other for collaboration during the songwriting process since every member excels in different styles and areas of songwriting. Rose tells me that one of the members will bring a song they wrote, or need help finishing, and then the rest of the group will jump in to collaborate on the arrangement. Fischer’s signatures are the melodies and chord structures and Dratz is the “MVP of figuring out harmonies, often jumping from the lowest of low harmonies to the highest line possible within the same breath”, according to Rose. Fischer adds that whoever writes the song handles the melody and once the song is finished, they decide who takes the high and low harmonies (once again, Fischer states that Dratz tends to handle the jumps from the lowest to highest harmonies to give Haley and her “some peace of mind”). Dratz states that when the songwriting process begins, sometimes they know exactly what they want the end product to look like but sometimes it’s “‘I know I want something here, but I’m not sure what yet’”; this is her favorite because she gets to play around with the melodies and sound crazy before something emerges that’s close to the final product they’re looking for. Their songwriting process is one of the most collaborative I’ve seen, and once again, the way they write their music allows each of their unique strengths to come together to produce outstanding music lyrically and musically. Each member pulls influence from different artists and genres which adds another layer of uniqueness onto their music. Fischer states that collectively, they are influenced by other female lead pop/rock/folk bands such as the band Joseph and the Staves, but personally, she is heavily influenced by modern and classic rock. Dratz expressed that she loves Mree right now because of the “ethereal quality to her music” and the fact that she writes and produces everything herself. Rose said that Jason Mraz lyricism is the reason she writes songs, adding that English rock, hyper-pop, and outlaw country artists seem to make their way into her inspiration at times. I think Rose put it perfectly when she told me that “[their] very different personal musical influences is what makes us work so well as a group. [They] each bring a unique perspective to a song”.
In New York, if you have something to share, there’s an opportunity waiting for you. -HaleyJane Rose
Coming from New York City, there are a lot of legends that they have to “live up” to, so I was curious as to how being so close to the heart of the music industry influences them. Rose tells me that, “In New York, if you have something to share, there’s an opportunity waiting for you. We’ve played alongside punk bands at DIY venues, we’ve gotten paid to play covers in a subway station, sang on the same bill as a Broadway actress, and gotten fans by people wandering into small venues”. Eventually, they said they’d love to tour (Dratz would love to go to Hong Kong someday because that’s where she’s from), but for now, New York City and the northeast in general, seems to be working for them while they work on producing their first full-length album. They frequent Rockwood Music Hall and Pianos, but you can catch them on November 19th, opening for Ali Barter at Mercury Lounge. Boy Band often introduces some of their new music at shows, so who knows, you might end up getting a sneak peak of what they’re working on right now, which they “promise will be really good when it’s finished!”
Tickets for their show with Ali Barter: https://www.ticketfly.com/event/1873251-ali-barter-new-york/