When I connect to my zoom call with BOY SODA, it feels like I’m catching up with an old friend. His glowing smile and genuinely caring attitude puts me at ease. Relaxing next to a massive window with some incense lit, the afternoon Sydney sun floods the room aiding to his already radiant sense of confidence. Allow us to introduce you to BOY SODA, a name you’ll want to remember.
BOY SODA has been on the rise since 2019, being picked by Converse to venture over to LA where he opened for Dominic Fike at a Converse & Camp Flog Gnaw event, leaving him pouring with ambition and a new found confidence. Since then, BOY SODA has been sitting comfortably at the front of the line, leading the pack as he beckons in an electrifying new wave of RnB and hip-hop in Australia - and the perfect song to accompany this movement? His latest single, ‘WELCOME TO THE GLOW UP’
The fluorescently energetic single is his stamp on the scene, exploring deeper into his own unique sound and ushering others to follow suit. “I think it will be very hard for people not to fall in love with the music that is gonna come out – plus everything that it stands for.” he says to me, with incense elegantly smoking in the background. For him, the music stands for fellow young creatives following their passions and finding liberation in doing so, enjoying the process on the way as they prance through their own journey. “I know what’s waiting in the future for an RnB scene in Australia, it’ll get to the point where you can't miss it. I’m not rushing the process” he tells me, confidently.
We sat down with the rising star as he steadily builds up hype for his highly anticipated debut EP. There is no doubt BOY SODA is here to stay, and will be making waves every single step of the way.
"Young creative people following their passions in the most vivacious way, being able to be a part of that as well and being okay with the fact that Australia hasn't completely turned to look at it is fine, I’m okay with being patient and doing foundation work."
When did you start writing your own music?
My earliest memory is being like six years old and wanting to write a song with my dad. He played the guitar, and I had no idea what to do… so I wrote something about going down to a river, and it was like this fantasy Deltora Quest inspired kind of world. I never really revisited it, I was just a consumer enjoying the music, I was very passive in that sense of singing, but never had a sense of creating my own yet. I guess I really started in year 10. I joined this song writing group and every Tuesday, me and 10 other kids around my age would meet and my mentors would break us up into groups with specific tasks, writing a song like this, or writing a song following this structure; so I've learnt all of my fundamentals about writing songs and about structure and rhyme schemes. I went there for 3 or 4 years and every Tuesday ended up getting a key to the studio, and being there after hours. Most of the bad songs came out in that studio thank god, but yeah, around year 10 just started to explore the process, and now I’m in a position where I have learnt those fundamentals and I’m having a lot of fucking fun breaking them, you know breaking the rules and just doing what I think sounds cool or feels cool.
What kind of music did you grow up around?
A lot of soul, and maybe folk inspired stuff initially from my parents. A lot of Motown records, easy going stuff like Nora Jones, Marvin Gay, and a little bit of Prince, just random stuff. I never had an artist as a kid that I was like ‘Yeah my favourite’. You know, maybe Michael Jackson at the time, because we had these concerts on VCR and I just thought that the drums were electric as fuck. But, it really flipped when I was early-mid teens when my cousin started showing me RnB and hip-hop music, and I have a vivid memory of seeing a 50 Cent video on MTV or something and hating it when I was really young, and then seeing hip-hop, rap, and RnB as a 13 or 14 year old and really loving and understanding it. I used to sing James Blunt, and James Morrison as a kid, and then just flipped and was like oh I fucking love drums, don’t I. so that was kind of what flipped it.
Do you remember the first song that you had a connection with?
There were songs I loved to sing as a kid obviously, but I have a very specific memory of hearing ‘Something Special’ by Usher off that ‘Here and Now’ album. It's just him with the guitar, so soulful and the melodic choices that he made in that - that was the first song where I really remember feeling in a very tactile way. I was thinking this song is beautiful and I want to sing it. I loved the melodies and it felt like everything just flowed into each other, like a super cohesive 3 minute chunk. I was so fascinated by it and just had this fuzzy feeling in my chest. I guess it got to the point where I wanted to create the warm fuzzy feeling, you know? I don’t know if I’ve done it necessarily yet, or if other people have felt it and I haven’t felt it, but I’m in the pursuit of the warm fuzzy feeling.
So, you got picked to open for Dominic Fike at a Flog Gnaw event?
Yeah, it was bonkers, it still doesn’t feel real when you say it, but I was lucky enough to be apart of the Converse All Stars group, and got flown over to LA in November 2019, and was there with like 50 other kids from different countries around the world, and we just had a week together. I didn’t know it was Dominic Fike until 2 days before... they were just like ‘we want you to open for this Flog Gnaw party, bring your set and everything you need’. I was like dope, and then 2 days before they were like ‘oh by the way, its Dominic Fike’ and I was like oh cool, so fine, I’m just going to go shit myself and then not come out of the bathroom, thank you. It was so surreal man, and also a very validating experience. You know, I was very early in releasing music, and I’m still definitely finding what BOY SODA, not that I’m not still discovering what my music looks or sounds like, but was definitely further away from it at that point, and I have this beautiful memory of walking into the venue and there was absolutely no noise, it was just Dominic on stage sound checking and not having anyone talk, not having any drinks being made, just being able to hear his guitar completely fill this room was so surreal. I was also just so aware of how good he was, and how comfortable he was - it was very inspiring, I was very honoured to be there as well and to be put in that position.
I’m guessing there was a spark from that moment?
Yes, but it was also…I suck at stopping and smelling the roses in a sense, so congratulating myself and letting myself feel the gravity of positive thinking. I’m always like what’s next? Is everything fitting in context? Releasing a song and thinking how that’s gonna fit into the next five songs, or the album, how does it contribute to my overall story as an artist because I forget that people don’t know everything about me, they’re just following so what do I need to give them? I overthink that shit a lot, but I was really happy in LA to be able to enjoy myself, and be proud of myself and to be okay with the fact that this is just the beginning and do not take this for granted. I also did not want to get Converse to pay for everything, I felt very pampered and very privileged in that sense. The whole time I was there I said to myself, don’t get used to this, don’t get used to the fact that you’re in your own room, that there were all these parties and you’re getting free shoes. It was amazing and I never want to let myself get to the position where the weight of those things are lost on me. I don’t want to be complacent, or rude, condescending ever. I think letting myself get used to that shit is what invites being complacent in other areas. It was very inspiring to be there, I came back with a whole new drive. Even just the energy of the way people work, and how ferocious they follow their dreams in LA, you could feel that in the wind in LA. Coming back to Australia with that felt like I had a speed boost or something. Super invigorating in that sense.
"I think it will be very hard for people not to fall in love with the music that is gonna come out"
Congrats on the release of ‘WELCOME TO THE GLOW UP’
Thank you so much man. I’m just really happy to have something electric and high energy out. A lot of music that maybe leans to the more hip hop side of it, especially some more sonically aggressive up-tempo shit, it’s nice to start getting a taste of that.
You mentioned just before that you’ve sort of built these foundations and now you’re starting to break them down and not stick to the rules. What’s so fun about that?
There is literally no wrong answer, so I’m just gonna do what I want. I can't release a song and people be like ‘Yo, you did this wrong’. It's subjective and I'm always going to like the songs I’m putting out and that is good enough for me. I create an art for myself, or the process for creating the art is for myself, and releasing it is for other people. So I'm very aware of how I compartmentalise that.
So, you’ve been working on a debut EP?
Yeah man, it’s been a process and that’s the part I love about it most is the study of self that happens intrinsically as you’re making the music. You look at yourself from different angles and from other people’s perspectives, I like to be very self-aware of my music as well. Sometimes I’m too self-aware when I’m writing it, and then I'm self-aware of the fact that I’m not aware enough of certain things, or I haven’t said enough or communicated the right things for the song to hold itself in the way I intended in my brain. So it has been really interesting chasing those feelings in each song. I wasn’t starting with a concept originally in mind, and now there is a very clear concept for it and watching it all begin to marry itself, songs that were made months and months apart with different people - the fact they are starting to interlock and live in the same world is really cool So, that has definitely made the process more fun and brings a new life into it as well.
You sound like you stay very true to yourself and have fun as well, so I’m sure that the project will be extremely fun.
Yeah, thank you! I'm excited. In my personal opinion, Australia doesn’t completely understand the new wave of RnB that’s bubbling below the surface and that’s okay because I’ve heard my stuff, and I hear the things friends are making around me. I think it will be very hard for people not to fall in love with the music that is gonna come out – plus everything that it stands for. Young creative people following their passions in the most vivacious way, being able to be a part of that as well and being okay with the fact that Australia hasn't completely turned to look at it is fine, I’m okay with being patient and doing foundation work. I know what’s waiting in the future for an RnB scene in Australia, it’ll get to the point where you can't miss it. I’m not rushing the process.
I wanted to do a quick fire round of questions to tease the EP a little…
What flavour is the EP?
It’s like uhhh... a warhead followed by a coffee bean. Explosive and then your palette gets cleansed, that's how I describe it.
What kind of texture is it?
Moss green carpet… you know those teddy bear hoodies people have? The really fluffy ones? It’s like that! A little bit rough, but on the inside it is a cocoon. I hope this project pokes a lot of people in the right uncomfortable places, and it asks the right questions and encourages the right questions out of people, but also it’s a six-song project that says I’m human as fuck, and nothing I’m going through is particularly special, and its not heroic of me to talk about that, it’s just shit I needed to get off my chest, and I think if you listen to it you'll realise some of the things you put too much pressure on yourself for feeling are completely normal. Everyone feels the full spectrum of human emotions, and it’s a reminder to ourselves that we don't have to be happy all the time, when we aren't happy there isn't something wrong, you’re just experiencing another part of the emotional spectrum.
What kind of drink would the EP be?
Fireball and apple juice! Sweet but it has a bit of a kick.
What colour hair dye? I’ll say you can pick two colours…
Hmm… I want to say brown and cream… like a bark brown and a nice off-white beige colour. I change my hair colour when I’m bored, so if the EP says anything about me it would change every 2 weeks.
If the EP was an accessory, what would it be?
A giant emerald ring. A big beaming emerald city.
Have a listen to BOY SODA's recent single, 'WELCOME TO THE GLOW UP'