Boytoy and the Summer-Time Strut
Boytoy have been labelled as a “summer-time strut down a New York City sidewalk”, which is somewhat the most accurate description of the Brooklyn four-piece’s sound. Recently released, Boytoy’s LP Night Leaf is as breezy as it is serious, it’s a polished yet still garage sound that can turn heads and tap toes. My first introduction to Night Leaf was shortly prior to it’s release where it became the soundtrack for a European tour I was on. The band, made up of Saara Untracht-Oakner, Glenn Michael Van Dyke and Chase Noella, have become more established over the years, with releases on Burger Records and now Bristol’s Stolen Body, they are making their mark on the scene.
Night Leaf is a record that has perfected a sound that can bring the sun out no matter what the weather. The band headed to the other side of the States to the renowned Pump House Studios to work with Kyle Mullarky, best known for his extensive work with The Growlers and Allah-Las. Despite being a New York band, the record has a Californian touch. “We spent the a winter avoiding New York winter by going to L.A,” Saara tells. “Brooks [Nielsen] from The Growlers had told me about his friend Kyle so when we went back to avoid another New York winter we thought we’d go and record with Kyle in Topanga Canyon.” Glenn had spent her summer in Los Angeles and went to visit the studio. After hanging out with Kyle they came to the mutual desire to work with each other. “He was awesome,” Glenn says. “It was so chill, there’s nothing precious about it. We had some fun with it, reworked songs and they sound so different from the demos.” Saara adds, “He had really good input and acted really well as a producer.” Kyle’s creative input really added a new touch to Boytoy’s sound, Chase recalls the ban on fuzz pedals in the studio as any fuzz on the record was created through using just the amps. This is reflective of Mullarky’s distinctive style which can be heard on records such as Not. Psych! by The Growlers and Calico Review by Allah-Las.
The band were conquering the UK and Europe of the release of the record and nearing the end of a month around the continent. “Europe has been so cool,” Saara admits. It doesn’t seem to be a world of difference for Boytoy between touring the United States and touring Europe, but Glenn does admit that it can be hard at times feeling cut off from home. “It’s kind of nice though, you just put on your away message and it’s a little bit liberating,” she says. In the United States a real perk of touring for the band is smaller towns. Most of the times the smaller towns are added on a tour to break up long drives, but there’s an enjoyable quality about them. “Small towns are awesome,” Chase says and Glenn admits. “Yeah small towns in the US rule,” Glenn adds. “The whole town shows up and it’s really fun!” Being on the road can take it’s toll at times, Glenn tells that a few days they’ve been running on just four hours sleep and they are quite keen for a morning coffee. Whilst touring in the US Chase realised that you know a drive is rough when you get excited over the prospect of seeing a Subway sign, the rest of the band laugh in agreement.
The relationship between Boytoy and their UK label Stolen Body came in quite an organic way. Saara was recommended the label when they wanted to re-release a previous record, but when it didn’t work they kept in touch and it worked out when Boytoy came round to releasing Night Leaf. “I kept sending him [Alex Studer, Stolen Body] our music,” Saara tells. “He really liked it so here we are.”
Night Leaf, despite it’s summer-y sound and easy listening quality, feels like a real mature and well crafted release from Boytoy. It certainly sounds as though the band have found a style that sits with them, a record that gives them freedom to explore further. An example, on record most songs have a dry tone to them, but live the band really pick up the energy and fuzz to create a totally different experience, yet one that still matches Boytoy’s aesthetic. They’re certainly a band to keep an eye on.
Boytoy’s Night Leaf LP is being repressed by Stolen Body Records. You can pre order it here.