The following interview with BOY took place during SXSW in 2013. I was on assignment for the magazine (with Janelle Sorenson) but due to editorial constraints, the lion’s share of the material we captured (many great bands) was not used in the final article.
At that time, Steiner and Glass had already begun writing the songs that would appear on We Are Here and discussed the process in detail. We also had the opportunity to hear “Into the Wild” live at Peckerheads on 6th Street as part of the Baeble Music Showcase and fell in love with the song.
Slow and Steady | The Songwriting Secrets of BOY
Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass of the Hamburg-based duo BOY first met in 2007 at a musical workshop where the two hit it off professionally. They soon began writing together and their debut album Mutual Friends with its international hit “Little Numbers” arrived four years later.
“Since nobody was waiting for the [first] album, we took as much time as we needed to find out how we want to write, or how it works to write,” says Glass. “We had enough time to form a vision in our heads about what we would do musically so it was two and a half years of writing, playing live, and going to the studio to record.”
Doing What Works
With the second album, We Were Here, set to drop in September of 2015, it is clear that the two sought to repeat the winning formula.
“When we write, it is like a back and forth,” Steiner says. “Sonja does instrumentals at her home studio and sends them to me. I record a melody with lyrics that fit and then I send it back. So it goes back and forth via email for quite a long time until we really put a song together and then we go to the studio and record it properly.”
Writing music takes time, and in some cases the right space to really bring out the creativity.
“I need to have a very quiet place, actually,” Glass says. “No music, nothing at all, to start a new idea.”
When asked about what inspires them, the two cast a wide net.
“For me, for the lyrics, I think it’s very much taken from my life or the things I observe with my friends, or just people around me,” says Steiner. “It can also be books or movies or artists that I like. I think inspiration can be everywhere, so you just have to catch it.”
“I’m inspired by my whole life and by the music I listen to, and the sounds I like,” agrees Glass.
The new album, We Were Here will be available to American audiences September 18, over two years in the making – a point not lost on the band.
“We started writing new songs in January or February ,” says Glass. “We are very slow writers, really slow. It’s too early to tell what it’s about or where it’s going to be.”
About the Author
Melany Joy Beck is a writer, musician, and award-winning independent filmmaker. Her Kickstarter project, Bring It 2 Peter (co-produced with Janelle Sorenson) was selected Special Jury Prize at the Nevada Film Festival 2011, Best Documentary at the Central Wisconsin Film Festival 2011, and Official Selection at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival 2012.