Interview + Premiere: Boston Marriage – “Idols”

Posted: by The Editor

Photo by Nia Garza

If there were ever a motivation to move forward, it’s in Boston Marriage’s latest single, “Idols.” The Orlando four-piece captured the mid-2000’s reminiscent track last year in Los Angeles with producer Blake Harnage with a challenge to put it together completely in the studio.

Boston Marriage joined the Alternative to share how they’re staying connected, mental illness, the timing of “Idols” in the current climate, their evolving songwriting style, and more.

Listen to “Idols” below:

The Alternative: How is everyone staying connected these days?

Melissa Pereira: We all chat in a Discord. We really want to game together, so we now having a Discord. But we haven’t been gamed yet.

Kris Lane: Let’s do it tonight.

Shane O’Brien: We’re already on Zoom! Besides texting and Discord, there’s not much we can do right now with our time. We’re usually talking about shows and stuff like that, but everything has changed recently.

One of the silver linings right now for me is you’ve got this new song out. How did “Idols” come together?

Kris Lane: We wrote that song a year, two years ago. It’s been a long time. We wrote it around the same time that we wrote “Know You Were.” We started recording it around then. We’ve been trying to get it out since then. So we’re really excited for it finally to be shared. I think we’re all really proud of this song.

Shane: Kris has had the idea, the guitar parts and the vocals, for a while. But when we went up to New York to record “Man Who Wasn’t There,” I’m pretty sure that’s when we started piecing together the song with drums. Then we met up with Blake, our producer, in L.A., and that’s when we finished it. That was probably a year ago. So we’ve been sitting on this song for quite sometime. To finally have it release, it’s like a weight lifted from everyone’s shoulders. It’s really indescribable to hold onto a piece of music when you want everyone to have it, but you can’t. I think everyone’s really relieved.

Kaylie Sang: Yeah, I’m really excited for you guys! I was still a fill-in about a year ago and when Kris showed me this song, I was like “This is my new favorite Boston Marriage song.” I’ve been wanting to play it live for the longest time, so I’m excited for you guys as well. It’s been a long time coming.

What made you decide now was the time to unleash “Idols” to us?

Melissa: I think we set this timeline before all of this craziness started happening, but I feel like it’s kind of an interesting way it has happened. It’s always hard to figure out the best timing to release a song because you have a lot of people telling you different things. We’ve just been sitting on it for a while and we just decided, “What’s the point of waiting on it anymore? Let’s get it out there.”

Shane: We probably uploaded the song and had the release date for like two months now. It really changes the way that we’re able to release it. It kind of feels good in a way that with there’s nothing to do and everyone’s stuck at home, so it’s really cool that we’re able to give something for people, something to look forward to. Something new, something to do. It’s nice that it works out and we didn’t push the date back because of this.

It is really nice in a moment like this. Every time an artist releases new music in this cycle, I feel a little reinvigorated and re-energized.

Melissa: Everything feels really stagnant, so I’m really excited for it to feel like something is happening.

What artists or music were you listening to as you wrote “Idols?” Do you feel like any influenced you?

Kris: I think when I started writing this song, actually, funny enough, I was listening to Fall Out Boy again, who was my favorite band in high school, both lyrically and melodically. I feel like there’s some influence of that, specifically, Folie à Deux, that influenced the song somewhat for me in my writing.

I can definitely hear that lyrically in this one. Parts of it reminded me of 2000s emo lyrics with that edgy, emo pop/goth references with imagery of jumping, enamel and skin peeling, and how vivid and dark it feels. It harkens back to Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance to me.

Kris: I’m glad that came through!

This song in particular has a movement-based sound that feels like sonically running, and my immediate reaction was a moving through hell with the “devil may care” at the beginning. Tell me more about the imagery and story you’re telling here.

Kris: Like a lot of our music, a lot of our lyrics, both me and Mel write about mental illness a lot. For me, this is about the feeling that your mental illness is overwhelming and maybe predestined. Like you can’t get out of that rut that you’re in every day and you fight to make it through. The main theme is just ultimately deciding that some things you can’t change, you just have to keep going, in case tomorrow is better. Because you don’t know and you do anything right now. So you might as well keep going.

Melissa: So I guess we’ll see.

It does really feel like a song for this moment too with everyone kind of living a collective trauma. More people can connect and empathize with struggles of mental illness and the idea of staying strong to power through experiences that are difficult.

Kris: It’s funny because we wrote this song so long ago but I feel like it coming out right now, it feels so topical. It feels still very relevant to the time.

Shane: That reminds me… I remember when Kris first showed us the song so long ago. What was going on the time was everything with Brand New and all of that stuff was happening. It just felt so connected in a way there, because so many people thought that’s my favorite band, then everything happened. It was like, “No, hold up, death to my idols.” I just remember that was what was happening when the first idea of this song began.

Kris: I totally remember that! That band had been such a big influence on us and then finding out all of the allegations, and then having to just disconnect from that.

That’s really powerful and important. A lot of people have struggled to come to terms with situations where assault allegations have come out. I don’t think enough people talk about it, especially through their own art. We talk about all the time about influences and who influences you, and to have the whole concept of killing idols, moving forward, and recognizing it as the past is crucial.

Sonically, this song’s music felt like pacing, running. How did you all approach taking the subjects that Kris presented lyrically to come up with that perfect sound to match it?

Melissa: I feel like usually we get a good idea of the way we want the dynamics of the song to build based on the lyrics and whatnot.

Kris: Usually when we write, it’s usually me or Mel, ‘cause Mel writes half of the lyrics as well. We bring lyrics, and usually a melody, chords, and structure. So everyone else can bring in their own instrument and build off of that.

Melissa: I feel like the observations you’ve been were subconsciously implemented. I agree with everything you’ve said.

Shane: With this song, it was kind of written in the same sense that “Know You Were” was, where we kind of just had an idea of what we wanted to do and kind of shaped it at the studio, compared to “Man Who Wasn’t There.” That was a song that we all rehearsed a bunch of times together, pieced it together, in a traditional band sense. This is like the second try of a new style of writing – kind of being at the studio and see what works, what doesn’t. Kind of like building it. I think that’s how we got the dynamics. I always think of it like really big in the chorus, and always getting bigger to where it starts off acoustic, then it builds to where it’s just huge, then kind of take it away, then build it back up.

You’re able to do these build ups while really capturing the mood that matches the lyrics and overall tone of everything. It’s so rich in that way.

Kris: Thank you!

Shane: Thank you!

Melissa: I feel like mood and emotion play a big part in the way that we want to make our songs sound.

What was it like for you to record “Idols”?

Kris: It was a lot of fun. I think that with “Know You Were,” that was the first song we recorded with Blake and our first time in a studio with a producer. So we were kind of nervous. Then “Man Who Wasn’t There” was a song that Mel had pre-written and we had practiced it a million times, so like Shane said, we could just record what we already had. So “Idols” was our first song that in the studio we felt really comfortable with and we could write organically. I think it shows. I think it’s some of our best work and I’m really proud of it. I think our experience was really fun and that’s what recording should be. Recording music with your friends should really be like that, be really fun.

Melissa: Yeah, I think we were less afraid to try new things. Less apprehension. So the writing just came out better and different.

Shane: It’s kind of scary going into the studio, not knowing what you’re going to do. But, I think with that approach, we’ve been able to try new things… I think, too, studios are typically an hourly situation. So when you’re not pressed for time, there’s more room to find tones, or let’s try that take again or do something different here. When you’re paying like $40, $50 an hour, you don’t really have that luxury to spend an hour working on tone for this 10 second part. I think that plays a good part.

Melissa: We spent a lot of time, since it was our producer’s studio, we had the luxury to spend as much time as needed on the tone of each part.

What for each of you is your favorite part of the song, “Idols”?

Melissa: For me, at the end, there’s a lead guitar part that finally kicks at one of the last choruses that’s higher, I love that part.

Shane: That’s the part I was thinking of, too.

Kris: Other than that part, I think my favorite part is the second chorus, where you can really hear Mel’s harmony come in. Then Shane comes in with the dance hall drumbeat. I think that is so fun and it really showcases everybody’s ability.

Kaylie: Yeah, when I first heard it, the harmonies really stuck out to me in the song as well. It’s like “Okay, I can definitely hear that it’s Boston Marriage, but it’s Boston Marriage 2.0.”

What is something you want your listeners to get out of “Idols”?

Melissa: It’s worth it to stick around for another day and see what happens.

Shane: Definitely.

Kris: That’s definitely the message we’re trying to get across. I think that’s the deeper level we want to get across. At the surface level, just enjoyment, in these times, like you said. I as well feel so happy to hear new releases in this time because everything feels so strange and foreign. Bands that I love releasing things and posting on the internet, interacting in that way… I just hope that people enjoy it.

What’s ahead for Boston Marriage?

Kris: We’ve definitely got more songs. We don’t have specific plans to release them but we’ve got a lot more material that we’re hoping to combine into either an EP or an LP, hopefully by the end of this year. But who knows when we’ll be able to get into a studio safely. Hopefully!

Shane: Hopefully a tour. Hopefully an EP. Music video.

Idols is now available across all streaming platforms.

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Amanda Starling | @starlingaj

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