Boys Night Out: champions of honesty

Hard-edged music in today’s current climate is no longer a purist’s playground. For many bands, becoming disassociated from a genre and pinning creative objectives to the catch-phrase “defying genre” seems more of a fashion statement than a legitimate form of musical expression and experimentation. Many bands are rising through the ranks in the hope that their ability to burn the boundaries of punk, hardcore, or even metal will score them a ticket to mainstream stardom. Underground bands therefore struggle to construct honest, ground-breaking art for the purpose of delivering something innovative and challenging to its audience. Yet, one such band has been at the forefront of innovation long before buzz words like screamo were ever conceived. Enter Boys Night Out.

Since the band’s beginnings in Ontario Canada in 2001, Boys Night Out have garnered a reputation for combining honest melodies with riff-fuelled abrasion and rock –  “n roll smarts. What has separated the band from the masses is Boys Night Out’s ongoing mission to be true to themselves and satisfy themselves from a creative standpoint, rather than being a mere cast of thousands. “It means that you can’t be afraid to have a voice,” vocalist Connor Lovat-Fraser confirms. “The music industry becomes more and more of a joke as the years roll by and now it’s scrambling to control what’s completely out of its hands. So many bands are easily swayed by what they think they have to do in order to become the next super-ultra-mega-band that they forget about writing songs for the simple love of song-writing. We pride ourselves on making honest music that we love. If people can connect with it, that’s totally gnarly, but if they don’t dig it, that’s also cool. We’ll keep writing, regardless of public opinion or industry standards.”

Fans of Boys Night Out can relate to this immediately. Back-stepping through the band’s discography, you can pinpoint many moments where Boys Night Out are ever-evolving intrinsically. From the hook-riddled and upbeat melodics found in Make Yourself Sick (2003) to the haunting, crashing impetus of Trainwreck (2005), Boys Night Out aren’t out there with a mission to prove anything. Rather, Boys Night Out are solely reliant on making music that speaks the band’s artistic language; a motivator that ensures Boys Night Out are at the forefront of artistic integrity. The band’s latest self-titled album draws more on power pop aesthetics in order to represent the band’s current head-space. “We were really just trying to say: –  “Here we are and these are the songs that we like to write.’ Musically, we tried to incorporate as many of our influences as possible while still writing tunes that were very much –  “BNO songs’. Lyrically, the songs are all about us (as individuals and as a band) and whatever we had been thinking about lately.”

However, for some of the band’s nay-sayers, Boys Night Out has been a vehicle for criticism. There have been suggestions in the international media that Boys Night Out have taken a step back in the creative stakes or have even sold out. “There were a lot of people who were expecting another album along the lines of our last release Trainwreck, which was a concept album. We just wanted to make something that could be listened to on a song-by-song basis, and I think that the self-titled album has some of our most creative work to date.” So how does Boys Night Out retain a progressive outlook? “Is it even possible not to have a progressive outlook? I hope there are no bands that are looking to regress when they write a new record.”

Progression is one thing and to ensure that music is constantly evolving there is – obviously – a requisite for experimentation. Maybe the future for music is a genre-less one, given the exponential increase in bands blurring boundaries for artistic intent. “I think that the boundaries between genres are being blurred because music, at its very core, isn’t about fitting into a specific genre. There’s so much music out there that it only makes sense that musicians would create something that’s influenced by everything around them.” If music is to exist without a focus on genre, then you’d think there is still a need for acceptable levels of historic values. Genres like punk and hardcore, in the pure sense, have established ideals around foundations of truth, opinion and individuality. How can music, generally, regain some of these ideals which are sometimes forgotten in today’s elevated acceptance of underground or extreme music? “The only way that punk and hardcore (on the whole) could possibly regain its honesty would be if the kids who are starting bands stopped thinking that music is only worth playing if you have a rider and you’re selling millions of records. What attracted me to punk and hardcore was the fact that the people playing it didn’t give a flying f—k if they were going to be all over MTV or the radio. Hopefully there are some young punk rock or hardcore bands that are playing for passion instead of prestige.”

The future of music is uncertain. Yet, Boys Night Out are focussed on what they have yet to achieve. “There is a whole hell of a lot that we have yet to achieve sonically. Maybe the next record will be a country album. Who knows? We all just love playing, writing and listening to music. We want nothing more than to continue playing music until our bodies jut won’t let us any more.” Once the band’s Aussie tour wraps up, Boys Night Out are adamant that another album is in the pipeline. “We’re probably going to focus on writing a new album and then keep on touring until we can tour no more.”