Emo rock / post-hardcore veterans from BOYS NIGHT OUT have recently announced their new EP Black Dogs and will release the new highly aanticipated effort on July 8th via IDIOTEQ friend label Good Fight Music! We caught up with the band’s vocalist Connor Lovat-Fraser to discuss how they retained the sensibility and creativity of a solid edgy rock band, Connor’s relationship with the band and their quest to reflect some important issues in music.
BOYS NIGHT OUT released three full lengths on Ferret Music and three EPs in early and mid ’00s. The new EP Black Dogs (Good Fight Music) is “a metaphor for pain, addiction, depression” and “it follows a concept that those negative aspects of the psyche are separate from the individual, and are carried around as an external being or unwanted friend– a black dog.”
Hey guys! Thanks so much for taking some time with IDIOTEQ! How are you? How does it feel to be back, moving ahead again?
Thanks for getting in touch, man. It’s a very bizarre feeling to be making music as BNO again. Certainly positive, but definitely strange. It all feels almost new again.
How did you come to decide to revive the idea of BOYS NIGHT OUT and make the return actually happen?
This is going to sound lame as all hell, but the songs themselves sort of guided the decision to revive the idea of BNO. I assure you that I make that statement with zero spiritual value assigned to it. When we had initially started working in the songs that would ultimately become “Black Dogs,” there was an idea that we would be creating a new band. As said songs took shape, they sounded like “BOYS NIGHT OUT” songs, and it was at that point when we realized that if we tried to force ourselves to move forward under any other name it would be a little ridiculous…even ignorant.
The cliché is to end an interview with a question like that, so I thought we could start with that :) What are your goals in this new era for the band? What are you willing to achieve with the project? Is this new EP a forerunner to your another full length record?
The only concrete goal at this stage in the game is to release an album of songs that we as a group are truly passionate about. We’re certainly willing to accept whatever may come from our decision to put out new music, but there is no forthcoming full length record as of right now. That isn’t to say that it isn’t something we would be interested in – the plan/desire to write more new songs is on the table – but we’re more focused on enjoyed this effort for the time being.
You explained the title of the EP indicating the negative conditions and disorders that are separate from the individual. What inspired you to touch on this topic? Did you use real people and experiences in your stories?
It’s a subject that we know a lot about. I know very few people whom have lived a life free from demons. Lyrically, Jeff and I have always pulled from our own life experiences…so, yes, we absolutely use real people when writing or telling stories. We are them.
Do you feel like there’s a right way for the listeners to understand your lyrics? What would you like us to take from these lines?
No dice. Personally, I don’t feel as if there’s ever a right way to listen to or understand a piece of music. Now, if one were to use music (be it ours or anyone else’s) as an excuse to do harm…I would categorize that as a “wrong” way to draw from the lyrics…but I would never want to impose any sort of strictures or guidelines as to how one is supposed to interpret a lyric.
Apart from performing them live, do you ever go back to your lyrics and try to contemplate them, think about their meaning, just like you would read a book or a poem?
I have – many times – revisited our older songs. Never in those moments have I felt compelled to contemplate their meaning, however. Fortunately – or perhaps unfortunately? – I will always know exactly where I was when they were written. I actually really enjoy this question…even as I respond to it, I’m wondering if I COULD listen in a way which would afford me the possibility of listening with fresh ears. A foray into ayahuasca or DMT, maybe? This could take a dark turn.
Considering the recent break for BOYS NIGHT OUT, how would you describe your evolution as artists? How old were you when you paused BOYS NIGHT OUT and how old are you now? :)
Nine years is a long time. I was 28 when we opted to step back from the band and I’ll be celebrating my 37th birthday at the end of June. The intervening years saw a great number of personal highs and lows. I spent some time as a human guinea pig in clinical drug trials. I became an uncle for the first AND second times. I met and married my wife, Katie. I saw the birth of my daughter, Marlowe Iris Moon. How that translates into artistic evolution would be an essay in and of itself. I suppose that the short(ish) answer would be that everything I do musically pulls in some way from every event and decision which has presented itself. I ramble.
How did you understand that moment of the inevitable break-up 9 years ago? Just to sum it up, why did you guys part your ways?
I think that the nail in the coffin at that time was hammered hard when our van ate shit while driving out to our Canadian east coast tour dates. We ended up having to cancel those shows and it really sucked a lot of the fight out of our desire to keep going. My voice had been less and less reliable leading up to that moment and I had been having serious doubts regarding my ability to continue singing for the band. I can’t recall everything which went into our decision to ultimately walk away, but those things were certainly instrumental – personally speaking – in making what was ultimately a very difficult choice.
Almost 10 years after your break-up, how do you feel about the independent rock industry right now? Also, how do you envision yourself earning a kind of a new spot in the scene you left in 2007?
I don’t have a ton of love for the industry as a whole, but I do hold a deep respect for anyone who can create something and stand behind it with everything they have. We had initially considered releasing these songs without ties to a label of any kind, but ultimately decided to work with Good Fight due to our long standing relationship with the gang who run it. We trust them and share many of the same core beliefs when it comes to what goes into creating and releasing music. There aren’t many with whom I would share that trust. How that will culminate in us “earning a kind of new spot in the scene” is yet to be determined, but I’m really very excited just to have people listen to the songs.
Do you feel like there’s a pressure on you now?
I’ve always felt varying degrees of pressure when releasing something new, but this time, for the release of Black Dogs, I feel significantly less. That was something which was very important to all of us in the band when we decided to move forward with BNO. We were quite transparent from the very beginning in our lack of interest and ability to tour or play live in support of this album. We were driven more to simply make new music and to allow that to stand on its own. I look forward to having a new album out there, but the pressures associated with past efforts just aren’t present this time around. I’m enjoying it immensely.
OK, so what are your plans for the rest of this year and beyond? Can we expect some European dates sometime soon?
Our plans for the rest of this year are really just to enjoy seeing all of the work that went into creating Black Dogs realized with its release. I wouldn’t expect any European dates necessarily, but that doesn’t mean it’s an impossibility…it’s just not what we’re focusing on at this point in time.
Thanks so much for your time and precious thoughts. Feel free to wrap it up with your final words and take care! Cheers from Warsaw!
Thank you and all who stuck with us through the years. I sincerely hope that you enjoy the new music and that it was worth the wait. We’re all really excited about this new album, and it feels incredible to be able to have it out there! Massive thanks to Carl Severson, Rick Barnhart, Curran Reynolds and all at Good Fight, Derek Hoffman at Fox Sounds, Jordan Gauthier at YC Drum Co, James Heaslip, Matt Lochner, Cody Finney, Matthew Hay, Lee Buckland, and everyone involved in making this record what it is. Cheers!