Pages Navigation Menu

What I Learned at Bandcamp: Boys School

Boys School

Photo by Monica Orozco

Boys School is the creative project of LA-based musician Brett Farkas. Farkas has contributed to acts such as Aaron Embry‘s Amnion, legendary soul icon Solomon Burke, and more recently with folk rockers Lord Huron.

After years of touring and contributing to other musicians, Farkas decided it was time to step out on his own and Boys School was created. The project released its self-titled debut in June. The album is available for purchase and streaming on Bandcamp.

The Spec interviewed Farkas about his future plans with Boys School and the inspiration behind his project, read what he has to say below…

How long have you been making music?
I’ve been playing music for 22 years, starting out on violin. After two years of noisily scratching around on it and using it as a prop guitar to pantomime to Nirvana videos on MTV, I switched to guitar and have been playing in different capacities ever since.

Who/what are your influences?
Elvis Costello, Harry Nilsson, Abba, Motown, the Clash, Everly Brothers, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Weezer, Prince, Spoon, the Crystals, old Disney and MGM Soundtracks, Solomon Burke, Aaron Embry, Stax, the Specials, T Rex, Beatles, Patsy Cline, Iggy Pop, Feist, Serge Gainsbourg, Del Shannon, the Jam, Marc Ribot…the list goes on.

Why did you choose Boys School as your band name?
I originally started Boys School as a creative outlet for myself outside of all the music that I was playing for other artists and groups, and wanted it to be a collective project that included all of my favorite musician friends. I liked the idea of pairing different musicians and personalities together to see what we could get from it creatively, maybe similar to how old Blue Note jazz recording dates were organized. Band leaders were always putting together different bands to play their new compositions, and that made it exciting to buy the album and hear the energy and chemistry between the different bundles of session players. This is my version of that, so hence, the musicians are all my “Boys” (even though a few are girls), and so we have a Boys School.

Side note: I’ve always been an album liner note reader, searching the credits for which session players were playing what and when. I usually become a fanatic of the album’s side men more than the actual artists. I try to incorporate that into Boys School and celebrate the talented people that I’m fortunate enough to be playing with.

Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
At the top of the year, I want to record a new batch of songs and get out on the road.

What inspires your music?
A common theme in my music is based around growing weary, paranoid, and frankly bored, of one’s self and the routines that we can become boxed into. Longing and searching to make sense and get back to the roots of where you come from when the noise and distractions of life lead you off track.

Another recurring theme is commentary and a foreboding weariness for the ever-so-quickly changing and exponentially growing/declining modern world. Feeling overwhelmed with the onslaught of information that is constantly streaming into our consciousness, and the dulling of true interactions and emotions as a result. Our realities are being forcefully skewed and formulated by PR companies, big businesses and political agendas that are telling us what to think, believe, like, love, need, want, etc….and there are really not a lot of places to find refuge from it at this point. I think a lot about that.

Of course, love and relationships and its many facets– excitement, heartbreak, longing, joy, disappointment, obsession, jealousy, infatuation, trust/distrust, beauty, fun.

Musically speaking, improvisation and raw energy are huge factors. Finding the connection with the musicians that I’m playing with and getting to a point to where we are basically reading each other’s minds.

Why do you make music?
At this point, I really don’t know what else I would be doing.

It’s really exciting and satisfying to create and record music from the ground up, starting with a rough skeleton of a song. Then, to watch/hear it blossom into a fully produced composition and recording by calling in different musicians that bring it to life. It’s a very rewarding experience, and usually ends up somewhere completely different than where you had originally thought it would.

Also, there’s nothing better than playing live with a tight group of musicians that are all mind reading and moving along together with such focused energy. It’s a strong force and quite a rush of excitement.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *