Following the release of his effervescent self-titled LP, we spoke with BOYBOY about music as therapy, his influences, and DIY kombucha.

If you, like us, have a penchant for brightly coloured, synth-heavy pop with the catchiest of crooning melodies, then BOYBOY is your guy. His joyful debut self-titled album was released independently back in April and is a glisteningly sincere insight into the BOYBOY behind the music.

Born in New Zealand and now based in Los Angeles, BOYBOY aka Sam McCarthy’s vibrant electro-pop can be likened to the buoyant sounds of the likes of Toro y Moi and Neon Indian. Viewing his song-writing process as a chance to voice and dissect what’s going on in his mind, BOYBOY’s lyrics are equal parts introspective and relatable. The resulting body of work is a debut that’s as therapeutic to listen to as it was to create.

Following the release of his effervescent self-titled LP, we spoke with BOYBOY about music as therapy, his influences, and DIY kombucha.

Describe BOYBOY in three words.
Crazy, sexy, and cool.

How would you describe your music to someone that’s never heard it before?
It sounds like an alien trying to make pop music.

Which artists would you recommend to fans of your own music, and why?
Chelsea Jade, she’s the best lyricist I know and is a master of imagery in her song writing. Then Yaeji, she has such a refined aesthetic yet constructs effortless bangers. Finally, Kelly Lee Owens. I love her balance of sensitivity and power.

What inspires you most lyrically?
The idea of writing phrases that are deeply personal yet could be said by anyone. I find that really exciting, it’s something I like to chase.

… And sonically?
My sonic influences are always changing, but I’m often inspired by instruments that speak or sing like voices. I’m also inspired by landscapes or environments that are constructed out of sounds. For example, drums that sound like machinery or buildings, and synths that sound like clouds.

Can you tell me about your formative experiences of hearing music?
My first musical memory is me, lying in bed as a two year old, hearing Bombalurina’s ‘Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’, coming from the television in the living room.

… And when did you start making music of your own?
I was 10 when I started playing guitar, and I was 11 when I wrote my first song. It was about how my mum shut down my computer game and I hadn’t saved it yet. The lyrics were “Mum shut my game down, and I hadn’t even saved it yet”. I sung it to her and she seemed mildly impressed, but I think she was a bit reluctant to give praise.

Can you talk a bit about how your music is inspired by your faith?
I’m not sure I would say my music is inspired by my faith in Buddhism. That said, I think my practice helps me to view certain life experiences with a different perspective, and my songs are often informed by those same perspectives.

With reference to writing lyrics as therapy, let’s talk about listening as therapy too. Do you have a record you can always turn to as a healer?
I find Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ to be quite therapeutic. There is so much sensitivity and nurture in his song writing. At the same time he’s so open and vulnerable. Reminding everyone that we have difficulties, and how accepting that gives rise to compassion. A lot of 70s soul music can also be very therapeutic. Songs about love and hope, through the lens of someone who has struggled.

What’s in store for BOYBOY for the rest of 2018?
I am working away on a second album.

Anything else?
I was talking to a friend about making my own kombucha the other day, so if anyone has a scoby they want to share I’d love to take them up on that!


BOYBOY’s debut self-titled album is out now.

Boyboy – Boyboy
April 6, 2018 – Buy