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B Boys: An Interview with Andrew Kerr

B Boys by Ben Trogden
28 June 2016

Photo by Ben Trogden
Brooklyn’s B Boys debut collection of songs was released earlier this year on an all too brief 8-track EP for Captured Tracks. No Worry No Mind is a smart and moody assemblage that harkens back to one of the most creative and enduring periods in music history; punk to post-punk. The EP has been a catalyst that has allowed the three piece to egress internal reflections into quick bursts of post-punk bliss; much to the same extent of seminal bands like Gang Of Four, Crispy Ambulance and Wire perfected with plenty of reverb and gritty beats. With plans to release their debut LP in the new year, it was fortutous timing to catch up with drummer Andrew Kerr between touring and rehearsals! Huge thanks to Jacob Daneman at Pitch Perfect for the coordination.

There is certainly plenty of energy/intensity on your “No Worry, No Mind” EP in tracks like ‘Psycho’ and ‘Nevah’ and I’m wondering if these songs were born out of an ire with what’s going on in our society (especially politically) or am I off my rocker? Look at the transformation Manhattan has gone through over the past decade or so for example.

ANDREW: The songs represent an inward reflection more so than an outward one. What it feels like to live in society but not an analysis of society itself. That’s part of the EP’s dichotomy— this anxiety/internal struggle juxtaposed with a theme of meditation. “I Don’t Mind” becomes almost like a mantra-song for transcending those emotions. 

The music press bring up Wire and Stranglers quite a bit as benchmarks for your EP’s sound (and justifiably so) without considering the history in your own backyard, (Talking Heads, Television, et al) let alone what immediately followed punk in the early ’80s. What bands/artists have influenced you over the years and how did they coalesce into this (excellent!) EP?

ANDREW: All the bands you’ve mentioned here are part of our dynamic in some way. We also love things like The Clean, The Clash, Minor Threat, X. Everyone has pretty diverse musical tastes, flourishes of our influences show up in the details. We’re just three punks that enjoy interesting pop songs. 

Your bio states that the three of you connected out of necessity. While I have a fair idea what that means I was wondering if you could expand on that? Are all three of you from Brooklyn originally?

ANDREW: (Guitarist) Britton (Walker) and (bassist) Brendon (Avalos) met in Denton, TX. I’m from Florida, mostly between Delray Beach and Gainesville. B Boys got together through mutual friends while the three of us were living in Brooklyn in 2014. We feel like its out of necessity because we all have this urgency to create music. We connected instantly and it felt very natural to play together, as if it were some cosmic pairing. 

Finding a home on Captured Tracks is a great fit for you guys. How did that come about?

ANDREW: Our friend Gary (Canino) of Rips mentioned our name to (founder/GM) Mike (Sniper) & CT. They were able to hear a demo of “Other Head” we had done at our practice space and saw a live video. They sent us an email asking what else we had planned in the future, which was right when we finished tracking the EP. We sent them some mixes during the process and at some point we decided to work together. They’re really good people who run a great label. We’re very glad to be a part of it. 

Are there any plans for a full-length LP and, if so, when can we expect to get our mitts on it?

ANDREW: We’re in the process of demoing a bunch of songs right now with the intention of recording an LP in the summer. If all things go well, it should be released in the beginning of 2017. 

I have been interested in reading about the plans for this summer’s “Punk London”, celebrating 40 years since punk broke in the UK. The anti-establishment attitude of those early days is now being recognized by the establishment. I think its more important to see and hear that genre’s legacy in bands such as yours all the while giving it your own spin. Is it easy to keep an eye towards the future while embracing the past?

ANDREW: Yes. Daima Tutakukumbuka (Swahili for “We will always remember”). We feel like the essence of punk is being true to yourself and that’s all we’re trying to do. 

The band is able to harness the essence of what punk spawned when it first started, whether out of protest against the ordinary and/or conveying raw emotion. Do all three of you contribute to the songwriting process?

ANDREW: We’re all present when the songs are written. They usually come about without much prior thought, just jamming at practice. There’s a lot of energy flowing, which could be the source of what you’re referring to. 

I wanted to expand on you mentioning the songs being sourced from internal reflections. What led you to music as a means of expressing those reflections? Also, what were some of the first songs you remember hearing that induced the desire to actually be in a band and make a difference?

ANDREW: We’re not necessarily trying to make a difference, just put something else out there into the world. We each have our own initial magnetism to music or sound and its creation, but it feels pretty innate across the board. As far as the songs stemming from internal reflections, that just refers to connecting with yourself and your imagination. It’s all fairly light-hearted though. 

I see you’re hitting the road in July (including a mini-tour with Pill) and I’m anxious to see/hear you guys (and them!) live at some point. Any chance you will be heading over the Mississippi River soon?

ANDREW: Yes. Not certain where or when but we’re working on it.

UPCOMING SHOWS:

7/13 New York, NY @ The Special Without Brett Davis

7/16 Queens, NY @ Out In The Streets Festival
w/ Future Punx, The So So Glos, Potty Mouth, Guerilla Toss, Beverly, more

7/21 Baltimore, MD @ Otto Bar Upstairs
w/ Pill

7/22 Washington, DC @ Union Arts
w/ Pill, Cigarette, Heathers, Puff Pieces

7/23 Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits
w/ Pill, Littler, Palm, Ursula

8/4 Brooklyn, NY @ Sunnyvale
w/ Hotline, Hypoluxo, Teen Body

8/7 Brooklyn, NY @ Snacky Tunes Radio

 

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