Ge­nius move

Kin­dred spir­its Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Da­cus have united to form Boy­ge­nius. Just don’t call them a su­per­group…

UNCUT - - In­stant Karma - STEPHEN DEUSNER Boy­ge­nius's self-ti­tled EP is out on No­vem­ber 9 via Mata­dor

At the end of a long day spent record­ing at his­toric Sound City in LA, the three singer­song­writ­ers who com­prise Boy­ge­nius re­laxed on a couch in the stu­dio lobby and tin­kered with a new song. Phoebe Bridgers had writ­ten the first verse as a coun­try tune, some­thing that would al­low them to har­monise “like the Carter Fam­ily”. Julien Baker de­vised the cho­rus, which is both sim­ple and poignant: “I am never any­where/

Any­where I go.” And Lucy Da­cus wrote a verse based on her dream of mov­ing out to the mid­dle of nowhere.

“Ketchum, Idaho”, the clos­ing track on Boy­ge­nius’s self-ti­tled de­but EP, is an un­usual song for these mu­si­cians, the kind none of them would have con­cocted for their own solo al­bums but some­thing that came eas­ily to them once they were all to­gether on the same couch in the lobby of the same stu­dio. And that’s just where they recorded it, all three har­mon­is­ing into the same mic. “We even got some mo­tor­cy­cle sounds in the back­ground,” says Da­cus.

It’s tempt­ing to call Boy­ge­nius a su­per­group, although its mem­bers scoff at that dis­tinc­tion. It’s more of a col­lab­o­ra­tive project, a demo­cratic ex­change of ideas by three very dif­fer­ent artists on dif­fer­ent la­bels and from dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try. “We all have a very spe­cific twist on be­ing singer-song­writ­ers,” says the LA-based Phoebe Bridgers, who re­leased her de­but, Strangers In The Alps, last year. “Peo­ple com­pare us to each other be­cause we’re women, but I don’t think we sound any­thing alike. they both are like scream­ing an­gels and po­ets.”

the trio met in 2016, be­fore they had signed to la­bels and re­leased their break­out al­bums. Julien Baker, a ten­nessean who has is­sued two LPs of soul-scorch­ing songs, was the link be­tween them, in­tro­duc­ing Bridgers to the Vir­ginian Lucy Da­cus. they felt like old friends as soon as they met. “I’d al­ready heard so much about Phoebe,” says Da­cus, “we were able to skip get­ting to know each other and go straight to catch­ing up about what mat­tered to us at that mo­ment.”

Plot­ting an au­tumn tour to­gether, they ini­tially planned to record an ex­clu­sive 7in fea­tur­ing all three of them. Baker and Da­cus joined Bridgers in LA, each bring­ing one com­pleted song and one frag­ment to work on. It quickly be­came clear that this was more than just a few songs on a lim­ited-edi­tion record. Sud­denly they were a new band. Says Baker, “It felt like some­thing that was good for all of us: an ex­er­cise in con­fi­dence in be­ing around peo­ple who make you feel un­der­stood, val­ued and seen.”

It’s un­clear what will hap­pen to Boy­ge­nius once the tour con­cludes, but al­ready the ex­pe­ri­ence has changed the way they ap­proach their own solo work. “the ex­pe­ri­ence felt like self-care,” says Da­cus. “We were all work­ing hard, but it was also bet­ter than a va­ca­tion. It re­ally re­ju­ve­nated my cre­ative sen­si­bil­ity.”

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