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