Hello Mr. Magazine - - NEWS -

The direc­tor yells, “Cut!” We’re on a gi­ant sound­stage at Univer­sal Stu­dios in Or­lando, Flor­ida. The cam­eras turn off. Makeup artists swarm the three young men who stand in front of a green screen – Dy­lan Dar­ling, 21, Alan Dar­ling, 19, and Ma­tias Ca­ma­cho, 20. The chore­og­ra­pher is now on stage and starts re­view­ing the boys’ dance moves. The Orange County Boys, bet­ter known as OCB, are film­ing their first mu­sic video for their hit sin­gle – you guessed it – “Tan City.” At 21, Dy­lan is the old­est mem­ber of the group and there’s no mis­tak­ing he is the front­man. His pres­ence is im­mense. Bright, wide eyes, framed by a halo of dirty blonde hair. A nat­u­ral show­man, he is the foil to Alan’s re­served na­ture. Alan has dark hair and deep-set, jewel-like eyes. It’s hard to think about one Dar­ling with­out the other – they’ve been an act since they were kids. Ma­tias’ pres­ence is a breeze on a sum­mer day. His pos­i­tiv­ity and easy-go­ing per­son­al­ity is in­tox­i­cat­ing. His eyes dart around, ob­serv­ing his sur­round­ings, and he of­ten blurts out non se­quiturs, per­haps about the deep pur­ple color of a plum, or a mem­ory rus­tled by the smell of a flower. I imag­ine his ca­pac­ity to ex­pe­ri­ence the world is like a child’s: un­yield­ing, cease­lessly imag­i­na­tive. I wanted to work on this story for Hello Mr. be­cause I grew up lis­ten­ing to boy bands, and I find them fas­ci­nat­ing. Lyrics from their songs are vaulted in my brain. The mu­sic re­minds me of youth, the days of sum­mer flings, body glit­ter. My fas­ci­na­tion with boy bands tran­scends the ini­tial ob­ses­sion you feel when you are 11 or 12 buy­ing their first CD, its pre­cious­ness

pro­tected by plas­tic cas­ing. To me, boy bands are far more com­pli­cated. There is a stark con­trast be­tween my or your own in­deli­ble mem­o­ries of a boy band, and the lack of au­then­tic­ity they choose to, or are al­lowed to con­vey. To be in a boy band is to wear a mask. This is why the group’s PR re­peat­edly de­clined my in­ter­views af­ter Dy­lan pub­li­cally came out last month. As you can imag­ine, I was taken aback when I got the call di­rectly from Dy­lan. “Hey, I want you to in­ter­view us.” His voice was boy­ish, but as­sured. “It came to me while I was med­i­tat­ing. I felt re­ally over­come by a strong feel­ing, like a call­ing, it said, ‘Life’s too short to not tell the truth.’ ‘The press is gonna eat you alive.’ ‘Your record com­pany will bury you.’ At least, that’s what they said.” Now, just out­side the sound­stage, a gate holds back a group of teenage girls sub­dued from wait­ing hours in the mid­sum­mer Or­lando heat. The gates sur­round­ing the sound­stage’s com­plex aren’t there just for tit­il­lated fans. They keep the press at bay. I had a chance to sit down with OCB on a rare break in their hec­tic shoot­ing sched­ule at their fa­vorite diner just around the cor­ner from the com­plex, which they man­age to es­cape from with the help of eight or nine se­cu­rity guards. Al­though Dy­lan couldn’t have pre­dicted it, the tim­ing of his comin­gout was aus­pi­cious – based on pre­sale, their se­cond al­bum is pro­jected to be the high­est gross­ing pop al­bum of the decade. The re­ac­tion from the press and pub­lic has been over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive. “I’ve al­ways liked do­ing the thing that’s hard to do,” Dy­lan says. “It re­ally gets me go­ing when some­one says, ‘you can’t do that.’” In the wake of this news, OCB was given more artis­tic lib­er­ties than ever be­fore. Alan, the dark­horse, writes all the mu­sic for OCB, but you wouldn’t know it as he sel­dom speaks to the press. “I guess the hard­est part of be­ing in the in­dus­try is hav­ing to be ‘on’ all the time,” says Alan, whose crit­ics have com­pared to an early Brian Wil­son. “It’s like, yeah I had a shitty day, but I have to hide that part of me, and that’s painful.” “In the stu­dio, they never let me get too crazy with the lyrics, but now I kinda sneak in my cre­ative say. I like to take some­thing dark and mush it into some­thing they want

– into the love songs and surfer tunes, or what­ever.” “But we care so much about our fans, and they get some­thing out of our mu­sic,” Ma­tias, whose lips tend to stay in a rest­ing pout, chips in. “One per­son might latch onto the lyrics be­cause they re­mind them of a lover, and an­other might like that same song be­cause the drums get them revved up. And the fact that we’re cre­at­ing some­thing that will out­live us – that’s crazy ain’t it?” “I write the mu­sic and Dy­lan writes the lyrics. We’ve been do­ing it that way since we were kids,” says Alan. Dy­lan and Alan have lived on the out­skirts of the Or­lando en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try since they were kids. About 30 min­utes out­side of Or­lando, Dy­lan and Alan’s home­town, Polk City, is built around the orange or­chards that lend their name to the county – Orange County. I drove through there one week­end, shortly af­ter our in­ter­view. Polk City is a tiny town of un­der 1,500 res­i­dents, strad­dling Lake Agnes – its shore acts like its main street, peo­ple fish­ing and BBQing near it ev­ery night. Though Dy­lan and Alan have left, their pres­ence is stronger than ever. Au­to­graphed photos hang in ev­ery restau­rant and diner. They even named a lo­cal com­mu­nity gar­den af­ter them – “The Dar­ling Gar­den.” I won­der if these au­to­graphs and clip­pings – to­kens of their home­town he­roes – still have the same value to them now that Dy­lan has taken off his mask. “I’d like to think that this was just an­other al­bum, but I would be ly­ing if I said I – if we – weren’t feel­ing pres­sure,” says Dy­lan. As he says this, tears moisten and his voice shakes. In a rare dis­play of sen­ti­men­tal­ity, Alan puts a hand on Dy­lan’s shoul- der. Dy­lan re­cip­ro­cates with a hand on his brother’s thigh. “Our se­cond al­bum is much more of a per­sonal and artis­tic state­ment.” Ma­tias smiles at me with these know­ing eyes, which I’m un­sure how to in­ter­pret. Then he too wraps an arm around his band­mate, the three of them hud­dled to­gether in the cor­ner of this diner booth, their

match­ing white jack­ets swish­ing against each other, look­ing like close brothers, or like lovers. “If you’re gonna put your­self out there, you have to put out your whole self, not part of it,” says Dy­lan. “So if I have to sing about girls and beaches or what­ever, that’s fine. But our real fans will know that’s not what the mu­sic’s about, that they know the real us. We’re re­ally proud of what we’re putting out there. It’s like we had wings our whole life but never learned how to use them un­til now.”

Ma­tias wears tank by Calvin Klein. Jeans by Gucci. Shirt by Be­spo­ken. Shoes by Kenzo. Alan wears t-shirt by Alex Mill. Pants by Nike. Dy­lan wears sweater by Open­ing Cer­e­mony. Pants by Burberry.

Dy­lan wears jacket by Feng Chen Wang. T-shirt by Nike. Alan wears jacket by Feng Chan Wang. T-shirt by Open­ing Cer­e­mony. Hat by Kan­gol.

Ma­tias wears jacket by Gucci. T-shirt by Alex Mill. Pants by No.21.

IRENE CHEN is a writer, film­maker, and boy band fa­natic based in New York. Fol­low her @largepan­taloons.

Con­cealer by Tom Ford for Men.

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