Photography by Linda Wang
2019 was a transformative year for Lostboycrow. Sonically, he has morphed from an electronic-centric sound to a classic, analog, four-person band. The transition between his 2017-2018 Traveler EP installments and 2019's Santa Fe sound stark from a listener's perspective, but Lostboycrow himself explains that there's a lot we don't see. In reality, the transition was much more gradual.
To bridge the gap between Santa Fe and his upcoming releases, Lostboycrow released "Moonlight," an upbeat, lovestruck anthem. Over the chorus he sings, "I don't mean to sound so stupid but I just do, when I'm around you." It's hard not to smile at that confession. We've all been there.
With a new year upon us, Lostboycrow is further introducing us to his newest chapter with "Happy New Year," an introspective reflection on the story he tells in "Moonlight." "I kind of started writing this happy-go-lucky, intentionally naive album about how good it feels to be in love again, even though you know it's probably not going to last… then 'Happy New Year' came in the middle of all those, more of an introspective approach to still wanting that but maybe realizing for the first time on that journey that this probably won't work out and that's okay, it's still worth it," he explains.
"Happy New Year" opens with a vibe of isolation and lonely lyrics to match. "To me it always felt like the beginning [of 'Happy New Year'] was when you're standing in an open meadow in the snow, and it's just kind of that quiet that you only get when you're surrounded by snow and it just kind of absorbs all the sound and it's very beautiful, a little bit haunting, and very introspective," explains Lostboycrow. From there, the track evolves into a lively, full, and upbeat proclamation of love, and recognition of how simultaneously brief and beautiful it can be.
Lostboycrow has been working on new music since the completion of Santa Fe, which was nearly two years ago. "Happy New Year" was one of the early songs from that period, but it was only finished a couple months ago. Lostboycrow explained, "It felt like, for many reasons, including the fact that it's called Happy New Year, it just felt like it was time and it felt like a perfect piece of the puzzle as far as bridging the gap between Santa Fe and Moonlight and this next era that is starting to get finished up and really take shape.
For Lostboycrow, 2019 was a year of ebbs and flows and highs and lows. There was the excitement of touring with fellow Oregon band Flor and the Score, coupled with the frustration of having unreleased music and the cabin fever that comes with being off the road. He rediscovered the guitar, learning how to play it again and starting each song just with himself and his instrument.
But Lostboycrow hasn't completely abandoned his old electronic R&B sound. He still reimagines some of his old songs live with his new instrumental band setup and listens back fondly. "It's been long enough that it brings a smile to my face when I hear it because I have been so removed from it. I kind of got a chuckle almost. I'm reminded of how fun it was to make and the friendships that were created in making it. I think obviously a lot of what went into it and even on this last tour was played "Devil's in the Backseat" as a band and "Adolescent" as a band," he says.
The new songwriting process birthed a new sound with different lyrics and melodies, "[The songs] almost come from a different place when I'm holding a guitar," says Lostboycrow. "It's more personality, you know? I wanted to make music that didn't just sound good or cool but really had sincerity to it with people's personality and not just write a good song or the right song but make our song, you know?"
"Happy New Year" gives a taste of Lostboycrow's newly adopted non-linear songwriting style. "I feel like most of my songs I try to have it be like an evolving journey and not just 'ok we're going back to the verse again. Now it's the chorus again.' Especially with this new chapter, all the songs kind of take on a different structure and don't repeat a ton of the parts too many times. I like to think, even if it's just for my own sanity it's like this ever-changing journey and then by the end of the song you have some semblance of hope and excitement," he explains.
His biggest resolution for the new year? To not hesitate. "Whatever it may be as far as any goals that I have, whether they're personal or just releasing more music," says Lostboycrow. "Just getting all the ideas out and into the reality of releasing stuff or following through."
We can expect a lot of music from Lostboycrow in 2020. If you were lucky enough to see Lostboycrow on tour with The Score, you may have heard the unreleased song "Valley Heart," a song that he says is central to this new chapter in his musical journey. It will be released in the near future. Hopefully he'll be on the road again in the near future, too. "Put the word out," says Lostboycrow, "I'm ready to rock and roll."