B.O.Y.F. finished No. 7 overall in our 2015 Picked to Click tally with 25 points. Click here to read profiles on this year's other 11 winning acts.
Change is essential for creating art, and B.O.Y.F. thrive in constant states of transition. After meeting at Yale University, the glittery synth-pop trio known as White Boyfriend left Connecticut in 2013 to cultivate their new-wave glam in Minneapolis.
Just before changing the band name to B.O.Y.F. (an uplifting acronym meaning Before Others Yourself Forever), bassist D. Hansen, banjoist/drummer Katharine Seggerman, and keyboardist Nicky Leingang released January's White Boyfriend, a harmony-baked pop confection with deep reflections on love lost and why sports are silly.
In-tune with the name change, Seggerman insists the three achieved more this year by putting their creative desires first.
"When we started playing the show-ready songs that we thought people would like dancing to, people put us into this, like, pop, awesome, queer, gay, dance band category," Seggerman says. "We felt pressure to maintain that for a while."
While fans embraced the queer-disco sparkle of singles like "I'm Breaking Up with Mr. Smiles," Leingang says the group struggles with a non-normative presentation of Leingang and Hansen's gender and sexual identities.
"We're both queer individuals with non-traditional gender presentations, and initially, for me, that was a really satisfying costume to wear," Leingang says of the band's dolled-up look. "But then it became a schtick — people saw it as a performance to please an audience rather than a facet of our personal identity."
While cross-dressing and drag are fun, Hansen says it's hard to watch other artists partake in gender-bending without the identity to back it up.
"It's almost this weird, panicky feeling to see someone without the identity issues giving an exaggerated gender performance as just, like, fun," Hansen says. The songwriter channeled this dysmorphic confusion into "The Devil," a single released last month that adds jagged contrast to B.O.Y.F.'s falsetto-glossed sound.
While B.O.Y.F. might work with "The Devil" engineer Ali Jaafar at Ecstattic Studio to record their next album, the trio cares less about exposure and more about creating intersectional spaces for Twin Cities artists of all identities.
"We're all more interested in making some actual changes and getting different people involved," Seggerman says of future plans. "Maybe that means putting together a queer showcase at the Minnehaha Free Space, or doing a cross-genre double show — freeing ourselves a little bit to not be so, like, 'strategic.' Because where's that going to get you, besides, like, 'Minneapolis famous'? That's meaningless."