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Boys Star Library - Interview

  by Olga Sladeckova

published: 16 / 10 / 2002

Boys Star Library - Interview


Eclectic in tone, New York alt. pop trio Boys' Star Library have just released their second album, 'Sugar & Water'. Frontman Jimmy Hughes speaks to Olga Sladeckova about it, and recent developments at his BumbleBEAR label

In one of our issues last year, we featured the New York based band Boys' Star Library. The band's history reaches as far back as the year 1994 when it first formed under another name Wookiee. That , however, changed to Boys' Star Library later in 1998. The band released its debut album, 'If I Was Born A Girl' last year, which displayed across its 16 tracks a rich and eclectic range of sounds. 'Sugar & Water', their latest release came out this year and is seen as a second part to the first album.There are also other Boys Star Library recordings available on various compilations. All of the band's music is released on the now relocated BumbleBEAR label (which shifted recently from New York to Athens, Georgia) and which Boys’ Star Library voclaist, Jimmy Hughes, runs with the help of his friends. BumbleBEAR has also released records by many other talented artist,s including Bugs Eat Books, Miss July, and Grey Home Music,. To bring us the latest news about the band, to introduce the new album and to update us on the changes at BumbleBEAR, Jimmy spoke to Pennyblackmusic in an exclusive interview. PB: Since I spoke to you the last time in an interview last year have there been any changes in the band? JH: Well, since I spoke to you last, I have moved to Athens Georgia, and Chris (Bracco-guitars, electronics-Ed)and Andrew (Veety-drums) still live in Queens, NY.  So we're going to get together around Christmas time and start recording the next album.  Hopefully we will be playing some shows soon.  It gets very hard when we are not in the same town all the time, but we're trying to keep it going. So at this point, the band is essentially three of us, Chris, Andrew and myself, but there will be other people playing on the record and playing live with us.  I believe one of those people will be Chris's wife, Amy, who has played some keyboards on past recordings and has always been the female vocals featured in some of our songs.  so I think she will be participating in the recording process more (and hopefully in the live show as well). PB: BSL released their second album, 'Sugar & Water', this year. Is it a lot different compared to you previous album 'If I Was Born A Girl'? JH: Well, I think it's more focused than the last record... and therefore, sounds a little different. But I think it is more or less the same sound. It might be heard as more depressing.  Maybe a little darker lyrically, but the music is still asbright. PB: Your previous album 'If I Was Born a Girl'  was, as you said in the previous interview, “an accidental concept album” beginning from being born till getting old. Is there a theme to 'Sugar & Water'? PB: Yes there is.  Actually, it is supposed to be part II of this loosely wound story. I studied English and creative writing in college so I guess it's just in me to try to put eveything together in the manner of a storyteller rather than in independent songs. Part I ('If I Was Born...') was an "accidental concept" album in that once the songs were recorded and placed together, I saw it as this story that wasn't intentional, but was still present and I thought it brought a nice layer to the album.  So I played off that idea with this one and went into the writing process with stories in mind.  I like to think of ‘If I Was Born A Girl...’as a dream.  And that would make ‘Sugar & Water’ like waking up from that dream. PB: Do you have a favorite song on the album? Which one and why that one? JH: Well, I think all of the songs turned out pretty great, but I do have my favourites.  I like ‘Pinned Between Two Ghosts’ quite a lot. It has a lot of personal meaning to me, and I also think the recording was done really well. And ‘Me & Julia’has been one of my favourites.  I also like ‘You're In A Gray Room Now" ‘which is the untitled "backwards" track at the end of the album. It's a good one, although kind of hidden on the record. The forward version is on a comp coming out on Little Teddy Recording (in Germany).  It will also be the opening track on the next record. I think it's a really honest recording because we went in and really  had a lot of fun with it. In the end, we didn't really have to tweak anything and it was just fine the way it was. I love it when things work out like that. Why did you call the album 'Sugar & Water'? PB: It is supposed to refer to the placebo in an experiment. The upcoming record (part III) will revolve around different stories occuring in the setting of a hospital. There is a doctor who is testing dream patterns. So in dreams, I imagine the placebo being that moment right when you wake up and you still believe that what you were dreaming was real, and as it fades you quickly realize that it was all just a dream... and that can be either a relief or extremely depressing. So I guess I think of it like a trick, or a placebo. Anyway, all of the songs on ‘Sugar & Water’ are about that concept in some way. PB: What are your plans in the near future? You mentioned you had another album in your mind already... JH: Yeah, well we will hopefully be doing some short tours in the Eastern US, and we are going to get started very soon on the third record. I actually started writing it several years ago, but it wasn't until I started seeing the first two records coming together that I could finish these songs and the hospital story and have it all make sense (sort of). So I have had these songs for awhile and I am really excited that they will actually be recorded. PB: You said you want to play some live shows. Where and when will they take place? Have you any plans to play abroad? JH: Well, given that we live in different cities it gets pretty tough to play live shows. But the guys traveled down to Athens recently and we played at the Orange Twin Festival put on by Orange Twin records.  it was an outdoors show in an old girl scout pavilion in the woods.  It was  so much fun. We hope to tour for a week or two in the spring, but that is still being planned. We're still trying to get people to know us over here, so there aren't any plans to go abroad anytime soon. That would be great, especially since I have never been, but it would take a lot of money that we don't have. When we tour here, we don't really make any money, but at least it doesn't cost us too much.  We can just climb in the van and go. PB: Could you pick one of BSL gigs that you enjoyed the most and say why? JH: Well, I think I can say that I have had fun at all of our shows.  but that Orange Twin festival was the most recent so that's freshest in my memory, and that was really great because we got to play with a lot of friends' bands and bands that I really like a lot. PB: Beside playing in Boys' Star Library you also run BumbleBEAR records. Could you share some of the latest news? JH: We just released new records by Miss July and by Miika Grady.  We also have a Tullycraft Tribute record in the work, and coming soon, we have CD's from Bugs Eat Books and Gray Home Music, and the new one from Boys' Star Library. PB: BumbleBEAR also recently moved to Athens in GA. What was the reason? JH: I had to get away from the city.  City life was never for me. And I had a lot of friends here, so I left. Ian, the other half of BumbleBEAR, moved down too. So we are both here now. Chris and Andrew and lots of other folks who contribute to bumbleBEAR are still up in New York City though so we still maintain a presence there as well. PB: Are you still looking for new bands? JH: I have been trying to slow down the label a bit. Maybe even stop it for a while. I have a lot of different things going on right now and so I want to save my money for potentially school, or travel, or something. But stranger things have happened. Sometimes I can't resist putting out a new band. PB: What is are the label's plans for the near future? JH: Just keep hacking away at it. Get the releases done that we already have planned, and if we should catch up and have nothing to release, then maybe take some time to rest. Who knows though ? PB: Thank you More info about Boys’ Star Library and BumbleBEAR can be found at www.bumblebear.com

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Boys Star Library - Interview

Boys Star Library - Interview

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Interview with Jimmy Hughes (2002)
Boys Star Library - Interview with Jimmy Hughes
One day in 1994, four students at Binghamton University in New York decided to form a band. Naming themselves Wookiee, Jimmy Hughes (vocals, guitars, ukulele) Chris Bracco (guitars, electronics), Dann


Sugar and Water (2002)
Infectiously eclectic pop on second album from New York trio, Boys' Star Library
If I Was Born A Girl (2001)

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