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Saturday April 1st

Ben Grey listened to Rogue Wave in high school. Now his band is opening for them.

Four-person band Dear Boy is opening for Rogue Wave. Photo by Casey Curry.
Buy Photos Four-person band Dear Boy is opening for Rogue Wave. Photo by Casey Curry.

Four-person band Dear Boy will be opening for Rogue Wave at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro this Tuesday. The doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 8 p.m. Staff writer Maya Jarrell spoke with Ben Grey, the group's vocalist and guitarist, about the band’s identity and what it’s like to be on tour.

The Daily Tar Heel: Tell me about the origins of the band. How did Dear Boy start? 

Ben Grey: We were all friends, just from being in different bands together, but we started the band in London. We had an opportunity to play there and work there, so we just sort of did this leap. We just moved to England and started writing songs there, and that’s how the band started. 

DTH: How did you come up with the band's name?

BG: We had no name, it was Thanksgiving in England and we were all at an Italian restaurant. I think we all looked super dejected, and just didn’t know what to do. A waitress came up to our table and just referred to me as a “dear boy.” It was just sort of one of those cosmic things where it’s the thing you were searching for.

DTH: What are some themes or ideas that you focus on in your music?

BG: I feel like most every song has to do with some sort of shade or nuance of love, just because to me — and I think to us — there’s really nothing else more important or moving. I think it’s almost the reason people wrote songs in the first place. I don’t think we’ve ever been political writers. That kind of stuff doesn’t really move us when we pick up an instrument. I think love is endlessly fascinating, and I think it has been for thousands of years, so no matter what, I feel like a timeless subject is usually love. 

DTH: Tell me about your recently released single, "Love Interest."

BG: We’ve been sitting on this mountain of material for a really long time — something like 30 songs. This was the first one of this new wave of songs. We’ve been playing it live, and we really wanted to just release it and give it to our fans because I think they’re all familiar with it. I think it’s pretty indicative of the way the next music sounds. I wrote the lyrics for that song about our clumsy years: what it’s like to be foolishly optimistic about what love is.

DTH: What is your writing process like?

BG: It always changes. The four of us are all really actively involved in writing. The lyrics will always be me, but it changes from whether Austin (Hayman, guitarist) writes the guitar part. If somebody drops something, and we like the sound, that could be it. Whatever commands a song to be written about it, that’s how it goes — and since we’re all such close friends, the writing is usually pretty easy — just because we all know each others’ strengths. 

DTH: What's it like going on tour and getting to play your music for fans live?

BG: Rogue Wave was a favorite band of mine when I was in high school, and I bought the record they’re touring on when I was 15, so it’s a very surreal thing to have it played to you every night when you have your own memories of those songs. They tour harder than any young band we’ve ever toured with. We’ve done 11 shows in 12 days, so it’s very extreme, but this tour has been great. They’re so sweet. I love them. They’re kind of like our older brothers. To play for their fans is a privilege, because they’ve got great taste if they’re into Rogue Wave. 

The way the tour happened was so organic. Normally there’s a lot of red tape, and people are submitting you, then they go through an agent, and you go through all these things — but they contacted our PR, then picked us and it was done in two hours. It was just a very organic and cool thing, that they liked the music and found us. It’s kind of a "pinch me" thing.

DTH: What's your favorite song to perform?

BG: There’s a new song that we’re playing for the first time on this tour called “Limelight” that’s going to be on our new EP, and I think that that is all of our favorite song to play. Of the stuff we’ve put out, I would say that “Alluria” is my favorite song to play, just because it’s kind of a post-punk “Jolene,” and that’s been my dream.

DTH: Do you have any pre-show, or after-show, rituals?

BG: We’re kind of coffee monsters. There’s push-ups too. Keith (Cooper, drummer) does push-ups, and we all videotape him. I wish we had some sort of pagan ritual that I could tell you about, but maybe we’ll come up with one after this.


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