Interview: Why I think Bobby Sweet aka ‘BOYSTELLLIES’ is the next big thing if he simply gets his sh*t together.
November 13th, 2020 | by Scott Turner
photographs by Anna V Shelton
“I woke up feeling like a dumpster fire and said how can I translate this into music” says Bobby as he explains the writing process behind his surprise release, ‘Before The World Ends’ which dropped earlier this month. The 24 year old, D.I.Y artist writes, records and mixes all of his own music in his bedroom using nothing more than a second hand iPad Mini, a pair of Beyerdynamic Headphones and a 10$ pop filter.
After stumbling upon Bobby’s, D.I.Y tracks on Soundcloud and being impressed with the quality as well as the fan engagement he’s managed to receive in the short space of only a year, I reached out to him as a fan and asked if he would mind answering some questions. I hoped I could get some insight into his future ambitions and find the reason behind his mystery. Even now as I speak to him via Skype Call he chooses not to show his face.
“Part of it is Insecurities but it’s also just me feeling like I’m not really ready for fame yet or people knowing who I am. I think we live in an age where music has become this fast-track road to success or popularity. It’s a way out of working a 9 to 5 or living in a harsh reality but for me music is just a way out of my head.”– Bobby SWEET
How will you manage maintaining your mystery as you continue to grow as an Artist? You’ve already amassed over 150k plays on SoundCloud alone and your track ‘I Don’t Even Like This Song but Whatever’ has garnered over 4 million plays in total if you include third party playlists.
I know that sounds like a lot of numbers but I don’t think it is. I mean compared to other artists who are pretty much in the same place as me, my numbers are pretty average but to answer your question I’m not sure how I’ll maintain my mystery. I’ve often looked up to characters like Spider-Man or Helmet Boy by Kevin Abstract. I think there’s a way to exist as an Artist without ever showing the world your face. A lot of people my age desire fame or at least think that’s what they desire and so don’t really evaluate the pros and cons of success or stardom. It’s something I think about a lot. I love music and I’d love the opportunity to turn my hobbies into a career but I don’t really know if I want to be famous. At least not yet. If it’s inevitable then I guess I’d like to give the world my version of Spider-Man while still hoping to maintain my mystery as ‘Peter Parker.‘
You write and record all your music in your bedroom using a $10 pop filter and a second hand iPad Mini. Is that a deliberate decision or just the result of your current circumstance?
It’s kinda both. I live in Ireland and there’s not a lot of available resources for artists like me to go to a studio and record an album or a single. I use to take a bus to Tallaght which is about 3 hours away from where I live. I would go there to record for a day, spend a night at a hotel or my friend’s place and then take the 3 hour journey home the next morning. I didn’t really mind the long trips but I hated relying on someone else to create the sound or end product that I wanted. A lot of times a producer would send me back a demo and the record would sound too clean or too filtered. It wasn’t a bad thing it’s just not how I wanted my music to sound. I realized that the only way I was going to be satisfied with the outcome is if I controlled the entire music process from start to finish. After I lost my job though I had to make use of what I could afford. I didn’t have much money left after helping my mom buy a car and dealing with a bunch of other financial situations. I bought a second hand iPad Mini, some headphones and a pop filter. I was inspired to get the iPad after hearing that one my of my favorite artists, Steve Lacy made his entire demo EP using the GarageBand app on his iPhone. I didn’t want to get an iPhone though. I don’t like smartphones. I still use a Nokia.
This is the first time I’m hearing you mention you’re from Ireland. Your accent doesn’t really give it away. Did you grow up in Ireland? And where exactly in Ireland are you from?
I’m from Somewhere, Nowhere, Nirvana.
Is that response part of maintaining your mystery?
Sorta, but it’s also the only response that makes sense. I grew up in a lot of different places and I’ve been impacted by a lot of different cultures. It’s to the point where nowhere really feels like home to me. So I decided to call my home, nowhere – but somewhere. I added Nirvana because it sounded cool but also because of what it means. Nirvana is like the place I go to when in search of inspiration or when I’m writing music. It’s the place where I feel most liberated and self aware of my who I am.
“There’s no place like somewhere else.”– Bobby sweet
You said music is a way out of your head. Explain what you meant by that?
Well, I struggle a lot with my mental health. Music helps me to express myself. It helps me deal with my negative emotions in a way that’s not self destructive. Sometimes, I think music is an Angel. Besides my faith in God, it’s the only thing that stops me from giving up on life. I find it annoying that my depression tends to be my muse though. I exist in this weird cycle where in order to be happy, I need to create and in order to create I need sadness. My life is like an episode of Ruby Gloom, my best friend is misery.
Do you think that’s another reason you don’t really want your music to get recognised? That it’ll force you to keep having to tap into that sadness into order to create something special?
That’s a good question. I think so but I also feel like fame creates this visage that you’re superhuman. People seem to think you’re no longer this ordinary person just trying to navigate through life as best you can. Sometimes you make mistakes and say things you shouldn’t say and don’t end up always doing the right thing. That’s why I don’t wish to exist so loudly or give people more than they can take, ’cause people can only take so much. At the end of the day, I’m just a boy with ideas. I’m vulnerable. I fuck up a lot. I make mistakes. I don’t really deserve fame so if it happens, I’ll blame the world. I’ll blame people like you. (laughs)
Well, I think people deserve to know who you are and to hear your music because I think you’re extremely talented and you’re also very smart.
“I’m annoying therefore I exist.”– Bobby sweet
So, what’s next for Bobby Sweet?
I’m working on my first album/mixtape. It’s a bunch of songs that I wrote in the space of 3 days. Right now I’m working on making the track-list shorter and figuring out what song I should release as my first single. I know it might sound rushed but it’s not. I’ve written and worked on over 5 mixtapes that have never seen the light of day in the past year alone. I don’t just want to release a project for the sake of releasing something. I want people to be able to hear it and feel like it’s something that isn’t out there already. I want to create a new sound, a sub-genre. I feel like this project is my Pulp Fiction. it’s kinda like how Quentin Tarantino’s style is so defined yet really just a collage of inspiration pulled from so many different sources that it mimics originality. The project has a name but I’m not ready to reveal it yet.
Do you feel like film and tv shows play a big role in your creative process?
Definitely. Especially tv shows and movies I watched growing up. I’m a sucker for nostalgia. I’m also an aspiring director and screenplay writer. So all my creative outlooks kind of overlap. When I write a music project it ends up being the soundtrack to a movie I’m working on.
For someone who doesn’t want fame, all your ambitions seems to lead directly to stardom?
It’s always that way with me. It’s my duality. I’m a comic book hero or maybe the villain. I want an ordinary life but I’ve been bitten by a radioactive bug of creativity. It’s my gift and my curse. Then again maybe I just need to get my shit together. Maybe it’s not that I’m afraid of fame but I’m afraid of not being able to handle fame. I’m not very a self confident person.
“I’m trying to develop my own sound. I call it ‘Boyish Charms.’ If I had to describe it, it would be the soundtrack of a coming of age love story, starring Wednesday Addams.”– Bobby sweet
It sounds like you’re still uncertain of what you want?
Yeah, I am.
Do you feel like that uncertainty holds you back?
Sorta. I feel like a boy sized planet in a way. I’m constantly lost in a world of my own and sometimes I forgot that a reality exists outside my own thoughts. It’s weird wanting to find your place in the world but also feeling so detached from it all. I feel like I can never live up to own my expectations. So hearing someone say they enjoy my music or think that I’m talented is like, “oh.” It takes me out of my bubble.
What do you usually do to relax or bring yourself back down to earth?
Pray. Listen to music. I also love reading 90’s crime novels. I love manga and comics too ’cause I feel like I relate more to fictional characters.
Who’s your favorite fictional character?
Wednesday Addams. Christina Ricci’s version of course.
What’s your favourite movie?
The one in my head. It’s about a boy who likes a girl.
If you could change anything about yourself what would it be?
My self control. I feel I need more self control. Often times I’m just floating through life, I’m not really steering. I’m also too emotional and tend to act on impulse but at the same time I procrastinate a lot and it’s hard for me to finish what I started. This goes back to what I was saying earlier. I need to get my shit together. My life’s a mess.
“God brings people good and bad times so you can never predict the future. Life is a mystery. You never know what chocolate box.”– Bobby sweet
What was your first introduction into music?
Dolly Parton and Gregory Isaacs. Those were the two artists my mom used to play all the time. By age 7, I’m pretty sure I knew all the words to Jolene. I also listened to a lot of gospel music growing up.
Who was the first artist that you really became a fan of?
That’s a tough one. I want to say Michael Jackson but it feels so controversial to say that these days but yeah, MJ was like a superhero to me. Also, Elvis Presley but I fell in love with Elvis in my later years.
What about the artists you listen to now? Who’s on your 2020 playlist?
I listen to a lot of SoundCloud artists, one of my favourites is mayray, she’s awesome. I also like Choo and DVD. Outside of those 3, I also listen to beabadoobee, KennyHoopla, Jean Dawson, Jimi Somewhere and a bunch of other Alternative/Indie Rock artists. In terms of playlist though I love listening to classics. I always go back to the 80’s, 90’s or 50’s. I’ll play some Enya or Cyndi Lauper or Phil Collins or Chuck Berry.
You’re style now seems to be a blend of the 00’s pop punk era and 80’s rock, what made you tap into those sounds?
Well, I grew up in the 00’s so I remember listening to Green Day, Blink 182, Sum 41, Avril Lavigne and a bunch of other punk bands. Then with the 80’s rock influence, that probably came from my love of 80’s movies. There’s something about the 80’s that just doesn’t seem real to me. Like, no way people were that cool. Movies like Ferris Bueller Day’s Off were such a product of that time. A movie like that couldn’t exist today. It had to be done in the 80’s.
Listening to ‘Before the World Ends’ and ‘Smells like MTV’, your music seems to carry a lot of emotional weight. What do you think you’re message is to the world?
I don’t know if I have a message. I feel like my songs are very juvenile and the simple cries of a lonely, lover boy. I think that’s relatable though. My vulnerability. There’s something healing about knowing you’re not alone in what you’re going through. It’s like hey, my life sucks too.
Do you think that’s your message to the world? That, “hey you’re not alone?“
Yeah I guess so. I do get a sense of joy knowing that others can relate to my pain or that my music means something to someone else. There’s times when I get messages like “hey dude, listening to your music helped me get through a really bad break up” or “I was really depressed the other day but listening to your music helped.” Sometimes I just want to reach out to those people and start a community or a camp. A place we’re people can open up and not be judged. That’s how the world should be anyway ’cause everyone’s going through something but people get hurt and forget that.
“I’m not looking for fans exactly. I’m looking for people I can relate to but in the back of my mind I guess I’m also trying to prove to my Mom that I’m not a total loser.”– Bobby sweet
Bobby Sweet aka ‘BOYSTELLLIES’ is an artist with the potential to become the next internet sensation. The only thing holding him back is his mindset and his own self doubt.
After speaking to Bobby over the phone for just under an hour, I realised he was a very bright, imaginative, self-aware and quite unique person. Delving into his eccentric mind really felt like journeying into a different world. We talked about a lot of things outside of music that I didn’t include in the written Interview because Bobby asked me not to. Again, I didn’t approach him as a journalist or a writer, just a fan. I suggested that he post this on his website, Sadtigerclub so that others could read it and gain some insight into his character as well. He agreed and so here we are. My final take on Bobby is just as the title says, If he can somehow manage to overcome his mental hurdles and self doubt, I do in fact believe he is soon going to be on everyone’s radar.
Check out his latest releases here: Bobby Sweet | Free Listening on SoundCloud