Bogan Via Looks to the Past While Moving On to L.A.
Like the ornamental desert flower from which the band gets it name (but not its spelling), Bogan Via's Bret William Bender and Madeline Miller seemingly are everywhere this spring, but for a limited time only.
Recently, the Phoenix synth-pop duo relocated to Los Angeles, the global-domination capital of the world. Surely, you know this happens to every successful band that curries favor in Europe and Canada, so hopefully you've been prepared for the notion that Bogan Via is seeing other people now. And besides, the group is leaving you with some lovely parting gifts to fill the gap between visits — namely, a show at Crescent Ballroom with Griswold and Luna Aura and a just-released EP called Madly.
Unlike on past recorded efforts, where their Euro-synth sounds were submerged beneath hip-hop beats and indie-folk stylings, the polyphonic pair seem to have done a Daft Punk and fully embraced the '80s. First, there's the brilliant Patrick Nagel-meets-Andy-Warhol artwork (by Danie Plott and Mark Gabriel Laos) of a woman sizing up an engagement ring, a nagging reminder that size is indeed everything. Then you have the infectious title track, in which Miller offers Electric Light Orchestra-esque rejoinders to the Cocteau Twin-ish "Runnin" and, finally, "Feeling Alright," which, if you wanna relive '80s excess at full tilt, has two radical different remixes by Holy Coast and Database. Also, remixes by Total Recluse and Terminal 11 have appeared online.
As for finally being ready for the Reagan decade, Bender says, "We feel like the '80s have been bubbling under the surface for all music lately. More and more artists are embracing synths and that poppy electronic sound, which takes the music to that wonderful '80s vibe. This EP is completely synthesized compared to [the band's 2012 EP] Wait Up, which thrived on more of a 50-50 acoustic-to-synth ratio. It certainly wasn't intentional, but I think in the back of our minds we wanted to make songs that people could dance to and get excited about at shows."
Demonstrating just how far their popularity has soared, the pair recorded the aforementioned "Runnin" (their misspelling, not ours) in Scandinavia. The song features Kirstine Stubbe Teglbjærg, singer for Danish ethereal dream pop band Blue Foundation.
"Jesper at PG Sounds, based out of Denmark, had reached out to us to license our music in Scandinavia and was then a big help in putting together some of our tour dates," Miller says. "While we were in Denmark, he arranged for us to meet up with Kirstine for a co-writing session. None of us had anything planned and the goal was to write and record something in a day — more like eight hours. Despite being very nervous, we became fast friends and ended up writing 'Runnin' together."
Bogan Via just wrapped up shooting on a new video for "Runnin." Past videos like "Gatsy" and "Kanye" have seen Bender shot by Miller at close range and Miller tied to a chair, doused with gasoline, and burned. A Facebook post showed a photo of an apartment with a cheery "Happy Birthday" sign hanging, and you can probably guess what sort of danger the duo faces in close proximity to helium balloons, birthday candles, and a canister of highly flammable Silly String.
"Our bloodthirsty fans will be disappointed to know that we have definitely chosen a more innocent and frivolous feel for this one," Bender says. "The story follows a janitor working the night shift at a used car lot."
Bogan Via is scheduled to perform Friday, June 5, at Crescent Ballroom.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.