Being Bougie with The Bougies

[boo-jee, -zhee, boo-zhee]

adjective
1. aspiring to be a higher class than one is.
2. a wax candle

Words: Raelyn Batacan
Photos courtesy of Mark Galacgac

When I was given the opportunity to interview and feature The Bougies, I was super excited. So when I met up with three of four members, I had to keep my fangirling under control.

Unfortunately the lead guitarist, Josh, wasn’t available to make it but I got to learn more from Kelly, drums, and Joy, bass, who told me all about how they started, what they sound like and things they have coming up for the band. Although Jordan, vocals and guitar, had to owe the band $24 for being 24 minutes late, we had a great time.

How did you start becoming a band?
Kelly: Our parents bought us instruments for Christmas! My mom bought me a Casio keyboard because it was on sale and my brother got a guitar. It’s funny that we got it as adults. Then we said, “Hey, let’s write a song for the KCC Talent Show,” and I was actually singing and playing guitar and my brother was on the keyboard. That was like the most terrifying experience. After that we switched it up, I did keyboard and he did guitar and sang. We started doing open mics and it all snowballed form there. My brother loves Craigslist and so that’s where he found our first guitarist and then we started doing shows. Then we met Joy… we all knew each other from school.
Joy: Yeah, they were like hey you have a good look! You should be in our band. So I said, “I need a change, I need a hobby, okay, yeah I’ll learn the bass.” I was really bad at it.
Kelly: We never learned how to play our instruments. I YouTubed a lot of drums stuff.

Who do you guys sound like?
Kelly: Top three we get a lot is The Strokes…
Joy: Best Coast.
Kelly: People say he (Jordan) sounds like Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins. They all happen to be our major influences. If that’s your next question. We’re heavy into rock because our dad listened to 80’s rock, like Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins. We basically started when we got our instruments.

How much time would you guys spend practicing?
Joy: It’s been a lot more lately. We’re the world’s laziest band, haha.
Kelly: Yeah we’ve been told we needed to get our act together. Since the summer, we’ve been killing it. We’re so much more motivated. Like our west coast tour, we were totally stoked about that. Two opportunities came up on the island to make music videos came up and we were given the advice to take the advantage of those opportunities first. Best advice we got right now is to stay here and the guy who’s offering to produce it is willing to do it pro bono; we just have to pay for the equipment. He’s like “I believe in you guys so much.” So we said, “Okay, let’s focus on it.” We pushed back the tour and we want this music video to be massive.

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[Pictured: Kelly (on drums) and Joy (on bass) exchange smiles during an acoustic set at Mori.] 

Have you ever done Battle of the Bands?
Kelly: When my brother and I first started up. I think it’s the first year we started the band. It was like Battle of The Bands. [The promoter] bamboozled us man! His pitch was you get to play in the SXSW festival. You have to sell 500 tickets or pay $500 to play. There was a winner and the band had to pay their own ticket and it happened to be not in the SXSW festival; it was like a small bar. I think the band tried to put a lawsuit against the guy. That discouraged us too, especially when we just started.

Where do you guys practice?
Kelly: Predominately Makakilo, My dad’s house. We make a lot of noise up there.
Joy: Sometimes when we have to do some last minute practice before a show, we practice at Jolt studios. Right across from HCC. It’s nice having like a satellite practice area.

Describe the process of coming up with a song.
Kelly: Basically we each individually write lyrics. Jordan decides if they’re good enough. We basically send him all our poems.
Kelly: If you listen to our lyrics, it’s all about girls.
Joy: We all like girls. It’s the one thing we all have in common.
Kelly: Yeah it’s all about girls. It’s either about breaking up or you know the bad the good. Someone you never even talked to or just looked at from a distance. We write lyrics and my brother comes up with the melody. He’s pretty much the mastermind. He’ll start singing or paying the guitar. It depends. He’ll work with Joy first for a guitar and bass part or he’ll work with me.
Jordan: Yeah it kind of just happens and I hear a beat in my head I’m usually humming it. If I’m really busy, I’ll use my phone to record it then I’ll translate it to my guitar. I’ll do my part with vocals and guitars after that I’ll work with Kelly, then Joy comes in. We don’t jam like a band it’s usually like adding parts. Band practice for us is just practice, no jamming. It usually ends with our lead guitaritst.
Kelly: He’s a crazy guitarist. He’ll just add in some crazy stuff and he’ll spruce up the song.

How does it feel to have your first EP out?
Kelly: It took us like a year to release. When it was done, we were just like, “Wow, I never thought the day would come.” We’re glad to have it out.
Jordan: I personally don’t care about the EP.
Joy: What do you mean?!
Jordan: I just like playing.
Kelly: Oh, what he means is he doesn’t like whole process of recording. He just likes to play shows.
Jordan: Yeah, I don’t like the business part. I just like the partying part, playing shows. They take care of everything else and I take care of the music part.

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[Pictured: Jordan takes the lead at an acoustic set at Mori.] 

Why is it called The Bougies?
Kelly: Well it’s like an inside joke my brother and I still do. “Why are you so Bougie?” “ Stop being so Bougie.” Every time we say something really snooty or catch ourselves doing something snooty we’d say “OMG you’re so Bougie.” So it was perfect, we’ll name our band The Bougies.
Jordan: Some people pronounce it as ‘buji’ and it’s like Korean slang for vagina.
Kelly: Bougie is also candle in French.

The Bougies have started their Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for their upcoming music videos. Some of their kickstarter rewards range from The Bougies stickers, a haircut by bassist Joy, going on a date with one of the members to a private show. Check out their Kickstarter here! Want to listen more of their music? Click here for their Soundcloud. They’ll also be opening up for Echosmith on August 5 at the Republik, and at our Flow Show: Summer Edition on August 8 at 801 South Street. Like them on Facebook to keep updated on their upcoming shows.

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