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GENRE IS DEAD! Interview: Beauty School Dropout On Working With Their Idols, Bringing People Together, And Living Their Rock And Roll Dreams

GID: That’s what you want to hear. People coming together and enjoying awesome music, especially since we’re coming out of this period of no shows. You see how people are hungry to get out there again and just have a good time with other fans and make that connection with other people.

B: It’s so important. At the end of the day, you can make the records, but how does it translate live? Creating that culture is important too. That’s where people stay and that’s really all we want to do. We want to create that culture where if you come to a BSD show you don’t what you’re gonna get, but you know it’s gonna be fucking wild!

CH: You’re gonna get it!

B: You’re gonna get something and we’re gonna double your money in value right there. We’re all about value here.

CH: Stonks are rising!

GID: You guys are selling me on the show! You gotta head over to Chicago so we can hang out.

B: Oddly enough Chicago has been our biggest listenership for like the past two years.

CH: There are a lot of people requesting a Chi-town show. That needs to happen.

B: I think we should just go to Chicago tomorrow and rip one in the streets.

BB: It’s also funny that we have that “Chicago Freestyle” cover. It’s so ironic that that’s our big listenership.

GID: Well, hit me up next time you’re in town. Let’s talk about the new album, We Made Plans And God Laughed, which just came out. What was the experience like making a full record versus when you made and released the Boys Do Cry EP?

B: Very different. We worked with a lot of people on this one. Boys Do Cry was pretty much just us and then we brought everything to Jason Aalon Butler of Fever 333 and he brought in Zack Jones to do additional correction stuff on it but largely the EP was us. With this project, we really started opening up to other producers and other writers. It was very collaborative, and we worked with some really cool people, like [All Time Low’s] Alex Gaskarth who wrote the title track with us, Dan Book, and Andrew Goldstein who’s super well known in the industry; he works with Machine Gun Kelly. And obviously, Mark is a big part of it.

BB: It’s funny we did “Fight Mode” with the Hot Chelle Rae boys, which is such a funny juxtaposition. They’re so pop. They’ve got their finger on the pop stuff and then we’re like let’s write something heavy.

B: Our heaviest song, the mosh pit national anthem, which is what people call it nowadays, is “Fight Mode” and it’s written by Hot Chelle Rae. (Laughs) We would have it no other way. The collaboration is great. It opens up so many doors for that kind of weird stuff to come out. Little known fact, but Alex Gaskarth technically named the album. We had the idea of we made plans and God laughed and he was like that would be a sick album title and we fully pocketed it. You don’t really get that unless you’re in rooms with other people. We love it. We love collaboration.

GID: Listening to the album, I love how high energy and upbeat it is. I’m loving all these dirty guitars I’m hearing, and it makes me think of the age-old debate of rock is dead. It seems every few years we get an old-school rocker spouting this and listening to an album like this, it’s certainly not true. But an argument can be made that the genre can get a bit stale. What does Beauty School Dropout hope to bring to the rock scene?

CH: I think it’s truly the next generation of this scene. There’s definitely a lot of artists floating around within the rock space right now, but I feel there’s a separation in the way that everyone’s killing it, but so on their own wave. For us, we’re about cultivating in mass and bringing people together and doing that whole thing. Even last night, that was the first show we ever had openers and it was the coolest thing ever. To be able to curate and be tastemakers in the space, that’s a big thing for us. Doing that at scale, growing, and doing what we want to do – like we’ve talked about doing a traveling circus, yet to be named, maybe the Drop Out Bazaar. Things like that where we’re contributing to the culture as a whole.

BB: I also think we want to bring an energy that isn’t really present yet. I feel like rock got stale because it got safe. What bores me about rock right now is it’s so safe. Not to be mean, but everyone is so boring. I haven’t been to many rock shows except for legacy acts I already love. I want to be blown away and I want to be that for people. If I don’t see it, then I might as well just do it myself.

B: That’s not to say there aren’t those crushing it. I feel really grateful a lot of our friends are those people that are really crushing it like grandson, Fem, Royal & the Serpent, Jaden, and Quinton Griggs. There’s plenty more I’m not mentioning, but it’s just the homies doing cool freaky stuff and it’s new. Good music is always gonna beat out everything else. I think that’s the key, just make good stuff. Rock is like a mindset in a way too. It doesn’t have to be just one thing. It can be grungy, whatever it is.

BB: Rappers are the biggest rockstars bro, straight up! They’re just doing it better right now and they have been for a while, so it’s time to merge the two and let everyone be rockstars.

CH: Be on that rock and roll shit.

GID: That’s what I love about rock music right now. More and more artists are starting to tear down those barriers and really explore new sounds or mixing styles you would never expect. A great example is Turnstile’s last album, GLOW ON, which had jazz and Latin salsa all over it. That openness keeps it fresh.

BB: Yeah definitely. Turnstile is the best in the game right now. We look up to them.

CH: Turnstile and Bring Me the Horizon set the bar. And Fever 333. They’re absolutely up there. Jason is the best frontman ever.

GID: This is why it’s weird that people think rock is dead just because it’s not in the mainstream consciousness, but the bands are there. Just because they’re not mainstream doesn’t mean there’s not good rock music.

CH: I feel like rock is still finding its footing because it’s kind of like that separation we talked about. The only real artist going number one right now with rock is MGK who’s already at celebrity status and then the Red Hot Chili Peppers who are the biggest legacy act there is. It’s kind of funny. I think things will start to turn around some more in favor of the genre when there’s that roots artist on the come-up who has that song go off and it’s like oh wow, this is it!

B: Having a scene is big. If there’s a culture around it and the culture is adopted by the masses, that’s what people care about. Then all of a sudden everyone starts going number one, going mainstream. It’s that thing where if you want it to go number one, it has to go mainstream. People shit on it if it goes mainstream but that’s how it works, unfortunately.

CH: Oh, you sold out for succeeding!

B: When you think about it when Blink was going number one and My Chemical Romance and all those bands we grew up on, think about what people were wearing. Think about what was big – Hot Topic and the whole culture around it. That’s what young people were into, and I think it’s creating a culture within the young generation. That’s the most important thing. So, we’re just trying to do our part with that and also team up with our homies and create that scene. Go out to shows in LA, throw parties, invite everyone. Create something that’s palpable.

GID: I just love the energy and positivity you guys have in the music and even talking to you now. It’s clear you guys just like having fun and playing music.

B: The shows are the best part. That’s the paycheck. The dopamine boost, that’s the best high. We’re not very much into drugs or partying, but shows are the craziest thing. You feel so good.

CH: That is our drug. That is our party.

B: And then we go home and sleep. (Laughs)

GID: To recap, you guys survived the pandemic as a band, you signed to a label, your debut album just dropped, and you’re working with other cool musicians. What do you hope Beauty School Dropout achieves next?

BB: Do I dare say it? Stadiums. (Laughs) That’s the goal honestly. We just want to play for every person on earth. If you like music, then we want to play for you.

B: And if you don’t like music, we really want to play for you. If you don’t like music, let us play for you. That would be a fun show. This show’s only for people who don’t like music. If you like music you’re not allowed to come. You have to answer our questionnaire before you get in. Do you like music? And if you answer yes, you’re not allowed in.

BB: But on the real though, the goal is just to tour as much as possible. Play with bands we love. We just want to play shows. That’s why we do everything to play shows. Do it for the people.

GID: What’s your perfect tour lineup?

CH: Definitely Drizzy Drake

B: Turnstile can headline, we’ll play right after Turnstile and Drake opens. That’s the perfect tour.

B: BSD sandwich! But honestly, we just look up to so many people. Touring with Blink would be sick. We would love that.

BB: I don’t think I’d make it because I would’ve died on the way.

CH: Manifesting. Manifesting the shit out of that!

BB: Touring with Bring Me the Horizon, Turnstile, and Post Malone would be so fun. I think that’s an interesting little combo. YUNGBLUD, Kid Brunswick, Jaden, MGK.

CH: Yo, Jaden, us, and Q. I’ll say that because that would be the dumbest tour!

B: I think selfishly for us offstage that would be the most fun situation ever. Just the shenanigans that would happen on that would be awesome.

CH: Those boys got a spark in them that a lot of people lack, and the connection is deep.

GID: Now that the album’s out, what do you guys have lined up next?

B: On the 23rd we fly to the UK for Reading and Leeds. We’re so gassed about that. Then we play in London and then in Camden. We’re opening for Static Dress at their sold-out show in Camden. Then we have a headline show in London with our friends Mouth Culture. It’s gonna be great.

BB: We’ve got some things we can’t talk about yet, but we will be on the road this fall.

GID: Is Reading and Leeds your festival gig?

B: It is! Pretty cool first festival, so hopefully people are there.

BB: Yeah, out of the 120,000 people that go a day I hope they’re there for us.

B: I think there’ll be people there! I’m stoked! I’m going with the mindset that there’ll be four people in the crowd and if there’s five people then it exceeds expectations.

BB: All of our dads are gonna be there, so that’s three right there. (Laughs)

GID: Let’s end on a random one. If you could be a dinosaur, which one would you be?

CH: I know which one I would be, but I know which one I want to be.

BB: I want to be a little velociraptor because they’re fast.

CH: I’d want to be a t-rex, but I feel like in real life I’d be a pterodactyl.

B: I wanna fly. If I could choose, I’m flying. That would be sick.

BB: That’d be sick!

GID: I’d feel I’d be the same where I’d want to be a t-rex, but I’d probably be a stegosaurus.

B: Stegosaurus are slept on. Those are like the emo dinosaurs.

CH: B would be a Pegasaurus.

BB: Oh no! It’s been a nice interview, I’m out!

We Made Plans And God Laughed is out now. Beauty School Dropout is currently on their UK tour. See where they’re headed next here. And make sure to follow the boys on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and if you want to join the boys live on stage during “Starphucker,” be sure to join their Discord.

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Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on AXS, Chicago Innerview, New City, The Millions, and Illinois Entertainer. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Creeper, and Green Day.

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