Saara Untracht-Oakner, Glenn Van Dyke and Chase Noelle make up BOYTOY — an all-woman band of skater, surfer-chicks who play wavy rock n’ roll.
BOYTOY was the brain child of Saara and Glenn who had previously been in bands that broke up. Saara went to BU, where she played with You Can Be A Wesley, and Glenn was in Brooklyn playing with Beast Make Bomb, who enjoyed prominent indie fame in 2011.
The two got together back in New York and formed BOYTOY in 2014 with two alternating drummers, Matthew Aidala and Dylan Ramsey.
The band’s prolific churning of singles, shows and videos have gained them quite a fan base and in summer 2016 they went on their first European tour, this time as an all-woman band with Chase Noelle as their drummer. They are launching their 7” EP, Putty tonight at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. Don’t worry if you aren’t around, they will be touring the country as they make their way to L.A.
I asked Saara how the transition to be being an all-woman band felt and she said, “The boys were also great. But it feels really powerful to be all women and command a room with strong female energy.” I wince at my own question, knowing full well that people don’t ask all dude bands about the nature of their “all dude-ness,” which Glenn addresses in her answer: “People would tell us for the longest time how we should “get a girl drummer,” like there was some drummer store we could walk in and be like ‘Hi, um where’s the hot chick aisle?’ It definitely feels powerful to have a female trio, since it’s still seemingly shocking for some people to witness women with bravado and skill and drive. We never wanted to choose a member based on gender bias. Having a female drummer just for sex appeal is like putting salt in a wound. We played with dudes for awhile because they were our friends and were talented. Then a ripper named Mickey, who also happens to be female, came around and we played with her in New York for the summer. She has her own projects though and couldn’t tour, so when Chase came about it was the perfect storm. I don’t tend to think about how were all female, it’s just how it happened to work out for us in the womb. It is fun though to travel around and watch small minds get expanded, it feels like we’re doing our part.”
Sara says the band just wants to “make people happy and excited and want to groove.” In an interview with Free Radio Brooklyn, she tells Peter Arriaga that what they’re making is “in essence, pop music” and she wants people to move at their shows. What they aspire to is lunchbox status; “to have To have just as much weird merch as KISS. They have lunchboxes, we want lunchboxes.” And I would definitely buy one, so maybe it isn’t a pipe-dream after all.
In the same interview, Saara revealed that their next album will feature some bass — unheard of on the previous albums — payed by Lena Simon of La Luz.
The girls can often be spotted skating through Brooklyn, “We bring our skateboards on tour and surf whenever we stop in spots with waves. Chase skates too! It’s nice to move our bodies after sitting in a car for so long.” I asked Saara if this intimidates fellow dudes to which she succinctly replied, “Maybe some guys do it that’s dumb. We all grew up with mostly guy friends and there were barely any girls skating and surfing when I was young so we’re all used to having our guy skate crews, but It’s mega awesome to roll around with a bunch of badass chicks.” For Glenn it’s more, “of a means of bonding. When you all surf and skate you have something to do together and inspiration to draw from.”
When it comes to touring the band prefers, “Warm places—Puerto Rico knows how to party. So does Miami. They dance well in France and they feed you well in Italy.” Or “Anywhere where people aren’t too cool to move around,” as Glenn puts it.
On a typical tour day, the band spends most of their time “driving, probably some stretching and planks in the morning. Eating a bunch of arugula and bananas and peanut butter and grapefruits. Loading in and sound checking once we get to the venue in the afternoon usually. And then hanging around until we play. If we’re lucky the drive is short and we can get some good food somewhere, find somewhere to swim or a friend’s couch to sit on.” And a lot of peeing, Glenn’s list was mostly pee.
Tour dates below:
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