Musician Lostboycrow on the making of his sophomore album Santa Fe
A year ago, Lostboycrow’s tour van arrived in Berkeley, California after a long, morning drive. The Los-Angeles-based singer was finally back on the west coast, but his North American tour wasn’t over yet. After a brief respite at a vegan restaurant and a vegan tempeh tuna melt dinner, Lostboycrow returned to the van to unload equipment and prepare for that night’s show. His tour may be ending, but he has much more on the way, including a second album.
After 10 years pursuing music, from high school garage bands to solo hip-hop ventures, the Oregonian singer has discovered his own unique sound, a blend of hip-hop, electronic, pop, and and alternative. Lostboycrow is now a seasoned traveler, having released his debut album, Traveler, in three E.P. installments, and embarking on two separate North American tours, each with 17 dates. His music video for “Real Name,” which premiered on Billboard this year, has received over 100,000 views. His following is small, but devout and growing. His Instagram has 11,100 followers, and he is verified by a blue check mark.
His upcoming second album, titled Santa Fe, is a stark contrast to Traveler, says the Los Angeles-based singer. Compared to the collaborative nature of Traveler, Santa Fe was written mostly by Lostboycrow on the guitar. “I wanted it to feel like the music was coming from that special place inside me,” he explained.
Lostboycrow grew up in Tualatin, a suburban town outside Portland, Oregon. His spare time was spent playing street hockey with his dad and the other neighborhood kids. In high school he was an avid basketball player, until his friends’ passion for music piqued his interest. “My friends grew their hair out and started bands and I just thought that was cool,” said Lostboycrow. “I started growing out my hair and stopped caring about basketball tryouts.” His trademark long hair has only recently been cut back to shoulder-length.
The Oregon native played in multiple garage rock bands in high school. “We did shop at hot topic, we did straighten our hair,” Lostboycrow laughed. The most serious of these garage projects was Reign the Arcade, a surf-rock sounding band. “I remember playing the shittiest, greasiest venues and paying to play there,” recalled the singer. “We didn’t make it out past the garage too much.”
Traveler, Lostboycrow’s debut album, is filled with upbeat and danceable electronic and r&b tracks. “A lot of the Traveler stuff was recorded kind of here or there, very stretched out,” explained Lostboycrow. “It’s just kind of the way music in general was being made and is being made still,” he laughed. “Unfortunately.” Santa Fe is a more intentional project. “For me as an artist and as a storyteller it helps me tell a certain story,” explained the singer. “That’s what’s cool about albums, they’re chapters.”
Lostboycrow’s genre-spanning sound would not be possible without Dylan Bauld, producer and bassist in the alternative band Flor. Bauld produced pop singer Halsey’s debut album Badlands. He says Traveler is one of his favorite productions. Bauld first met Lostboycrow through Flor’s drummer, who had attended the same high school as future singer. “Basically he set us up on a date,” laughed Bauld. The two met at the North Hollywood diner. Lostboycrow, at the time known as Chris, showed Bauld demos in his car afterward. “I was blown away by his voice,” said Bauld. Chris’ voice effortlessly flutters from falsetto to lower registers, and this ability is showcased throughout his repertoire.
The two have since collaborated on a variety of projects, including writing for other artists including Bea Miller. Discussing Santa Fe, Bauld explained. “It’s a lot more experimental sonically. He’s trying something new with this album.” One of the most recent collaborations between the two will appear on Santa Fe and likely be released as a single. “It’s one of the weirdest tracks that I’ve made,” said Bauld. “But it somehow works, because he’s on it.”
The rising star stands out for his enigmatic presence and self-proclaimed identity, as explained in his song “Real Name.” He sings, “Real name, what’s your real name? You can be whatever you want to when it’s all your stage.” In “Real Name” Lostboycrow shares his contemplation of past and present, and his search to find himself. “I just don’t enjoy the phrase ‘real name,’” explained Lostboycrow. “My parents named me Christopher and people can do with that what they will.”