by Elena Gritzan
David Vanden Enden, who makes heart-on-his-sleeve electropop as boyBITCH, was browsing facebook when he came across a quote that spoke volumes to him. “The guy was like, ‘when you’re angry, do your art. When you’re happy, do your art. When your dogs run away, do your art. When someone has died, do your art.’ Basically, in all of your life circumstances, no matter what, do your art .. We always have excuses, artists are notorious for having every excuse in the book for not doing it … And it’s like, wait a minute, doesn’t doing art make you feel like you want to live?”
Vanden Enden clearly has a strong need to create and express through his art, though this past month has been a bit of a challenge in terms of actually sitting down and doing so. For one, his broken computer acts as a physical barrier in the way of recording. “The fan now sounds like it’s going to take off,” he says. “It’s going to fly out the window.”
There’s also his recent start at a full time executive assistant job to which the initial adjustment caused a great deal of stress. “It sort of messed me up for a little bit,” Vanden Enden says. “Messed me up in the sense that it was more stress than I imagined it would be, like way more stress … everything went on hold.”
Long hours can be draining, especially when they keep you away from something you love to do. But Vanden Enden realized that you can make art whatever your circumstances, it just takes a little bit of decluttering of the unimportant things. “[My boyfriend] gave me these two books. One is about physical clutter in your life, but he also ties it into the emotional clutter in the book. But the other book is relationship clutter. … I’ve been looking a lot at my life, like what is clutter? … What is occupying your space?”
He is now able to mentally separate his work life from everything else, allowing a return to something that really matters: his art. “I’m feeling like getting back into my music, which is a good sign. I’m starting to feel like myself again.”
The last time I spoke with Vanden Enden, he mentioned that boyBITCH’s second album would be out this summer. That plan still stands, with a tentative release date in August. Written mostly in the past four months, the album will serve as “a snapshot. It’s a more accurate [picture] of what I’m feeling in the moment.” It includes a few love songs, as well as “Bitch Slap”, a song presumably every bit as sassy as the title suggests.
Vanden Enden is extremely excited to share his new work with the world (only producer and collaborator Elijah Lucian is able to rein in his urge to immediately shout “Everyone, check it out!”). A lot more technical work has gone into these songs than the debut, with “a lot of vocal layering” and three-part harmonies. “I suppose the work is showing, because the more time you put into these tracks, the nicer they are,” he says. “It just takes more time, right? I hate to say it, but I guess I get bored with some of the technical stuff of music, like having to sing something again and again.” Though he is noticing that it is now easier to memorize his own lyrics, and the time effort has audible pay-offs. “It sounds really good,” he says.
The album is almost done, and Vanden Enden is already thinking about how best to share it, including talking to publicists and applying for grants, even if it comes down to hiring someone to help him through the process. “I think at the end of your lifetime and your music career, if you can say, you know what, I went through a phase where I tried. I took my music, I took what I was doing, I put some money into it, I invested into it. And maybe it didn’t take off the way I wanted, but at least I damn well tried.”
With the imminence of his sophomore album, and a potential weekend tour with Make Haste, boyBITCH may just take over your summer. Get a head start by catching him live (also with Make Haste!) this Sunday at Handlebar for our second co-presentation with Crosswires.