Cadenza profile: David Boyd of New Politics talks band’s origins and success
For casual fans, it may seem like New Politics came out of nowhere last summer with the success of their delightfully dance-y single, “Harlem.” Along with this meteoric rise came tours with high-profile artists (including Fall Out Boy and Pink), late-night talk show appearances and substantial radio play. But New Politics went through a lot to get to where they are now. Boyd started New Politics five years ago in Copenhagen with his friend Soren Hansen, now the guitarist and backing vocalist. The band became popular in Denmark, eventually landing a deal with RCA Records. That’s when the whirlwind journey really began.
Boyd stated, “We had the opportunity to sign this major deal with Sony; we never expected that in a million years. And the minute that happens, you just pack your bags and you go.” So the group picked up and moved to New York City, where it finished its self-titled debut album and immediately went on tour. During this transitory period, former drummer Poul Amaliel left the band and returned to Denmark. He was replaced by Louis Vecchio, a Long Island native, and the lineup has remained the same since.
The trio achieved moderate success with its punk-inspired 2010 single, “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” but the band was still struggling. “We had no fans; we had no experience,” Boyd said. “In the first year and a half, all we did was touring. Then we recorded the second album, and that’s where the roller coaster ride really started because eventually, we ran out of money. We felt the hardness of America, you know, living off of ramen and white rice. Especially coming from Denmark, where that would never be the case since it’s a social state…it was a hard thing just knowing that we could jump on a plane and never have to face the same problems.”
That rough transition served as inspiration for the band’s second album, 2013’s “A Bad Girl in Harlem.” As Boyd explained, “[To get inspired], you have to get involved. You have to feel; you have to touch; you have to be a part of something; you have to have something to say. And we had trouble doing that because we were out of money…eventually, when we hit rock bottom and we had nothing to lose, that’s when we started writing and just started living in the condition we were in…We accepted it; we were in this good place, and all these great songs started coming in.”
And great songs they were. Breakout single “Harlem” helped launch the band last year, and now its latest single, “Tonight You’re Perfect,” is climbing the charts. Meanwhile, New Politics are in the middle of their first headlining tour since the release of “A Bad Girl in Harlem.”
“Seeing fans that are singing your songs and they’re there to see you…it’s insane,” Boyd said of their headlining experience. “It’s just such an incredible acknowledgement to see all this hard work and struggle paying off.”
New Politics put on some incredibly high-energy shows, thanks in part to Boyd’s impressive onstage acrobatics and break dancing. In fact, Boyd got his start in dance, performing on the streets of Copenhagen before working his way up to doing background dancing and appearing in commercials. Boyd and the band have come a long way since then, but dance is still an important part of their live performances.
Tomorrow, New Politics will be bringing that infectious energy to St. Louis when they perform at the Firebird. (“I really like St. Louis, actually. I remember you guys have an amazing barbecue joint,” Boyd mentioned, referencing Pappy’s Smokehouse.) After that, the band’s schedule is jam-packed with shows for the next several months, including a summer arena tour with Fall Out Boy and Paramore. Although the group still finds time to write songs—“Soren [Hansen] and I are always trying to write new stuff,” Boyd said—for now, New Politics is concentrating on touring.
“We know now that we have a show where we’re selling out venues and the crowd is there to see us and sing along and meet us,” said Boyd. “It means so much to us because this is what we’ve asked for and what we’ve been working for so hard.”
Catch New Politics on the Harlem USA Tour Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Firebird.