Written by: Jennifer Sanchez
In his promising newly-released single, ‘Lonely Boy,’ Boy Bandit comes into his own sound with his dreamy melodies and high-brow lyrics – all while adhering to the familiar bedroom pop scene.
In the midst of quarantine, Rainier Tinkelenberg, the artist behind “Boy Bandit,” has discovered his love for the genre-defying sound of bedroom pop, commonly associated with artists like Boy Pablo, Clairo, and Rex Orange County. The indie-rock influences are present from the very first clear ringing guitar strums, which is quickly followed by the woozy chorus that I’m sure many post-millennials can relate to: “I’m not lonely, I just wanna be alone right now / But you keep blowing up my phone.” Although he continuously claims to need space from his lover, Girl Jacket comes in about halfway through the track and counters his request, saying, “I’ll tell you what I want, you’re the only thing I need / I know you can’t resist, temptation making you weak.” This back and forth perfectly encapsulates the complicated, suffocating nature that can reside in any relationship.
All eyes should be on this has-been barista from the Bay area who is taking bedroom pop in the right direction.
Can you share with us a little bit about your background?
Well, I’m a proud chicano from San Jose. My mom is from Michoacán and my dad is from Holland. I loved growing up with my mom making morisqueta and eating pan dulce con Ibarra leche de chocolate from our local super mercado — but I also love a good burrito, even if it’s not really from Mexico. Music has been part of my life ever since learning trumpet in 6th grade band, and I taught myself guitar in high school listening to Three Days Grace and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. But it wasn’t until my sophomore year when I found out I’m more of a songwriter than guitar player. I convinced my dad to get Propellerhead Reason that year since at the time, Adam Young of Owl City used it. Then later I migrated to using Logic Pro X. Definitely a lot more user friendly and great tool for inspiration. I’ve been writing songs for years. From being a synth player in a hardcore band. To being a lead singer and guitar player in a few indie bands. To now being, I suppose, a bedroom pop artist.
How did the name Boy Bandit come to be?
Ahaha, gosh. It kind of stemmed from an inside joke between some ex coworkers and I when I worked at a coffee shop. You see, I have a bad reputation for going to the bathroom at the worst possible time. Usually during a rush. And man, I can’t help it. Coffee just be doing that kind of thing to me. So from then on out, I was considered the “Bathroom Bandit”. I would usually write on the white board saying, “The Bathroom Bandit strikes again!”. And I believe this was during a time when I was tossing new band name ideas for this indie/emo band I’m in. I believe ‘Boy Pablo’ was playing in my queue at the time, and I usually like to refer to some of my friends as “BB”. So, I guess I got the idea to add “Boy” to “Bandit”. Ultimately giving birth to my new alias. Boy Bandit.
Releasing your first project is a hard task. How did you know when you were ready to put it out?
The isolation of shelter-in-place during Covid-19 was starting to get to me, so I thought it was time to release some music as a solo artist. I was happy with this particular song’s production and flow. So it definitely made the cut.
You just debuted your single “Lonely Boy”. Can you tell us a little about it?
I suppose it’s about needing space from toxic, codependent relationships. Trying to figure myself out, but not being able to successfully do that when I’m being distracted by the temptations blowing up my phone. It makes it hard to move on. So I choose to be alone right now and almost always.
Why did you choose this particular song as the first single?*
Simple. It was the only song out of the few that I was happy with the production and that was actually complete
How have you prepared the release of “Lonely Boy”? What was the most difficult moment of its preparation, especially during this time?
I definitely wanted to release my debut single “the right way”. So, the prep work had to be all about building up some sort of hype and anticipation for the track. Especially for the fact that I did not have anything to show for it. I made a quick acoustic version of it on video and released that on my Instagram to give a little taste of the direction I’m going. Plus landing a little feature on an art blog was a cool surprise to help validate the impending release.
What serves as your biggest inspiration when writing new music?
Honestly, just driving aimlessly around the Bay Area while listening to the jazz channel FM 91.1 helps my inspiration. I usually turn down the radio to a comfortable white noise and then just riff vocal melodies at almost an acapella.
Were there any artists in particular that helped shape this song?
A few, yeah! It all started by getting inspired by this riff that the band ‘Chon’ used. I was thinking, “Yo, that’s sick. I’m gonna try to make that more ‘poppy-er’”. And then came this cool simple solo that the band ‘Inner Wave’ did that was just a slide in and just sitting on one note the whole time. I don’t know why, but for some reason that solo was the coolest solo that I’ve ever heard. So dumb simple. I loved it. But the artist that definitely helped shape this song was ‘Still Woozy’. I just love the way he incorporates little ear candy tidbits in his songs. Everything sounds so phat and phunky. It’s my jam.
As the year is getting closer and closer to an end, what can we expect from Boy Bandit before then?
I’m hoping to release a couple more songs before the year ends for a possible EP later on. Who knows!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Be on the lookout for an ~*aesthetically pleasing*~ music video for ‘Lonely Boy’!
Thanks so much for the time!
No way! Thank YOU so much for this amazing opportunity.
For more on Boy Bandit and his music, follow him on social media.