AU's Student-Run Internet-Only Radio


AU's Student-Run Internet-Only Radio


AU's Student-Run Internet-Only Radio


“Dreamy and Weird and Pink:” Interview with Ari Voxx & the Sad Lads

Ari Voxx and the Sad Lads opened up WVAU’s fall 2023 Capitol Boogie. Photo by Ben Austin.

Before their performance at WVAU’s Capitol Boogie, Ari Voxx & the Sad Lads sat down in the WVAU studio to discuss their creative process, the inside scoop on the D.C. music scene and their next record.

It’s been a few years since the inception of Ari Voxx & the Sad Lads. In 2020, Voxx posted a Craigslist advertisement searching for band members. Ryan Boshart had moved from New York as the world was on pause.

“Eventually, I got desperate enough to stalk Craigslist,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jegug Ih was living in Korea for the summer when he began to look for a new project.

“I think I sent you a video of the old band performing,” Ih said to Voxx. “And plus a bunch of electronic ambient music. And then you thought for some reason I was cool enough to join the band.”

And so, Ari Voxx & the Sad Lads was born.

The band released “I’m Okay, Please Stop Asking” (2023) in August. It’s their first full-length record and moves between themes of depression, longing, belonging, heartbreak and failed relationships. Voxx described the record as “a descent into madness or darkness.”

Voxx recalled that the beginning of the record, which opens with a song called “Flamingo,” is poppy, shiny and glittery. But by the final song, “I’m Not Okay,” the album is much darker. Voxx said the final track “is about turning into a monster, but in reality, you know, succumbing to alcoholism and depression and all that.”

Voxx sketched out most of “I’m Okay, Please Stop Asking” a year before the band began recording. In the beginning of the songwriting process, Voxx sent songs with the vocal melody with background vocals accompanied by a sketch on the guitar or keys to the band members. As they listened, the Sad Lads changed and added elements to the song.

The band recorded the drums in a studio and then retreated to “our own home studio caves” to record their parts, Boshart and Ih said.

“We built it up in a style that we thought, ‘Oh, that’d be like, novel for what Ari was doing here,’ or ‘This would be interesting and would gel well with what Ari was trying to do here,’” Boshart said.

Ih’s favorite tracks are “Lucid” and “Playing Pretend,” while Voxx’s are “Black Grass” and “I’m Not Okay.”

“We’re post-music,” Voxx joked, but the band draws inspiration from the Cocteau Twins, Imogen Heap, and Frou Frou.

“The reason that Ari and I gelled in the first place was kind of our love of Cocteau Twins,” Boshart said.

Earlier this year, Voxx had a residency at U Street’s iconic venue DC9, where the band put on a Halloween cover show.

“They let us have run of the venue,” Boshart said. “They let us use their projector, they let us set up a tarot card reading station in the green room. They let us decorate the venue ourselves. They really let us make it feel like it was our event that we were throwing rather than just the band that sound checks, shows up and plays.”

DC9 is the band’s favorite venue in the district.

Boshart said that compared to New York, “D.C.’s music community feels like a community. People are hustling for good gigs and they’re hustling to meet really interesting people. But it’s not this scarcity mentality where like, if you’re playing, then somebody else can’t play.”

“D.C., it’s a city, but it kind of feels more like a small town,” Voxx reflected. In the music community, everybody knows everybody. “People pretty much uplift each other for the most part whenever they can.”

“I just want to create a world, a community, a multiverse of little sad weirdos like me,” Voxx said. “You don’t need words to convey feeling and emotion and connection with people. Just like transporting yourself into another world where like, everything’s okay, you can be who you are. It could be dreamy and weird and pink.”

The next album will be called “The Creature From the Pink Lagoon.” It will be horror themed, electronic and “a little more dancey,” Voxx said. “You’ll just have to see.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All WVAU Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *