Cola Boyy is Making Weird Disco That Fits 2018 Like a Glove
And we’re premiering his new track “Buggy Tip” right now.
Lead image courtesy of PR
There are lots of things I thought I’d be doing today. Dragging my feet though the vegetable aisle of Tesco, maybe. Smoking a roll-up on the walk home from work and then immediately regretting it. Glancing at my phone to see if anyone’s replied on Whatsapp. What I didn’t expect, is to be listening to one disco song, over and over again, for fun. Not old, classic disco like Sister Sledge or Sylvester (RIP!). But a new track called “Buggy Tip,” by an artist called Cola Boyy, which we’re premiering below. A track which has all the hallmarks of disco – electro-orchestral shapes, a grooving bassline, some hi-hat shuffles – but also weirder and more psychedelic, with Cola’s nasal Californian twang spread over the beats like peanut butter and jam.
“The first CDs I remember holding in my hand were Jamiroquai’s first record and TLC’s CrazySexyCool,” 28-year-old Cola Boyy – real name Matthew Arango – is telling me over Skype from his home in Oxnard, a “beach town about an hour’s drive north from Los Angeles.” He’s lived in that same house with his parents since he was a kid, something he says is common among people from that area because it’s so expensive. “And then it was N*SYNC and Smash Mouth, all that late 90s and early 00s pop shit,” he continues, closing his eyes and remembering. “I just loved... a good song.” As he got older, though, he shed these pop tastes, learning how to play guitar and drums and performing in punk and indie bands. One of these bands, Sea Lions, released an LP and toured the world, but Cola Boyy eventually started to feel discontented – he wanted to work more on his own stuff, too.
Cola Boyy as a project came into fruition around four years ago. “I was listening to a lot of The Beatles and 70s Paul McCartney, some of which is very disco,” he tells me when I ask how he segwayed from guitar bands to the sweeter sounds he occupies today, “Then I heard this song ‘You’ve Got a Woman’ by a band called Lion, which is psychedelic rock, but very funky. And I thought, ‘wow, I wanna make music like this.’ But I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. I just wanted to write really catchy ass songs.” And so, he started spending hours in his room producing stems and recording demos, trying to craft perfect disco tracks that fit the mould he had in his head. Somewhere along the line he succeeded, and these days he makes tracks that sit somewhere between MGMT or Tame Impala and the glittery sounds of Studio 54-era disco. It’s a weird blend of old and new – but it works.
Cola doesn’t spend all his time making music or playing shows. He’s also heavily involved in activism within his community, and is an active member of the Todo Poder Al Puebo, a collective that fights for immigrants’ rights and speaks out against police brutality in a city that is 80% Hispanic. He’s a member of APOC (Anarchist People of Colour), too, although he says he’s more of a communist. “Me and my homies have many debates over it every time we hang out and drink, it’s pretty funny,” he tells me, laughing. “Most of the members are also involved in the punk scene because it’s a small town, and we all grew up together and went to the same backyard shows and parties. So APOC helps set up free, all-ages punk shows as well.”
Speaking to Cola is nice because he’s the sort of perennially chill person that looks and sounds like they enjoy smoking weed (idk if he does!) and he doesn’t seem to be trying to prove anything to anybody – other than to himself. Earlier this year, he supported MGMT in London, and later this year he’ll be supporting Mac Demarco in LA. When I mention these shows he offers up a casual shrug and smile. “I met [Demarco] a few years back through mutual friends because he lived with them, so we became friends, and see each other here and there. So he asked me to do the show, and I’m excited.”
Other than that, he'll be releasing a debut EP, Black Boogie Neon, on 21st September, before making more music for his debut LP – the latter of which he says he wants to be an extremely collaborative effort. “I really like working with other people,” he tells me, as our conversation comes to an end. “Artists often brag about recording by themselves, but I find that indicative of our individualism, which is a huge part of society under capitalism. It's like yeah that's cool, but you can come up with cooler shit when you have multiple minds working on something, and I want to always come up with that cooler shit.”
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