Y2K nostalgia is all around us. From the resurgence of Juicy Couture tracksuits to the appearance of TRL chart-toppers as samples in today’s top 40 hits, it’s easy to miss the joy of the early 2000s. Enter BOI BAND, a queer music group out of LA that captures the charm of the boy bands we loved as teens while elevating the genre with a dash of modern swagger.
I spoke with the members of BOI BAND as they prepared for the final day of shooting the music video for their first original single. Spanning the spectrum of gender identity and reflecting a racial diversity fans could have only imagined 20 years ago, BOI BAND is Sonya (she/her), Mik (they/them), Kayden (they/them), Coda (she/her), and DJ Livewire (she/her).
When Sonya founded the band, her goal was to have fun and, hopefully, enjoy the rush of screaming women cheering her on from the crowd. BOI BAND played covers, taking the stage at Dinah Shore, SheFest, and the DTLA Proud Festival while delivering the best parts of classic boy bands: fun choreography, cute members, and flirtatious smiles for adoring fans. Sonya explains, “We wanted to be a fun performance group and play to Pride audiences, but having met some amazing people along the way, we thought, ‘Hey, maybe we could do originals.’”
And so they are. An independent operation, everyone has a skill that helps move BOI BAND forward. Kayden and Coda produce, Mik is a songwriter, DJ Livewire is the band DJ, and Sonya leads them all. Unlike other musical artists, their goal isn’t to land a massive record deal. DJ Livewire says, “We try to stay true to boy bands, but we’re discovering that we have more to add to it. At the end of the day we want to be authentic to LGBT culture and ourselves.” In fact, BOI BAND’s goal as a band is to “inspire love, visibility, and acceptance.”
That’s already happening. Fans reach out to tell the band that they feel less alone simply because of BOI BAND’s existence, and three of its members discussed the band’s impact in helping to love, accept, and present themselves more fully too. Coda, who’s been in the music industry for a while says that BOI BAND has “given me space to be more of my true self.”
Kayden, who is bigender, explains that the support of BOI BAND has created a safe space to explore their gender. They say, “[Since joining] I feel like I found myself.”
Mik echoed that sentiment, explaining that after 10 years of being out, BOI BAND has given them a home. Mik elaborates, saying, “I can finally be myself in every way.”
BOI BAND are more than a homage to the music we loved in the early aughts: They are a glowing example of the power of finding a queer chosen family, and they are inviting us in with open arms.