Most pop records explore romantic breakdowns in very visceral, personal terms. But The Project Generation, the new concept album from Las Vegas duo Boiis, paints a much bigger picture of heartache—specifically, how an individual projects their distress onto its community—in ways that mirror the troubles of life in 2018.
“It’s a journey,” Boiis vocalist/keyboardist Steele James says. “We go into heartbreak in a relationship and how that stems into social issues, like how when you’re unhappy with yourself, that [might make you] want to cause harm on others.”
Boiis (pronounced boy) began writing its latest album in 2014, immediately after the release of its debut LP Explicit Youth. Rooted in ’80s pop—the duo is influenced by Janet and Michael Jackson, Depeche Mode, Prince and Phil Collins—and written and produced by James and recorded at the Tone Factory by Vinnie Castaldo, The Project Generation recounts a single day and all of its emotional ups and downs. On a personal level, it broaches themes of fear, loneliness, rejection and loss. On a grander scale, it addresses suicide, domestic abuse, racism and more.
“We wanted to make sure we were doing it from the heart and coming from a compassionate place,” Steele says. “Your actions affect others.”
The pair thought out every detail, from The Project Generation’s black and white, film noir-inspired visual representation to the video for “Skin,” a song that deals with race disparities in America. Boiis’ poppy, cinematic production could easily lend itself to film or TV—mediums to which the pair aspire to license their music.
But the pair’s biggest objective with the new album is how it might positively affect listeners. Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1812 deeply resonated with James during his adolescence. Boiis hopes The Project Generation could help even one person in the same way. “We wanted to make sure we impacted someone or something to make a change in the world,” James says. “To take action and to stand up, not only for your own rights, but for people who don’t have a voice. I think that’s the main goal.” boiismusic.com