Over the course of just three albums, Boy Scouts frontperson Taylor Vick has cemented her place as one of the most promising up-and-coming songwriters in the indie folk scene. Her upcoming release Wayfinder finds Vick and her subdued-but-refined backing band continuing to hone their sound, flaunting lush, full-fledged arrangements and sunkissed, nostalgic melodies. The record’s third single, “A Lot to Ask,” ruminates on the commingling of anxiety and community. It juxtaposes introverted neurosis with a warm, golden instrumental that feels like it emerged straight from the navy blue Pacific surf. “Hold my hand but I hate to ask / Who’s the one who makes you laugh? / We used to be good at doing that / Nothing’s funny in this aftermath,” Vick sings in her trademark bohemian lilt. Commanding but reflective, it’s one of the bounciest Boy Scouts tracks to date.
“A Lot to Ask” hits streaming services tomorrow, and it’s accompanied by a video that features the band playing the track and goofing off in the sweltering countryside. “‘A Lot to Ask’ is about finding it hard to embody self-confidence, so we filmed the music video for it where I’m most comfortable: in the 100-degree heat of Central Valley, California, where I grew up,” Vick shares. “It’s inspired by good friends and the relief that comes with not taking ourselves seriously.”
You can check it out a day early, along with a brief Q&A with Vick, below. Wayfinder is out October 1 on ANTI-.
“A Lot To Ask” grapples with the difficulties of having to live with your flaws in a world full of other people. What was happening in your life that drew you to this theme?
I wrote it in 2018, I think, and I don’t really remember what specifically was happening that drew me to that theme. Probably had a conversation in my head with a non-existent therapist (didn’t have one at the time), was realizing my tendency to be extremely conflict-avoidant, and tried to write a song about it.
What was the recording process for this track like?
Stephen and I started recording it in Oakland, but once we went up to Anacortes we kind of exceeded our hopes for this song and had so much fun recording it. It was there that our friend Paul tracked the simple Beat Happening–inspired drums, my brother Travis contributed Hammond organ and background vocals, and Stephen added the electric guitar riff toward the end. Once we were back in Oakland our friend Adam recorded clarinet in the outro. Compared to my 2018 GarageBand demo of this song, the final version feels so lighthearted and hopeful despite the lyrics.
You found the album title, Wayfinder, in a Sallie Tisdale book about death. Did that novel or themes of mortality shape your new music in other ways?
I hadn’t read that book until after this record was already written and recorded. But mortality definitely informs how I approach life and living, and as of more recently informs why I write music. The song “Didn’t I” was inspired by questions about death and consciousness.
You recorded the album in Anacortes, Washington, but Boy Scouts has a very warm, Californian sound. How did colder, drearier surroundings shape the record?
The record was recorded mostly during the fall, or early winter, I guess we captured some bits of that. But it actually wasn’t very gloomy or dreary while we were in Washington. Anacortes is so beautiful, being right on the water, it mostly felt inspiring and exciting to be away from home after having not gone anywhere for seven months. I think the excitement and gratitude we felt for being able to play music and be creative with others is what really shaped the record.