“I recorded almost all of this in my basement,” Mathias Boyar ’20 said in an interview with the Justice. Still slightly uncomfortable with self-promotion, he sat back onto the black leather couch in Farber Library and admitted, “Normally I write a song and just show it to a couple people and then it ends up on a file somewhere on my computer where it’s archived.” Now, for the first time ever, Boyar’s music is accessible to anyone with internet access.

Ever since he was a kid, Boyar has been making music, writing original songs and playing them on his guitar. Hoping to turn his love of music into a viable career, two weeks ago Boyar took what could be seen as his first career step into the music world,when he released “Hangup,” a five-song EP on Spotify, Apple Music, and Bandcamp.

Running 19 minutes in length, “Hangup” consists of rap verses and guitar solos with the occasional interlude of Boyar singing. Every song begins with voice recordings from Boyar’s friends, who have listened to the EP already. Each time, his friends comment on the music, saying that he needs to show more “ego” or that “the point of music is to touch your audience.” In this way, each voicemail prefaces the theme of the song to come.  

The first song, “Coy,” is exactly what is sounds like, a song about a somewhat shy music creator who knows he must be confident in his musical abilities but is unsure how the public will treat him. Over the course of the next three songs, Boyar gains confidence. Sometimes following the advice of his friends and other times doing just the opposite, he experiments with injecting more ego into his songs and rapping about “nonsense” and explores what the purpose of writing music is in the first place. By the last song, titled “Scaffolding,” Boyar seems to have found his voice and come to peace with releasing his work to the public. The song ends with a voice message from his friend Jonah, who says, “Hey, you’re so concerned with what everybody else thinks about your EP that you’re actually unable to be proud of it and happy with the result. … If everyone was just less concerned with other people’s input, I think we would be a lot more content with what we are putting out there.”

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ANXIOUS RAPPING: In a song called “Coy” Mathias Boyar ’20 raps about the anxiety he felt when releasing his music to the public.

Boyar said that the purpose of this project was to ask, “Why does everybody care so much?” “I think turning it into a voice message added another degree of separation because these people aren’t even expressing their opinions to my face, they are saying it through the phone.”   He suggested that he drew on personal experiences as well as themes from his music idols like A$AP Rocky and Queen for material in his songs. “I like everything, just not country,” he said. So far, “Hangup” has received generally positive feedback on campus. “I’ve gotten a lot of super helpful and constructive criticism,” he said. 

At Brandeis, Boyar double majors in Music and Economics. Music is clearly his passion, but Boyar acknowledged that making a career as an artist isn’t always feasible and he wants to keep his options open. While he’s still a student and free from the financial constraints of adulthood, Boyar spends his time out of class singing in Voices of Soul and participating in the Brandeis Improv Collective. Boyar believes that music can be a powerful form of art as well.  “Music is supposed to touch you here,” he said, pointing to his chest. “But sometimes music can be fun or ridiculous, too,” he added, saying, “I see it from both sides.”

Around campus, Boyar can be seen walking to class with a pair of white Beats headphones over his ears. Recently, students have stopped Boyar to congratulate him on “Hangup,” and Boyar said he was a little overwhelmed by the immediate reaction to the EP and wondered whether he should promote himself more aggressively. “For me, it’s a matter of reconciling my anxiety about other people’s opinions, but also being the personality that wants to be outgoing,” he said.

Boyar has already begun writing new songs for his next music release. This time, he might not have to record his songs in the closet of his basement at home. But, as he noted, “Sometimes it’s nice to create a simple recording setup; there is a lot you can record in a basement closet.”