Bonelang has “made it so good that it can’t be ignored”

“The sound has come from ten years in a basement with two people banging their heads against the wall.”

Chicago’s Bonelang grew up in the emo hardcore scene worshipping bands like Nirvana, Taking Back Sunday and Brand New. Back in middle school, Matt Bones and Samy Language cemented their musical connection by singing blink-182’s “All The Small Things” in their eighth grade talent show.

Photo by Astrid Elstrom.

“Those guys cut their chest open, cut their rib cage open and let everybody look inside-- that was something we’ve always paid homage to,” said Samy referring to the scene.

Fast forward a decade, the two found a way to mold Matt’s smooth and melodic production with Samy’s intense balladry into a deeply personal, digestible record, breaking any genre norms and barriers.

Yesterday, Bonelang released their debut album, Sunny, Sonny., proving to the national scene they have earned themselves a spot on the charts.

“For the process of Sunny, Sonny., it was 40 to 60 hours a week, heads banging against the wall in the studio. I feel like you can really hear the time and commitment in this album. Every song took four to eight months to polish. We put all the love and attention we could into it.”

In 2017, Bonelang released “Venn Diagrams,” a two-part EP. Within two years, Matt and Samy built a studio to concoct a more concise sound, blending pop, jazz, spoken word and hip hop into their own auditory memoir.

“‘Venn Diagrams’ is the journey to the sounds, and Sunny, Sonny. is the arrival.”

Photo by Astrid Elstrom.

Yet, the record still has the elements that make Bonelang, Bonelang. Their music has grown with them and shaped by their experiences, resulting in a shift from desolation to anticipation.

“Bonelang is a melancholy group. With Sunny, Sonny., the goal was to look for the ladder. If you dug yourself in a hole, look for the ladder, keep climbing and look for the light. We wanted to have some remnants of individualism and fixing yourself before you fix the world.”

The first single released, “Anvil,” an absolute bop reminiscent of early 2000s hip hop, may be their ticket to radio time.

“That was the tune I could play for my mom, and my mom would be dancing around the living room,” said Samy. “Then, it’s also the tune I can play for people our age that are in the scene, and I think it still holds up so it still has cool elements to it.”

But, “Anvil” is just the surface level of what Bonelang has produced. Although, a really fucking good song, other tracks like “Yellow Teeth Da Di” and “Tidal Breathing” dive deep down into the duo’s creative capacity.

“I’m glad we can writes tunes like that but at the same time, it certainly doesn’t encompass what the album is and what bonelang is capable of. My favorite part about this band is that-- I don’t want to sound too cocky-- but there aren’t too many sounds we can’t do. We work with really heavy jazz musicians so if we want to do jazz records, we can cut jazz records. If we to cut pop records, we can cut pop records. If we want bars, we cut rap records. I want the album and the releases we do to cover all that ground in a tasteful way.”

Photo by Astrid Elstrom.

It took a minute for the duo to find their spot in Chicago’s scene. Bonelang didn’t receive the most welcoming reception from the local hip hop scene. Instead, they bonded with the younger emo crowd.

“We were emo kids; we are emo dudes. We were doing this strange brand of music, and we just weren’t connecting...I think it’s one of the best music scenes in the whole world. I just don’t know if it’s going to be the scene where Bonelang truly breaks and cracks, but for the time being, I love being here.”

Per their manager’s advice, the guys have backtracked and taken the local scene in increments, selling out the Tonic Room then Schubas then Lincoln Hall. For the first time, this Friday, June 21st, Bonelang will be headlining the Metro in Chicago for the first time with support from Hxlt and Oxymorrons.

“I want Sunny, Sonny. so bad, and I believe so deeply that it can be... Bonelang has been a local act for the last four years. We’ve done some great things. We sold out Lincoln Hall; we released ‘Venn Diagrams;’ we’ve done some cool videos, we’ve done NPR; we’ve done some cool shit but the drive behind Sunny, Sonny. is for it to be our arrival onto the national scene.”

“We’re not selling persona. I know we have different stage names, but it’s just Samy and Matt up there bleeding it out in front of people. There’s a tragic element to the whole thing.”

Bonelang’s music has already manifested into a riot. But, Sunny, Sonny., is the start of a full-blown coalition.

“It’s not even in the name of numbers or anything, we aren’t getting any younger, and we so badly want to step into the next tier. We’re going to create something that is so undeniably good, and the proof is going to be so obvious in the pudding that people aren’t going to be able to ignore it anymore.”