When you’re heartbroken or dealing with difficult times, you have two options. Option A: prepare yourself a bubble bath and binge-listen to Adele and Lana del Rey until you cry your heart out. Ooooor… Option B, and the one I personally recommend: call your sisters and friends, buy several bottles of your favourite drinks, plan a wild night out, and dance to Bentley Robles’ new EP, Ugly Crier.
Inspired by Kim Kardashian’s infamous meme – Bentley has actually used Kimberly’s endless Internet-worthy moments as a source of inspiration in several other occasions –, this new six-track EP is bittersweet. It talks about being scorned by fuckboys, vulnerability and, of course, ugly crying, but it does so in such a celebratory way that these darker, sadder feelings are eclipsed by the night club-oriented beats. As he puts it in this interview, “Sometimes I don’t find closure until I’ve written that situation into a song. What better way to set yourself free from tragedy than to turn sadness into a bass-synth-crying-on-the-dance-floor banger.”
With sassiness and humour, today we speak with Bentley about his debut EP, spooky stories about fuckboys, his best advice for overcoming a broken heart, and some things he’s recently added to his bucket list.
Hi Bentley, it’s a pleasure to speak with you. How are you feeling today?
Overcaffeinated and ready for main pop stardom. You know, the usual.
You’re releasing your debut EP today, right after Halloween. Are you a fan of the spooky season? What music do you listen to get into the spirit, or to avoid it?
I’m not a super spooky girl; I don’t dislike Halloween but I do DESPISE some of the traditions that come with it, specifically being spooked in any way, shape, or form. I’m not doing scary movies or dark alleys, not my vibe – and never will be.
Your debut EP is titled Ugly Crier. Were you inspired by Kim Kardashian’s famous meme? If you photoshopped your face into it, it’d actually be a mad cover!
WELL, YES. I wrote an entire song centered around that meme, a song that turned out to be pretty big for me and my career. I loved the idea of taking such an abstract yet specific thing and writing a song from my perspective through that moment. I loved the process, and the fans loved the execution, so much so that it birthed the ugly criers and led me to the EP Ugly Crier. Photoshop pros, please get working on the image
The EP opens with a bold one: God Is a Fuckboy. Is this a political declaration? A statement right off the bat?
God Is a Fuckboy is not intentionally a political declaration, more so my queer truth from my queer perspective, which in the current political climate is a political statement. Our existence is a political statement, but the song itself is not intended to be. I dare any bigot to try not to dance to it! I want every song I release to be a statement of sorts, often my music seems to be an official press release for those going through it, and I’m overjoyed to facilitate that.
We’ve just celebrated Halloween, but could you share some scary story about the fuckboys you talk about in the lyrics?
Oh girl, how much time do we have? I’ve been scorned by fuckboys, and I’ve been the fuckboy. I think dating/relationships/love in general is a very scary endeavor on its own right now, it’s all gotten so desensitized. I feel like everyone always has access to everything and that makes people forget we’re all human. I feel like we’re all so caught up being in our main character era that we treat others like extras. It’s a real bummer when you’re clinically a romantic like me – fyi I’m no one’s extra and you shouldn’t be either.
Ugly Crier is so danceable, it’s a joy to listen to despite the inspiration behind it. I can see it playing with my friends before a sassy night out. And it’s your first EP, so that’s such a milestone in your career. How did you approach this project?
Ugly Crier just kind of fell out of me. In its essence it is a series of diary entries, each song representing a moment in my adult life whether it be a previous relationship or a current one, a bad date or a good one, and all the in-between. I didn’t really need to take on any kind of role or overthink regarding subject matter. Once I connected with my hypertalented team of producers/co-writers, the songs were birthed quickly and complication free.
There’s only one collab in the EP, with Lexxe. When did you meet her, and how did I Just Wanna Dance! come to be?
Lexxe is an unshakable talent, I really felt a deep connection to her from the beginning. We’re both NYC pop babies and ran in the same circles. One random night out last April, the stars aligned; we met at a show, and it instantly went from ‘hi!’ to ‘let’s get in the studio together’. We booked a session the next week with our mutual collaborator Florio, and bam, a pop banger in four hours. I feel so lucky to have her on the EP, I love that song.
You don’t shy away from vulnerability, owning the pain and using it as inspiration for the entire EP. It can be a hard thing to do. Tell us a bit about this emotional rollercoaster from going through heartbreak to overcoming it through this club-oriented record.
I am ruled by my emotions, and it’s not always a good thing. I think the answer is in the question itself, music and songwriting are how I overcome everything. It’s that cliché answer that people have been giving for years, my art is my therapy, inspired by the pain. Sometimes I don’t find closure until I’ve written that situation into a song. What better way to set yourself free from tragedy than to turn sadness into a bass-synth-crying-on-the-dance-floor banger.
Love comes and goes, it’s just natural. Asking for a sis, could you share with us some tips to overcome heartbreak? From playlists and films to therapy-worthy advice.
First things first, tell your sis that they are wonderful and beautiful regardless of what anyone else thinks, and they are going to be ok. Secondly and most importantly: tell them to stream Ugly Crier by Bentley Robles on a 24-hour loop, order in a whole pepperoni pizza, rewatch all of Grey’s Anatomy and block his number.
Right after the release, you’re presenting it in your motherland, Mexico, through three different concerts in CDMX, Monterrey and Guadalajara, as well as another couple concerts in LA and NYC. How do you prepare for your live acts? What can fans expect?
Nothing gets me more hype to perform than going to see the people that inspire me doing what they do and at the level they’re doing it. I recently saw Chappell Roan and left feeling so inspired and charged. As far as what to expect, buy a ticket and get your ass to a Bentley show to find out.
In a 2022 interview with PopBuzz, you listed a couple of things on your bucket list: “Go to Italy and have so much pasta I have to be hospitalised, and become a world-famous pop star.” The second one is on the works, but what about the first one?
Annoyingly, I have yet to go to Italy. I seem to be travelling more for work than play – so guess the Italians are going to need to book me, I will take payment in pasta.
Any two new things you’ve added recently to that list?
Two new things? Hmm, ok. One, open for someone major on tour, like major major! And two, adopt a third chihuahua.