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BoysAreRolling Interview: Brothers’ bond over beats is taking them to new heights

BoysAreRolling have quickly become one of the most established production groups in the new wave — tailor-making hits with Lil Tecca, Midwxst, Autumn!, Gunna, Dro Kenji and more in their one-of-a-kind bedroom studio.

Perched high above Manhattan, New York in one of the most unique studios the city has to offer, a young producer trio is hard at work developing a one-of-a-kind hub for the underground wave bubbling out of SoundCloud and beyond.

BoysAreRolling is made up of brothers Arno (22) and Miles (19), joined by longtime friend Crosby (21) all of whom are producers in their own right, and each with their own specialties and unique perspective to bring to the table. Although there are plenty of exceptions, in general the idea seems to be that Miles the A&R connects with artists and managers, Arno the producer cooks up a specially made batch of beats, and Crosby the closer sprinkles on the finishing touches.

In addition to their command over a wide range of styles – from trap to rage to pluggnb and beyond – they have a home studio unlike any other that is quickly becoming the new, go-to stop in New York City for the next generation. Visitors over just the past few months include some of the biggest names in the underground: Autumn!, BabySantana, SSGKobe, Midwxst, Dro Kenji, and even DotCom Nirvan to the now firmly mainstream Lil Tecca. In April, they had their biggest guest yet, when Gunna and Future rolled through after Gunna’s appearance as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. 

The biggest question on everyone’s mind: Who are these Boys and how did they come to occupy such a unique space in the growing underground scene? If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, the boys are indeed rolling.

The Beginning

The Boys’ musical journeys all started at a young age, avidly playing instruments throughout their youth before developing a taste for hip-hop. Their teenage years coincided with the 2010s rise of trap music, and as such, they cite their GOATs as trap legends like Future, Chief Keef, and Fredo Santana – with Arno specifically shouting out 808Mafia as his inspiration for becoming a producer.

Arno describes the aha-moment when his younger self learned what a music producer was. Becoming curious about the “prod by” suffix that sometimes appears next to a song’s title, he came to understand that there were these other people, not the artist, that created the instrumentals that everyone is hearing all the time – and they did it using surprisingly accessible software programs like FL Studio.

Even though he’s the youngest, Miles claims credit for linking Crosby and Arno. He remembers first meeting Crosby when they landed in the same music theory class, and quickly telling Arno about this kid who also made beats on his laptop. Crosby had been a serious lifelong hockey player until a series of concussions made it impossible to continue. After reconnecting with an old friend who just so happened to be a professional EDM producer, he was introduced to the idea of music production and spent every day the following summer making EDM beats in Logic Pro X. 

Once they all linked, they became fast friends and partners. Channeling Crosby’s EDM skills into Arno’s taste for heavy trap proved to be a winning combination, and together they started making beats for friends and local artists. Eventually, the two came to produce under the name BoysAreRolling — after Crosby repurposed a popular saying amongst hockey “bros” into a fittingly ambiguous moniker for their fledgling producer duo. 

Younger brother Miles soon became interested in what the Boys were up to and began to try his hand at making beats of his own. Although he held out at first, he soon officially joined on – completing the trifecta and setting the well-balanced trio on the road to becoming BoysAreRolling. They recall their early days making beats.

Crosby: “Oh my god do you remember when we were using the Lite version of FL Studio?”

Miles: “There was no Grossbeat, all the default plug-ins. There were a lot of work-arounds we were doing back then that made everything more complicated”

Arno: “I was literally making beats on my mom’s desktop. Before our parents really knew what we were up to, I remember rushing to finish my homework to be ready to use her computer once she got off work. And I was literally only using the default plug-ins.”

The Boys Are On A Roll

Over the next year the Boys honed their talents, creating beats mostly for their school friends to record over at studio sessions/hangouts they would host at different studios throughout the city. Before long though, they realized that their level of production was outpacing the music they were recording with their friends.

As things began to get more serious, the Boys’ roles became more defined. Even as the youngest, Miles turned out to be the most successful networker of the bunch – reaching out to artists, getting on the phone with managers, and making connections with other producers – which turned out to be the missing ingredient they needed to level up. 

As a way to both get their foot in the door and test the market, they decided to pool their money together to buy features from a few select artists that they genuinely liked, but also viewed as underrated and up-and-coming. While admittedly not a sustainable strategy, in short order this approach successfully landed them their first placements with recognizable artists, creating real songs with genuine independent movers-and-shakers like, Jay Critch and K Supreme. They consider their first true placement to be Warhol’s Soundcloud exclusive, “Felony.”

It’s those early moments that serve as a benchmark for moments to come later on. Like earlier this year when Jay Critch, who they had originally bought a feature from during that time, reached back out to work. This resulted in another studio session and one of the Boys’ first official releases with his single, “Click.”

Miles: “It really was insane to see… Someone we were really trying to work with, even paying to work with, now really messing with what we are doing and hitting us up to work (instead of the other way around). That was a really cool full-circle moment and honestly a big realization for us… And that really happened not too long ago.”

At the end of 2019 they caught the eye of Big E, a multi-platinum engineer and friend of known for his close ties to Lil Peep. He would become one of their first important industry connections when he was able to connect the dots on placements with Famous Dex and Eddy Baker – before unexpectedly inviting them to LA on what would become their first trip as BoysAreRolling. 

Arno: “That was another cool moment where paying for a feature like we were doing at first really paid off in a way I didn’t even realize was possible. Having this guy (Big E) who had been established in the underground – working with Peep, Uno, Fauni, and a bunch of the artists we all love. For him to just reach out and invite us to come to LA right off the bat, was a bit of a ‘eureka’ moment that showed us this was all really possible.”

While the trip didn’t go 100% as planned, it was an important learning experience in the unpredictability of working with artists. Still, The Boys were more than able to hold their own in the room with bona fide producers and artists they looked up to, which only further cemented that they were on the right path. 

But just as things were really picking up, they were thrown another wrinkle a few weeks after returning from LA when COVID shutdowns started to become a reality. 

Miles: “A big thing about what we’re trying to do with our brand is that we want to be meeting the artists we’re working with, really be in the studio and be out-and-about interacting with people in real life. But by the time COVID hit, we really hadn’t built up enough connections to be hunkered down in the house and have a pipeline to just send beats out to. Just when things were starting to get exciting – we were even thinking about living in LA that summer after school was over – COVID came and then all the sudden things were dryer than they’d ever been.”

After a bit of a slowdown for the Boys (along with the rest of the world), they ended up moving into their NYC apartment in 2021, which would ultimately set the ball in motion for them to become the BoysAreRolling of today. Up until this point, the Boys’ home studio setup was really not equipped for anyone outside of themselves. As they put it: “It was really just set up for us to make beats. The sound design was off, the mic wasn’t great. It just wouldn’t have worked.”

With a little prompting from their well-connected new photographer friend, Garrett Bruce (and parental permission of course) the Boys took some soundproofing foam, speaker and a mic and went to work transforming Arno’s bedroom into one of the most unique studio setups NYC has to offer.

Arno: “Believe it or not at first we were actually really nervous about it. The studio setup was literally in my bedroom, and we weren’t sure if we wanted to have a bunch of strangers coming through all the time… But then we had to admit that it turned out to basically be the most genius move ever.”

Miles: “Even more than that. I clearly remember I didn’t fully believe that people would even want to come here. At the time our setup wasn’t very good at all frankly. It was really set up for producing, not meant to record. So when Garrett first brought it up last year I was pretty skeptical. But then we did it and I quickly realized how wrong I was.”

After testing out the studio with one of their closest artist pals, Envy Ojay, and securing one of their first official placements with Jay Critch – the plan really started to work. Also hosting a session with 070 Shake, where they ended up recording multiple demos — that could be heard at some point down the line.

Crosby: “A few weeks after Critch came, we got the chance to work with 070 Shake. Which was an amazing experience, she’s super dope and talented – and basically everything we did with her we cooked up from scratch. She was even playing melodies on the Juno-106 which was super cool to see.”

Before long, they caught the attention of an artist by the name of SurgeTNT, who the Boys consider to be the first true underground artist from the new wave that they locked in with. They credit him with essentially opening the door to the increasingly popular subgenre and blossoming subculture brewing on Soundcloud, social media, and across various Discord servers around the internet in recent years. 

Not only did The Boys really dig into the hyper-stylized rage and pluggbnb sounds for the first time, as soon as the tight-knit underground community saw them working with Surge – who was already established and tapped into the existing network – word began to spread and the floodgates really began to open.

The Boys Can’t Be Stopped

Before long, Miles was making new connections online daily and every weekend, they were locking in with a new artist – many of whom happened to be some of the most recognizable faces in the underground. From hosting epic linkups with Yung Fazo, Lil Benny, Xhulooo, Bakkwoods, and BabySantana to cooking up with some of the biggest names in the space like Lil Tecca, SoFaygo, Dro Kenji, Midwxst and SSGKobe.

Miles describes what it’s like during one of these soon-to-be legendary sessions with the BoysAreRolling.

Miles: “It all varies depending on the artist of course, but usually we’ll play a few beats that we made with them in mind, or that we had already and we’ll catch a vibe. But honestly, a lot of the best music we’ve made is the stuff we’ve cooked up on the spot with artists…I think it also helps that the way that it comes together is always really natural. Pretty much all through word of mouth is how people find out about us, and then we set it up directly with the artist or their manager.”

Arno goes on to break down the different role that each of the Boys play.

Arno: “My job is really to make the beats. We cook up on the spot too, but a lot of artists also like to listen to stuff that’s ready to go. So throughout the week during all my free time at school I’m making a bunch of beats – from scratch and from loops we get from the dope loopmakers we work with. And then usually Crosby will go in and finish them up. Miles is really good at getting sessions booked, so him and Garrett are usually the ones making that happen.”

Usually focused more on creating interesting melodies and polished arrangements, The Boys will oftentimes bring in professional engineers to record artists – some of the best in the city like Rock, RJ, Macro, and EQ. Miles also shared an interesting insight that he’s observed after working with many of the talented young artists in this underground lane.

Miles: “The secret sauce though, not gonna lie is that more than half of the artists we’ve worked with recently engineer themselves. This new generation we’re in, a lot of them just record themselves in FL. So it kinda relieves some of the stress off us because they do it so quick and a lot of times don’t even need an engineer.”

“The most surprising for me would probably have to be Midwxst. I would’ve never guessed that with the hyperpop sound that he’s doing, and how intricate and dynamic his songs are, that he records himself. But he does and he’s pretty incredible at it. That was a big one for me because I was scrambling to find an engineer and he just texted me something like: ‘Nah it’s cool, I got it’ – and it ended up sounding really good so I was really impressed with that.”

All three agree that the time they spent with Lil Tecca was a defining moment. Miles describes how they serendipitously made the connection.

Miles: “This is a good example of the organic kind of stuff that happens. I had actually reached out to Lil Benny originally to come by, who’s a good friend of Tecca’s. I went to answer the door to greet Benny, and standing right there with him is Tecca. Benny had brought him without even telling us.”

After hitting it off, the following week, Tecca returned to lock in five back-to-back days in row – spending the days coming to the studio and even going out to dinners together. It was this time that resulted in an epic shared out-of-body experience that occurred when Tecca whipped out his laptop in the middle of a crowded restaurant to cook up a beat from scratch – only to pass it around to have everyone at the table add a little something to the arrangement.

Arno: “It’s funny because we were together so much that week that when we posted videos at the studio afterwards, we would get comments like, ‘Oh you guys are at Tecca’s crib’”

In addition to their skills behind the boards, their home studio has proved essential for building genuine relationships with artists. The Boys’ describe the importance of the relaxed setting they’ve built and the advantages of being able to work in their unique private home studio.

Crosby: “We really want to build relationships and friendships with artists we’re working with, and being in a home studio environment really helps us do that…We want to feel comfortable with the people we’re working with, so we make sure they feel the same.”

Miles: “One of the coolest things for me is that no matter the size of the artist, from small underground artists to big, well-established artists, the reaction is always pretty much the same because not too many people have spent time in a space like this… And we obviously feel incredibly blessed to be able to.”

Arno: “Having that dual home and studio environment in one spot is pretty unique and I think really helpful…It’s about finding that balance between work and play, and if you find it then you’ll be making the best music and the most meaningful relationships.”

Another artist they’ve built a strong relationship with and were excited to lock in with was Dro Kenji. Unanimously described by the Boys as one of the nicest and most respectful artists they’ve ever worked with, Gunner the Cat even got a nice cameo in Kenji’s “Push2Start” music video off his recent With Or Without You project.

In addition to artists and producers, the Boys are looking to build a community of all kinds of creatives – some of their frequenters include underground playmaker and Bain founder, White Collar Will, and the quietly prolific graphic designer, Huh Alex.

Miles: “A big thing that we love to do is have not just artists and producers, but also try to make the spot a hub for creativity. To have all these amazing and talented people like Will and HuhAlex all in the same space creates an even better environment and better product.”

They even had one of the undisputed goats of the underground, DotComNirvan, come by — as the genre-defining videographer has worked with many of the same emerging stars that the Boys have been locking in with.

Seemingly reaching a new peak every weekend, just a few weeks ago the Boys hit yet another high when Gunna, their biggest and most established visitor yet, came by. After his widely publicized appearance as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, in an exciting turn of events, the Boys’ ended up informally hosting an unofficial after-gathering at their studio for Gunna and a few of his people – one of which just so happened to be Future, who had joined him earlier in the night to perform “Pushin P” on SNL. 

Arno: “Easily the craziest moment I’ve had in the studio so far was that night. We were cranking beats all night and at one point, Gunna and Future were standing at the door listening and freestyling to each other over our beats… Future was literally the one of the artists that made me want to get into producing, and seeing him freestyle to something that we made was just mindblowing and another insane full-circle moment.”

It’s safe to say that Gunna was impressed by both the Boys’ stellar setup and the quality of their production — even hinting at the possibility of working together at some point in the future. At this point, the Boys are not only Rolling… they’re Pushing P.

The Future for The Boys

Aside from their most immediate goal of getting some records out (many of which are already in the works), the Boys have been excited to tap in with creatives outside of music in forward-thinking fashion entrepreneurs like Antony Riddle or Lil Dallas — whose brand Big Texas the Boys often rep proudly. They also have a limited edition merch drop of their own in the works to show their appreciation for the inner circle that helped them get to where they are today.

In addition to their growing vault with many of the most exciting up-and-coming names in the underground (including Lil Tecca, SoFaygo, Yung Fazo, Autumn!, SSGKobe, and more) they are already in the process of locking in with even bigger artists and projects going forward — with plans to lock in with Gunna, Trippie Redd, TyFontaine, and potentially even a certain turban-wearing, tonka-driving underground cult star.

Miles: “One month ago, if you told me that Gunna and Future would be at our place freestyling on our beats I would say you’re lying. This has all happened really organically and we want to keep that same energy.”

“This summer will be big for us. We want to get out of the house and move around a bit, even to different cities. At that point there will be nothing holding us back, all three of us will be out of school, so we’re really looking to get a lot done.”

Even with how far they’ve come, it’s still just the beginning for the Boys.