On Point With: Bentley Robles

You know you’re in for something new with this emerging queer recording artist when his recent song titles include “Don’t Listen to This Song” and “i hate the weekend!” Hear it all for yourself in a live show coming up, care of the good time drama queen Bentley Robles!

Thotyssey: Hello Bentley, thanks for chatting with us today! Are you enjoying this unseasonably comfy November weather, or is this fuckery?

Bentley Robles: OMG, thank you for having me! This weather is bittersweet; I’m selfishly enjoying it, but it is also a constant reminder that the world is on fire and the end is near, lol.

Pass the marshmallows! So your brand new song is called “Don’t Listen to This Song,” a two minute fuzzy pop punky collab with Gregory Dillon! How did this track come to be?

I started writing the song at the top of this year, when I was in a very angry place. I brought the (very rough) demo with me when I went to write for a week in LA with Gregory. I played it for him, and he loved it so much he decided to jump on!

[Photo: Danica Robinson]

And what’s the collaborative process with other artists like for you?

Collaborations always get me excited because I love how the other artist brings ideas to the table I wouldn’t have come up with on my own–not to mention in this instance I was collab’ing with my best friend, so that was fucking dope.

You’re music’s fun because it celebrates all that is fabulous and ridiculous about young queer life! I think my favorite track of yours is “i hate the weekend” because it’s about jealousy, and knowing that all these thirsty bitches out there are coming for your man.

Fuck yeah! Thank you! I love to hear that. I think pop music is meant to be over the top and fantastical; at least that’s what I always felt as a young gay boy growing up listening to all the pop girlies. “i hate the weekend” is all about leaning into that over the top anxiety and insecurity; there is a ridiculousness to the idea that on Tuesday when he’s with me I’m fine, but the minute the weekend hits I lose my mind in jealousy. I really wanted to make that emotion (that I think we all feel at times) the backbone of a pop banger.

Tell us a bit of your origin story, if you will! Where did you grow up, and how did music and performance enter your life?

I’m first generation American; my parents immigrated into the U.S. from Mexico, and I was born in LA. We later ended up moving to Rancho Cucamonga–“The Valley”–where I spent most of my life.

Music and singing have been a part of my core for as long as I can remember; I was always writing songs and performing. I also did quite a bit of musical theater, which is what brought me to NYC seven years ago. However, I was quickly drawn into the indie singer/songwriter camp because nothing makes me feel better than putting out songs I wrote and having people connect with them.

I read elsewhere that for a moment you were living in a druggie house where you got scabies and couldn’t shower because they were growing weed in the tub!

Lol, all true! I moved out of my parents’ house right at 18. I wanted to be independent; Mexican parents are very strict, and I was willing to do anything to live alone. Unfortunately, my naïve teenage dream landed me the worst rental of all time–the drug house!

So how did Bentley Robles come into being as a full on recording artist?

Honestly, I have been writing / producing demos forever; I just wasn’t putting them out. And finally one day back in 2019, I just said “fuck it’ and the rest is herstory, baby.

I love your name by the way, it gives very Harry Potter Villain!

Thank you! Robles is my actual last name, and everyone has called my “Bentley” for years… so it felt right.

Do you have a favorite song that you’ve written?

OMG! Don’t do this to me, they are all my babies! But, I think I’d have to say “i hate the weekend” just because it was a monumental track for me. It’s what really got eyes on me this year, and it’ll forever be special. I also have a new song I’m dropping next year that has me really excited. So you’ll have to wait for that one!

As a live performer, have you had any favorite or just craziest onstage moments?

Every show is a dream come true to me; I have been super lucky with some of the venues I’ve played. I think one of the weirdest / coolest shows I’ve played was at The Museum of Ice Cream on Pride. I was playing in this huge room, and kept performing my songs as a part of one of the exhibits. It was odd because every 15 minutes a new batch of people would walk through, and I’d have to win them over again and again. It was kinda like busking on the street, and that really excited me.

You’ve got a fun show coming up Tuesday November 15th at C’mon Everybody, alongside Souvenir and Zee Machine!

Goddamn, I’m so hype for that show. I’m such big fans of both of them! You can expect an epic set from me–45 minutes of dancing, jumping, partying–and such catchy-as-fuck songs. Maybe a special guest… and just a lot of fun!

Anyone who is anyone should be there! What else is coming up for you?

I haven’t told anyone this, so this is an exclusive: I’m dropping my first ever album in April, so that’s all I’m thinking about! My goals for 2023 are that, and maybe a baby tour (aka a couple shows out of NYC).

Gag, so much to look forward to! Okay lastly: Rihanna’s Black Panther song! Many gays are complaining that this isn’t the bop they wanted from her after her long musical dry spell. Do they have a point, or is this basic bitchery?

Oh God, I feel so put on the spot! Look I’ll say this: considering the fact that Rihanna’s return to music was quite literally the most anticipated return of all time, I felt this song and it’s roll out was a missed opportunity. That’s my personal take.

Fair! Thanks, Bentley!

[Photo: Jennifer Trahan]

Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Bentley Robles’ upcoming appearances, and follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Visit his website, and download / stream his music here.

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