At first, the music of Boy Harsher struck me as youthfully nostalgic and alluring, but the more I delved in, the more I noticed its sonic intricacies intertwining with their tribulations and reveries. The duo's mix of brooding vocals, industrial influenced beats and an infectious, rhythmic mood bring about a thrilling confessional experience.
Augustus Muller (synths, programming) and Jae Matthew (vocals), otherwise know as Boy Harsher, started collaborating while they were both studying film in Savannah. Their first project called Teen Dreamz consisted of Jae reading her own short stories while Gus was performing a live score.
Immerse yourself in this week's New Brvtalism 077 which comes to unveil another layer of Boy Harsher's sensibility, while reading this short Q&A, as we caught up with Gus and Jae to find a bit more about who Boy Harsher is and why Bizarre Love Triangle is such a great song to fall in love to.
The Brvtalist (Marie Bungau): First of all, please tell us who is Boy Harsher, and how did it all start?
Boy Harsher (Gus): When we were living in Savannah we were booking a lot of shows and there weren’t a lot of bands. We needed another opener, so Jae and I threw something together. We were Teen Dreamz back then.
Jae: But also though, Boy Harsher is this project that has followed us through some trying heartbreak + is almost constructed out of what it was like to reconcile afterwards - that’s where that EP came from, Lesser Man. It feels weird sometimes to make music now, because we don’t hate each other anymore.
TB: There's a certain versatility to your sound, which makes the music of Boy Harsher difficult to define in terms of genres. How would you describe your music to someone who never listened to it before?
Jae: I tell my mom we make music with no instruments.
Gus: Yeah that’s a question we struggle with all the time. It’s easy for electronic music to fall into specific sub groups, which is really limiting sometimes. Recently, my friend Eli referred to it as “getting booked as a BPM”. I like embracing that versatility and let other people describe it.
TB: Jae, you often say you fell for Gus after seeing him dance on Bizarre Love Triangle. What does dancing mean to you and to Boy Harsher in general? Do you purposely make music for people to dance to?
Jae: I am a pretty insecure dancer, so when I see someone just letting it all go + being vulnerable I am drawn to them, their experience. I think our music evokes dancing, I hope so I guess!
But truly, I want people to move, haha - like maybe even desperate for it. We just played this show in New York for Lost Soul Enterprises + that was it. Everyone was moving, going crazy. It’s real special when that happens.
TB: Before starting the Boy Harsher project, you performed under the name Teen Dreamz, which consisted of reading short stories with live electronic score in the background. Are you thinking of doing this with Boy Harsher as well?
Gus: I’ve always liked the idea of inserting some narrative into the songs. We’re working on some new material for a new record that sounds a lot like the Teen Dreamz stuff.
TB: What can we expect from Boy Harsher in 2017, either in terms of new music or live shows?
Gus: We working on a new album that I’m really excited about. We’re also touring out to the west coast for the first time in late January.
Jae: Yeah the tour is gonna’ be pretty wild, we’ll be in Florida for five days - so that’s something.
1. I Have Walked This Body - Jenny Hval & Susanna
2. Temptation - Final Cut
3. Scared To Live - Psychic TV
4. G.I. - 400 Blows & 23 Skidoo
5. Why - Carly Simon
6. Differencia - Riuichi Sakamoto
7. Walking & Falling - Laurie Anderson
8. To The Forest, Towards The Sea - Chelsea Wolfe
9. His Song - Weyes Blood
10. A Color - Tropic of Cancer
11. Congealer - Angels in America
12. Nothin’ - Townes Van Zandt