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Harrison

Jun 05/2015
WORDS Lynda Vang PHOTOGRAPHY Neil Mota

“I’m half way between Yoshi and Toad, but I would say I use Toad more than Yoshi. I’m thinking way too hard about this,” said Harrison, a Toronto-based producer and self-confessed lover of classic video games. Whether he is filling up dancefloors, putting out mixtapes or creating music for the indie video game Bloxz – Harrison has been popping up on the music radar as a producer to watch. The bedroom beatmaker satisfies the growing demand for his music by regularly adding tracks to his popular SoundCloud page – an effort that is appreciated by his 25,000 followers.

The recent release of his debut EP, Colors, on venerable Canadian indie label, Last Gang Records, marks the latest addition to a string of achievements – all before the age of 20.

At 19, Harrison combines his love of classic video games with influences of funk, disco and house, which creates an interesting duality to his music. On one hand there is a sense of wistful playfulness and light; on the other, there is a subtle and underlying darker layer of longing. “It’s like my first child just went off to college,” describes Harrison about his debut release. “It feels great, but I’m sad that the project is done. It was a project I could’ve done over and over again.”

The duality of light and dark heard in his music may just be a reflection of Harrison – a young producer on the rise who makes dreamy, lighthearted beats but finds inspiration and solace in rainy days and stormy weather, “I’m not trying to glorify being sad or anything,” he quips. His previous SoundCloud page, Missing Hito, is what Harrison describes as “cloudy weather music to be played when it’s raining.” Started over a year ago, Missing Hito was an anonymous side project that was created out of heartbreak and has since been abandoned. “I want to get back to it eventually but I feel like I need to get over my own issues before I do.” A recent visit to Harrison’s SoundCloud reveals that he has since added a few of his Missing Hito tracks onto his new page.

Harrison has been able to successfully use SoundCloud to his benefit, and the sheer number of followers speaks to an obvious demand for his music. “How Can It Be”, a collaborative track with friend and frequent collaborator, Maddee, garnered 45,000 plays in less than 48 hours after it was released on the music sharing platform. “I did not expect that at all. SoundCloud is great. I love it so much,” said Harrison, “but at the same time I would like to try my best to not just be known as a SoundCloud artist.” With the ambition to make it big offline, Harrison has been able to transcend the “SoundCloud producer” label and turn his online popularity into a promising music career.

As part of Harrison’s transition away from SoundCloud fame, Last Gang Records signed him on and released his debut EP. “Being on Last Gang is like a dream come true. They were the label I wanted to be on from the start. Everyone is so supportive and I love everyone on the roster.” After opening up shows for label mates, Purity Ring and Ryan Hemsworth, Harrison was quick to learn that just as much as the Internet can love you, it can change its opinion on a dime. “I learned a lot from Ryan. Once I was talking to him about a review online. He just told me to be careful with the Internet and to not let it get me down. I’m very sensitive and I don’t like being judged. Maybe I chose the wrong line of work.”

Now that Colors has been released Harrison is keeping busy and is already working on his debut album. “I’m so excited. I’ve worked really hard on it so far. It’s darker than Colors, so it might disappoint a lot of people but I’ve poured my heart into this and I love it.” Online, offline, rain or shine, there is no doubt that big things are in store for Harrison.

 

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