“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.
A few years ago, Danielle McTaggart was ready to throw in the towel on her music career. Now she and her husband, Drew, make up the powerhouse duo known as Dear Rouge and have two full-length albums and a Juno to their name. Known for their hook-driven tracks—and being “the nicest couple in Canadian music”—Dear Rouge just dropped their sophomore LP, Phases. The record recounts a season of emotional extremes for the couple, including winning the 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, and losing a loved one. We caught up with Danielle over the phone to talk about finding joy in music again, and the personal and public significance of Phases. G—On your website, you describe your style as “sinewy, hook-driven indie rock”. Where did that particular style evolve from? DM—I was always very into hook-y music with beautiful melodies. I grew up listening to The Carpenters and they have beautiful melodic parts, but I also always loved harder music and really rock-driven music. Bands like Metric or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or St. Vincent were hugely motivating for me, and I loved that these frontwomen were powerhouses. They’re very confident and trying to push the boundaries while
What do you get when you combine the start of a worldwide tour and the release of a highly-anticipated album on the same day? Ask Lord Huron’s founder and frontman, Ben Schneider, and he’ll say a pretty damn exciting journey ahead. The band’s third album, Vide Noir, released April 20, is already receiving accolades for its raw, lyrical storytelling from songs like “Wait by the River” and “When the Night is Over”. To engage fans at a deeper level, the band plans on creating immersive experiences that elevate the album’s narratives. Lord Huron’s tour includes a stop at Toronto’s Sony Centre on July 25, and at Osheaga in Montreal on August 4. Schneider spoke to us about his love of storytelling, Raymond Chandler influences, and what it was like working with Flaming Lips’ producer David Fridmann. G—You grew up in Michigan. Is that where your interest in music began? BS—There was always music on at our house, and I remember imagining the people the songs were about. The storytelling of songs is what’s always captured me most. As time went on, I was able to convince my parents to let me play bass in the orchestra, which led to me
Morgan Saint was born into a creative life. Upon growing up in Mattituck, NY with a family of musicians on her mother’s side and parents who worked in interior design, Saint graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, where she has lived for the past six years. With a major in illustration and a focus on photography and graphic design, Saint has executed a clear vision of her musical artistry. In 2017, at the age of 23, Saint released her debut EP, 17 Hero, on Epic Records. She is a storyteller at heart, combining all of her talents to reveal her narrative as truthfully as possible, one vignette at a time, as seen in all three of the EP’s videos, “Glass House”, “You”, and “Just Friends”. She co-produced each glossy, beautifully choreographed, and high-definition clip with Nathan Crooker, but the lyrics are all hers. They come from personal places yet are vague enough to be relatable. Her electronic pop is lo-fi, but you’ll most likely find yourself snapping your fingers to it. As Saint prepared for a sold-out show supporting Missio in Austin, Texas, Georgie connected with her to discuss coming into her own as a songwriter and