FIVE FAVOURITES: Boy Harsher

We’re no strangers to the dark, heated sounds of electronic two piece, Boy Harsher. Together, Augustus Muller (synths/percussion) and Jae Matthews (vocals) have released two albums and two EPs since their inception in 2014. Their songs brim with beats designed to ricochet around smoky dance-floors or lonely bedroom walls. The Massachusetts duo blend nostalgic 80s percussion with sharp modern production to create an immersive, magnetic listening experience.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Jae to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced her song writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to watch Boy Harsher’s video for ‘Send Me a Vision’ at the end of this post.

1. Annie Lennox – MEDUSA
When I was a child, during a rocky divorce, my mom would listen to this album nonstop. Luckily, I was at the age where it wasn’t lame to sing along with your mom, and boy, did we get into it! On a subconscious level, these songs (Annie Lennox in general) gave me this attachment to a contralto voice in contemporary music. DIVA and MEDUSA both got equal play, but my story with MEDUSA is a bit embarrassing. I didn’t realize the songs were all covers, so when years later I heard the originals (like Bob Marley’s ‘Waiting in Vain’ or Al Green’s ‘Take Me to the River’) I was a bit shocked.

2. Nirvana – Nevermind
A classic. I made my dad buy this CD at a garage sale, which he did – yet later took away, due to “it’s graphic nature”. A stubborn child, I found it and hid away with my new love and Walkman. ‘Something in the Way’ really rocked my core. I was a lonely pre-teenager and I remember this music kept me company in a very real way. Now, I can’t listen without getting very nostalgic.

3. Pixies – Doolittle
Okay – this one is tough. It’s a tie between this and Cat Power’s Moon Pix. Both took up the same space in high school. I would listen to ‘Debaser’, literally SCREAMING along with my first crush. Then, later when home, would listen to ‘Metal Heart’ (lol) and cry, because she would never love me. Ah, the drama. I needed a support system for understanding my sexuality and processing my Father’s death. Both albums are amazing in their ability to muster emotion; sometimes flippant or mean, often raw and always very authentic.

4. Troller – Troller
I left the Northeast for graduate school and moved South. It was the furthest I had ever been from my family. It was a really amazing, lonely time. After attending SXSW in 2013, my musical understanding totally changed. I became a devotee of label Holodeck’s projects (Thousand Foot Whale Claw, Survive, Boan, Smokey Emery) and Troller. This is the first physical RECORD that I ever bought. Listened to it over and over – it still makes me think of Savannah, the rain, smoking inside, kissing.

5. Circuit Des Yeux – Overdue
After living in Savannah for a couple years, myself and my partner starting booking shows. We focused mainly on projects that centered on experimentation, some noise, and no drums. We booked Circuit Des Yeux on their first US tour in a small dive bar in downtown Savannah. Far too few people came. It was such an amazing performance. The way Haley used her voice was really inspiring to me – startling even. I began to understand the voice and body as an instrument, a performance tool. This really impacted the way that I sought to use my voice.

Photo Credit: Zach Hart

LIVE: Boy Harsher – HEAVEN, London 27.02.19

Jaded electronics, sultry vocals, and 80s inspired beats dominated Boy Harsher‘s sold out show at Heaven earlier this week. The Massachusetts’ duo blended nostalgic percussion with sharp modern production – and a stunning light show – to create an immersive live experience.

Presented by Night Terrors, the evening began with one-man-show Kontravoid. Masked and moving between his synths, the soloist was well versed in the nuances of the cold wave sound, paving the way for Boy Harsher to deliver a set that was designed to ricochet around Heaven’s walls.

Together, Jae Matthews and Augustus Muller played a mixture of old and new material, kicking things off with the aptly named ‘Intro’. The pair played a slow-burning but slick first half, which included the title track from their 2016 album ‘Yr Body is Nothing’, ‘A Realness’ and new single ‘Fate’, taken from their recent album Careful.

Caution was thrown to the wind mid-set as denser beats and more sporadic lighting was introduced, with Matthews fully relaxing in to her movements. The throbbing synths and pounding beats on ‘Come Closer’ were intoxicating, and the grand synthesizers on new track ‘LA’ felt like they could’ve scored an escape from a night-time crime scene. Matthews’ voice was as morose and lusting as it is on record, and Muller’s triggering capabilities were equally as precise.

The pair tore through the remainder of their set list – which included ‘Suitor’, ‘Tears’, ‘Tower’ and ‘Modulations’ – before returning for an encore that included ‘The Look You Gave (Jerry)’ and the pulsating intensity of ‘Pain’.

A cohesive blend of slow-burning and scintillating tunes, Boy Harsher’s live show was an alluring, seductive affair. Their capacity crowd was proof that Matthews and Mulller continue to capture the ears of their loyal fan base after five years together, and we’re excited to see what direction the pair take next.

Follow Boy Harsher on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Boy Harsher – ‘Careful’

A record to cry, kiss, or dance to; Boy Harsher’s latest album Careful is a heated, heartfelt affair. Full of beats designed to ricochet around dark dance-floors or lonely bedroom walls, the Massachusetts duo blend nostalgic 80s percussion with sharp modern production to create an immersive, magnetic listening experience.

Formed in 2014, Jae Matthews and Augustus Muller released their first EP Lesser Man in the same year, and their sophomore record Yr Body is Nothing in 2016. Country Girl followed in 2017, and now the pair explore their “morose pop sound” further on their latest release. Named after the seemingly prophetic tattoo that Matthews has across her back, Careful smolders with a brooding, lusting aggression.

Inspired by traumatic personal experiences – the breakdown of a romantic relationship, losing a parent to debilitating illness, and a chronic fear of losing control – Boy Harsher offer a momentary glimpse in to their seething world via minimal electronics. The cinematic ‘Keep Driving’ opens the record, with whispered vocals and moody stretched out synths that could score a jaded night-ride, or an escape from a crime scene.

Hazy electronics, sultry vocals and 80s inspired beats combine in hypnotic style on ‘Face The Fire’, before the elusive ‘Fate’ bleeds in. It’s four minutes of off-kilter synths, breathy vocals and dance inducing beats. Grand synthesizers announce the arrival of next track ‘LA’, whist the throbbing synths and pounding beats on ‘Come Closer’ are intoxicating. It’s easily one of the strongest tracks on the record. ‘The Look You Gave (Jerry)’ flows in the same vein, before the punchy percussion on ‘Tears’ changes the pace. The track’s buoyant rhythms contrast well with the ominous, dramatic three minute interlude ‘Crush’.

Penultimate track ‘Lost’ meanders for just shy of five minutes, before the eponymous ‘Careful’ closes the record. It’s a brief affair with a mysterious voice sample, artistically book-ending this collection of alluring, seductive sounds. Whilst at points Boy Harsher’s Careful may may feel repetitive, it’s hard to deny the record’s flirtatious, infectious nature. Make sure you catch the band at HEAVEN on 27th February.

Order your copy of Boy Harsher’s Careful here.
Follow the pair on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Boy Harsher – ‘Fate’

Massachusetts duo Boy Harsher have shared the second track from their forthcoming new album, Careful, which will be released on February 1st via their own label Nude Club Records. Titled ‘Fate’, the new song is four minutes of off-kilter synths, breathy seductive vocals and dance inducing beats.

The track is accompanied by a startling set of visuals, directed and produced by Bryan M. Ferguso. The video shows a blood-thirsty young woman hunting her prey against a dark cityscape – reminiscent of cult 80’s film Lost Boys (minus the mullets, of course).

Speaking about ‘Fate’, Boy Harsher explain: “It’s a song about how there’s no amount of running that can prevent you from your life. You are raw and beat-down, yet you will continue to behave the same way – ‘Fate’ is your own trouble, a magnetic force that’s stuck on you forever.”

Immerse yourself in the sound of ‘Fate’ below and catch the pair playing live at Heaven on 27th February.

Follow Boy Harsher on Facebook for more updates.

Boy Harsher 2019 UK Live Dates
Feb 24 Bristol, UK – Lanes #
Feb 25 Leeds, UK – Wharf Chambers #
Feb 26 Manchester, UK – Soup Kitchen #
Feb 27 London, UK – Heaven # **NEW VENUE**

# w/ KONTRAVOID

Photo credit: Nedda Afsari

Track Of The Day: Boy Harsher – ‘Face The Fire’

Hazy electronics and sultry vocals combine in hypnotic style on Boy Harsher‘s new single ‘Face The Fire’. The Massachusetts duo have shared the track alongside the announcement of their new album Careful – set for release on February 1st via their own imprint Nude Club Records – as well as US & European live dates.

Described as “a wild ride that celebrates feelings of abandon whilst mourning attachment and love” Boy Harsher’s Careful sounds like a heavy but heartfelt listen. If new track ‘Face the Fire’ is anything to go by, the band’s new record is going to be full of beats that ricochet around dark dance floors, or lonely bedroom walls.

The single’s accompanying visuals were created by band member Augustus Muller, and present “the trappings of classic Goth culture in a serious, yet irreverent way”. Together, Augustus and Jae Matthews have overcome many obstacles to maintain Boy Harsher’s cool sound, and ‘Face The Fire’ is another example of their ability to succeed even when the odds are stacked against them.

Watch the video for the new single below and follow Boy Harsher on Facebook for more updates.

Boy Harsher 2018 EU live dates (with Kontravoid except those marked #):
21/02 Hamburg, DE – Turmzimmer
22/02 Amsterdam, NL – Melkweg
23/02 St. Maló , FR – Route Du Rock #
24/02 Bristol, UK – Lanes
25/02 Leeds, UK – Wharf Chambers
26/02 Manchester, UK – Soup Kitchen
27/02 London, UK – Electrowerkz

Pre-order Boy Harsher’s upcoming album Careful here.

Photo Credit: Samantha Casolari

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut