In order to introduce the full picture of all that HARLOR truly is, it is necessary to understand that this group, at the end of the day, is two long time friends pursuing their calling to the music industry- and doing it flawlessly. Singer and songwriter Nick Gerard provides hauntingly beautiful vocals that marry the symphonic mastery over the construction of a song demonstrated by producer Max Anthony. I had the pleasure of speaking with HARLOR and asked them about their experiences in the music industry and the backstory of their newest single, “Not Ready To Go.” What I learned about their song writing process matches what I learned about the two of them: genuine artistry.
HARLOR talks about their relationship with music.
Both halves of this stellar duo have had a passion for music since they were young. “It’s something that, from a young age, I could always connect with some of the artists I listened to. Ed Sheeran was a big one I listened to and followed his song-writing style. I loved the way he told stories.
Music is something that is on my mind and in my heart all day every day.” Nick says. Max shares this sentiment in saying “As years went on it became more apparent how much music meant to me and how much making it is a huge part of my life. It’s an outlet to get your message out. I put a lot of my emotions into chord progressions and the way the music sounds.” The marriage of music to their personal emotions puts such a tangible element to the chords and lyrics throughout their music- a phenomenon that has clearly been developed from a young age.
The duo met freshman year of college where their rooms were, coincidentally, right across the hall from each other. Joking that this was divine intervention, Nick says “our relationship is a very playful one that has been developed since freshman year. It plays into making the process of songwriting and recording fun.”
In the construction of a song, HARLOR describes the process as heavily reliant on articulating components of their own life into the music. Nick describes how “It changes and evolves. There is not just one way to do it. I’ve found that the best thing to do is constantly work on ideas. My phone is filled with little phrases and ideas for lines that I try to capture in the moment whether I’m really upset or nostalgic. I try to capture the most creative way of what I’m feeling. I’ll come up with a phrase and write that down, then I’ll go back in the studio and dissect that to make it cleaner and clearer.”
Nick goes on to mention the importance of being in the right headspace to construct music. “It’s not really something you can plan, you have to catch it when it happens. As far as the studio goes, stepping away from distractions and getting some silence will bring light to some of the things you are feeling and thinking about that you may be blocking out. I think this opens your mind and helps with the song-writing process.”
Max discusses the importance of their lyrics in holding a deeper meaning than at face value. “While it may have certain elements of your average pop song, the song-writing itself is so much deeper than a lot of people would expect with pop. There’s more of a story behind it. Nick does a very good job of making sure the lyrics aren’t empty and they will actually help someone through something or put someone through a mental story or leave things open for interpretation.”
Nick supplements this idea in relating the lyrics to personal anecdotes throughout his past. “I feel like I’m dishonest if I write a song that I can’t own for myself. Even if it doesn’t align with my moral thinking right now, it is a story that is genuine from a place I was at in my life even if it isn’t me right now. I try to just sprinkle in little things I’ve learned through life. I try to make it at least one place where a person can walk away from that song and say “oh that was cool or that helped me cope with someone or I never looked at it that way. That’s a pretty important thing in our music.”
HARLOR talks about their new single, “Not Ready To Go.”
HARLOR dropped their new single, “Not Ready to Go” on November 20th. At the same time, they performed this song in their debut live performance on Milan’s virtual event hosted by DJ Khaled, From Milan with Love. The performance now has close to 500,000 views on youtube and can be watched here.
Max discusses the origins of their single. “At first it really didn’t have much substance. I said and sang what first came to my head. Nick then wrote the whole song within the next day. We had worked on it a little bit when we were at school and it sat on our hard drive for the longest time. We then met with our production team and they heard the potential of it. From there, we built upon what we had and turned it into what it is now.”
The duo coined their weekend writing sessions throughout college “Deweys and Brewys” named after their favorite pizza chain and weekend beverage. In other words, HARLOR spent long weekends writing songs paired with pizza and beer- a recipe for success. Nick talks about the importance of these weekends in birthing “Not Ready to Go.” “Those weekends birthed Not Ready to Go and developed our abilities in my songwriting and Max’s production skills that put us on track of where we are now. That songwriting process was kind of an idea from my past that I wanted to get out. I married it to Max’s hook. It was one of those situations where the sign wrote itself because we were in the right headspace to do so.”
It’s evident that the sheer passion Nick Gerard and Max Anthony have for music is built upon a brotherhood that inspires each other to achieve success. The genuine love for creating music leaves no detail of their songs coincidental. Every synth, lyric and beat is intentional in creating the euphonious atmosphere of their songs. HARLOR is not stopping anytime soon, and fans can be assured that new music is on the way.
You can find them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @weareHARLOR. Additionally, stream their new single “Not Ready to Go” on your preferred service here. As always, make sure to follow Beyond The Stage on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the latest music news.
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