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Time and again, Australia has proved itself to be at the forefront of the global heavy music scene. One of our latest offerings is Harbor the Code, who dropped their latest ground shattering single, Side by Side, last Friday.
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In celebration of the release, Hysteria caught up with bassist Matt Evlampieff and vocalist George Gana to chat about the track, and the band’s plans for the year.
The band formed back in 2018, can you run us through your history?
George: I started working with Navid, one of our guitarists, and literally a week later our drummer Luca came along. Luca and Navid had worked together in a band previously so that’s how they knew each other. For the majority of last year, the band was just a three piece.
Matt: Maybe two weeks after I joined, Darcy, our other guitarist (who we all call Trap) joined. He had a similar situation to me, he was sending us all videos of him playing. We finally met up, had a jam and said “Sweet, we can all play our instruments, let’s do this!”
George: The final line-up as it is now is myself on vocals, Matty on bass, Navid on rhythm guitar and backup vocals, Luca on drums and Trap on lead guitar. We’re the best five piece in the world (laughs).
Tell us a bit about what it was like crafting Side by Side.
G: The way we write … someone will have an idea and that’s anyone. Matty could write a bassline, Navid could write some guitar, Luca could write drums- anyone could write anything they want. Basically, they put it forward to the band and each member will write their own part which creates the demo. From the demo we listen to everything and we start breaking it down on what can be fixed, what can be improved and what can be changed- all that jazz.
To cut a long story short, Side by Side turned out to be the heaviest song we’ve written, especially lyrically. We did a bit of experimenting with adding a bit of theatrics to the song, one part actually becomes quite dramatic and quite psychotic. We think overall it gave the track quite a unique sound. We also added a bunch of strings, I actually think the primary instrument is those strings. They just helped build that soundscape and it worked well with the motif of the song
M: I think the other thing to put in there is we were thinking about our live performance with Side by Side. We have some songs that are more technical than others. With this song, we wanted to focus on not having it as complicated on the instruments so we could perform and move around more. We didn’t want it to be as fast paced as the other songs.
Anger is an emotion that everyone feels no matter how nice or kind you are, so once you get into that feeling it just has a way of taking over.
[ GEORGE ]
You’ve said that Side by Side is the heaviest song the band’s written to date. Did you find it challenging trying to achieve that sound?
G: Not really, the song is inspired by a particular person and event but the focus of the song was really on emotions and feelings of anger. By doing it like that, it was quite easy to achieve that sound. Anger is an emotion that everyone feels no matter how nice or kind you are, so once you get into that feeling it just has a way of taking over.
M: Maybe manifest itself.
G: That’s a fancy word, but yes!
The soundscape of the track really stuck out, sounding so theatrical. What kind of story were you trying to tell with it?
G: Well like I said, it was inspired by a particular person and event. The thing with the lyrics that I write is that they’re all inspired by true life events, they’re all things that have happened to me that even my closest friends and family don’t know about. I feel like that’s what makes our music heavy, it’s not necessarily the guitar or the drums, it’s the honesty behind the lyrics. That honesty just allows the intensity and conviction to come through in our performance.
M: I think on that, with that soundscape especially coming out of that psychotic bit, it was written to be like a wall of sound, so you’re kind of punched in the face with it when it comes back in.
G: As a vocalist you have some form of technique, but when we recorded this song my technique went out the window. I was just screaming until it felt like my throat was bleeding, just to capture that emotion needed to portray an angry song.
Now that the song’s out, what else are the band hoping to achieve in 2019?
M: Coming off the back of Side by Side, being our first release of this year, it’s really going to be used as a launch pad. It’s probably going to be more of a minor release for us, the next release we’ve got is going to be a major one with a music video. We’ll then have two other minor releases, we’re hoping to put out a lot of content so we can get exposure.
The other thing is perfecting our live performance. We know we can play our music pretty well, but we made a conscious decision to not perform live until our performance is exactly where we want it to be. We want our live show to be absolutely perfect. This year will really be about those three or four releases coming out and playing shows and interacting with people who like our music.