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Boy Harsher, Drab Majesty bring synth-soaked sounds to Savannah

 

Boy Harsher, Drab Majesty bring synth-soaked sounds to Savannah

12 Sep 2017

Boy Harsher, a Savannah-born industrial synth-pop duo, will make a return to the Lowcountry this week with L.A.-based Drab Majesty and Atlanta’s Pyramid Club for an epic electronic music showcase.

Savannah over the last decade has acted as an incubator for a range of musical projects, spanning through nigh every genre. Boy Harsher’s Jae Matthews and Augustus Muller met as students at Savannah College of Art and Design. The project began as Teen Dreamz, with Muller setting down synth parts in an “electronic score” that Matthews would recite prose over.

Savannah itself provided the space and personnel to help the project blossom into Boy Harsher, which has earned attention from national media outlets and gained fans around the world.

“Our project started in Savannah with guidance and devotion from many Savannahians — we were really lucky to have such a supportive community,” Matthews said.

Boy Harsher has continued to hone in on a unique combination of electronic sounds, pulling influence from drone and EDM, mixed with Matthews’ singing and spoken word prose. Matthews and Muller coupled up shortly after the project started, and moved out of Savannah to Northampton, Mass., a few years ago.

“We’ve toured a lot,” Muller said. “I think playing in front of people has help shaped what type of music we want to make. We always wanted the music to have a strong visceral impact, and playing live helps work out some of the kinks.”

They are set to release a new EP next month, “Country Girl,” and they will be sharing the new tracks live in Savannah, along with tunes from their first album, “Yr Body Is Nothing,” which was mixed by Savannah’s Peter Mavrogeorgis at Dollhouse Studios.

“I’ve been obsessing over Yello’s records,” Muller said of his latest influences. “It’s extremely visually and narrative and I love how they’ve integrated that into hard-hitting dance tracks.”

“The ‘namesake’ track, Country Girl, explores some feelings that I’ve been having about returning to the Northeast and being greeted by change and loss at my home,” Matthews added. “Everything looks the same, so it’s rather uncanny, because it’s so different and sad.”

Drab Majesty is a solo construction of Deb DeMure, the non-gender alter ego of L.A. musician Andrew Clinco. Drab Majesty came into being rather accidentally. Clinco’s musical life began with a guitar, but at the age of 9 he quickly switched over to drums.

After years on the throne for bands Marriages and Black Mure, Clinco became interested once again in the guitar. Guided by influence from Marriages’ frontwoman Emma Ruth Rundle, Clinco’s longtime friend, and fingerpicking guitarists like Jose Gonzalez, he picked up the guitar once again. What came out was something completely unexpected, to the point that Clinco felt he was channeling another part of his subconscious.

“The more I wrote these songs, the more I felt it wasn’t even coming from me,” Clinco said. “This channeling process is something I looked to as a place where I would derive all this inspiration from. I still to this day don’t think I know what I am doing, or have any control over any songwriting. It’s divinatory meditation that comes or it doesn’t.

“As a way to honor this void that I feel like I am tapping into, why just not take any credit for it for myself and provide this other entity I am musing with? Thus came this new identity. Why it looks the way it does, I don’t have any concrete — it wasn’t that thoughtful.”

Drawing heavily from ’80s New Wave, Drab Majesty’s music begins with Clinco’s arpeggios on a reverb-drenched guitar with delay and chorus effects as well. Synth bass lines and a drum machine fill out the music, while Clinco’s spacey baritone completes the sound.

While Clinco writes and records all of the music himself, the live incarnation is accented by Mona D, who adds vocals and instrumentation to the set.

“I am the one that finalizes the songs, organizes them and puts them into a space that works for the record,” Clinco said. “Live is a little different. I’ve employed artitisic influence of Mona D. She doesn’t come from the same meditative songwriting space that I do, but has really great sensibilities. In that space it becomes a little bit more egalitarian construction of the live set. Mona’s ideas are totally heard; I am not a tyrant. When it comes to the songwriting, I play all the instruments. Because it’s a very particular process.”

While Boy Harsher and Drab Majesty have yet to play live together, they do know each other and share the same agents. Both will be sharing new music at The Jinx on Sept. 19.

“I’m looking forward to Gil making fun of me,” Muller said of Jinx promoter Gil Cruz.

IF YOU GO

What: Drab Majesty, Boy Harsher, Pyramid Club

When: 9 p.m. Sept. 19

Where: The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.

Cost: $10

Info: boyharsher.bandcamp.com

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