I am ending the day…
by speaking with songwriter/model Harry Hains about his musical alter ego, ANTIBOY. The exciting artist speaks with me about the debut single, Devil, and what we can expect from the forthcoming album, A Glitch in Paradise – I ask what the future holds and which three albums mean the most.
ANTIBOY talks about personal heroes in music and how new songs comes together; the importance of Los Angeles in terms of inspiration and its vibe; what gigs are coming up (you can see ANTIBOY at El Cid, Los Angeles on Sunday 30th at 3 P.M.); how the Australian spends time outside of music – ANTIBOY recommends an artist we should all be aware of.
Hi, Harry. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! I’m pretty good! My week’s been a little crazy. I was shooting a role on a T.V. series for Amazon; then another role for a feature film over the last few days, with a couple of big meetings coming up! It's a very exciting time right now for my career, however. I’m also in the process of looking for a new place to move in the next week which is always a little stressful.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is ANTIBOY; a gender-fluid android from the future stuck inside a virtual simulation glitch.
How did ‘ANTIBOY’ come to be? What does that name symbolise and represent?
ANTIBOY was originally meant to be a rebellion against social constructs of modern-day society; particularly of what someone who’s male-born is meant to sing about, wear and represent in Pop culture. ANTIBOY is from a future where race, gender and sexuality (minus physiological desire) are no longer terms that are used.
So, if ANTIBOY was in the present, it would be confusing and disturbing to hear how much segregation and hatred has been made based on purely on the minor differences in physiology within the entire HUMAN race. There becomes only two ‘races’ on Earth - robot and human - and eventually they fuse together.
Who do you rank as music idols and inspirations? Did you grow up around a lot of music?
I think of my music as a blend between Lana Del Rey, Nirvana and the 1975 with its own unique flair; a genre I like to call ‘Glitch-Rock’ - a futuristic electronic element. I’m also very much inspired by FKA twigs, Twenty One Pilots; Years & Years, Lorde; Banks, Tove Lo and the fashion stylings and image of David Bowie and Lady Gaga at certain points in their careers. I did grow up around music. My dad has a huge record collection and was constantly learning new instruments.
My brother's taste in music showed me new genres of artists and music like ‘Future-Garage’ and more unknown artists like James Blake that I hadn’t heard of yet. He would introduce me to artists like that before they blew up.
Devil is your new single. Is there a story behind the track?
Yes. Devil is about someone bringing the worst out of you. Literally, “you shine the devil into me”; loving that person so much, but loving them is so harmful and is that obsession that destroys you and brings you to your worst self. It explores love as an addiction.
I believe an album, A Glitch in Paradise, is coming. What sort of themes and stories inspired the music?
A Glitch in Paradise is about a future where after we have merged with A.I. We reach a point in time where we can upload our consciousness to the ‘Cloud’. ANTIBOY, who is so addicted to a past relationship, is stuck in a loop of heartbreak as implanted memories continually get replayed over and over. In a world where we can create the perfect reality, our human minds will always bring us back to the pain and suffering of the love we never quite got over.
Are there particular moments when you sit down and write? How do songs usually come to you?
It’s always at a complete random point in time. It could be at 4 A.M. as I am lying in bed and I suddenly gasp and black-out - and then write an entire song that I don’t really remember writing. When the inspiration hits me, maybe it’s something someone says or something I read or hear or see or smell. I can write the lyrics to a whole song very quickly, as I’m very in touch with my emotional side and very good at spilling my emotions; expelling everything so it is removed from me.
How does living in Los Angeles suit you? Is it a great place to work and create?
L.A. is the kind of city that is what you make of it. If you work hard at what you love - and are passionate and driven - you can make anything into a reality. I didn’t grow up singing. I wasn’t even a decent singer until I wanted to find a way to turn my poems into something people would want to hear which is when I started writing songs. I then spent a lot of time taking voice lessons and finding my voice as I worked on two other music projects including a musical I wrote.
Though, particularly throughout the process of this album - with help from my producers, A Jones and Zeus -, I found my own unique style. I wouldn’t have been able to bring this into fruition if it wasn’t for the team of people including them that believed in my vision and concepts and was able to help guide me in the right direction by turning my wild visual ideas into sonic ones.
This is the city of opportunities and, if you can’t get one, you can certainly find a way to make them. I booked my first lead role in a feature film the first month I arrived here. It’s a city where people care about who you are in this moment, not necessarily who you were in the past - and so you can reinvent yourself in Los Angeles until you’ve found what works for you.
Does your experience as a model and actor impact how you write about gender roles do you feel?
Getting to play around with a lot of different sides of myself, in different roles (or ‘characters’); I’ve managed to feel out differing points of view and experience them through the material. I’ve played the dumb, chauvinistic asshole and I’ve played the sweet, sensitive guy who treasures their partner to a fault. Through not only getting these opportunities, but also through my own life experiences, I’ve come to look at gender as something very different to sex; something to be explored, as femininity and masculinity are just too different forms of energy.
They shouldn’t be use to represent your sex or your gender. I fluctuate comfortably between these energies. I don’t feel the need to define myself in any particular way. Gender is a social construct. Gender roles need to hurry up and be a thing of the past. Our gender can be defined by us and we can choose how to play it. No one else gets to decide that.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I hope to have released more of my album and to have successfully pitched the pilot of the T.V. show, A Glitch in Paradise, where each episode is based on a track from the album in a sci-fi musical about ANTIBOY. The series outline is in development so I won’t reveal too much, however, that is my focus: to make this show a reality.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
That’s a tough question as there are so many great memories. Releasing my debut single around two weeks ago and it already being over 300k+ views on YouTube is a big one, as it shows all the hard work I’ve put into this and all the time invested. People are actually into it. However, my favourite memory was more a subtle one: when something clicked inside me after we were a couple tracks in on the album with my producers and we decided to go in a more organic, Rock direction and, somehow, I found my voice.
We re-recorded the tracks prior to that. I found this new sense of comfort and confidence and we all got really excited; having a very strong feeling about how well this album could do; sensing that rock is making a comeback.
Which three albums mean the most to each of you would you say (and why)?
In no particular order, here are some of my top rated albums:
I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it - The 1975
It has this incredible atmosphere, being super-cinematic with very powerful lyrics and melodies. Bringing back Rock music in a new and interestingly emotive way (LOVE the songs Paris, Somebody Else and Change of Heart).
Born to Die - Lana Del Rey
Her soft, beautiful vocals and old-school, dark Hollywood glamour made this album incredible; something very elegant and timeless about her music with such a deep and honest sadness (Off to the Races, Summertime Sadness and Dark Paradise).
M3LL155X - FKA twigs
This E.P. is experimental, slightly bizarre and extremely original with an incredibly strong visual component. All the songs connect together in one extended music video that is mind-blowing. It feels more like an art film than a music video. She is so talented and conceptual. There is no way to even compare her to another artist as she truly does her own thing that no one else does. (Glass & Patron is my favourite song and video from it - amazing).
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
You probably saw it coming but it would be Lana Del Rey…which would include getting to perform one of my songs or one that I write with; or for her as a duet which is what opens up into her main show.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Work hard, think outside the box. Don’t make music that is so inspired by a current artist’s work that it just sounds like a version of them - that’s a year too old - but rather be inspired by multiple people and create your own sound or, in my case, genre, and think about yourself as a brand or concept. Play around with unique ideas and really go for it. Music is an art, so don’t try and be someone else; use what you have and make your personal side come into place. The most interesting musicians are the ones who are most authentic.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
We have yet to organize my first tour as my first single only just came out, but a tour is definitely something that’s on our minds. I just came back from N.Y.C. where I had a couple of shows but will be ready soon for a proper tour. I have a show this coming Sunday, 30th Sept at El Cid (Wild Riot presenting Sundaze 12 P.M. til 5 P.M.).
IN THIS PHOTO: H.E.R.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I’m a huge fan of H.E.R. Her album last year was so fantastic and after touring for a long time now, she has started to blow up which I knew was coming!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Well. When I’m not working or writing, I love to binge-watch T.V. shows. I just did that with the first two seasons of The Good Place which I really loved and currently I’m watching the new season of BoJack Horseman. Otherwise, hanging around with friends; meeting new people and connecting.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Thanks for the interview! I’d suggest literally anything by H.E.R. This one has a special place in my heart, though:
H.E.R. - Pigment