NYC-based brothers Abner and Harper James, aka Eighty Ninety, have wowed listeners with their unique musical style & ear-catching minimalist pop productions, which has received high recognition from fans & critics alike.
Now, this talented duo have released the brand new single “Forever” & kindly taken the time to speak with Fierce & Fabulous Revolution about their latest release, along with getting to know more about the artists behind the music.
Hey Eighty Ninety, thank you so much for this interview. Can you start by telling the readers a little bit about yourself?
Eighty Ninety: Thanks for talking with us! We’re brothers, Abner and Harper James. We grew up in a small coastal town in Maine but now live in NYC.
How did the idea to create Eighty Ninety come together?
Eighty Ninety: We grew up playing music together, and always had the idea that we’d form a band. While we were in college (Abner was in LA and Harper was in NYC) we continued to send song ideas back and forth. After graduating we both ended up in New York. Harper was working at a recording studio, and we’d go in at night to work on our own songs. When we finished our first one, “Three Thirty,” we decided we wanted to put it out and the band became official.
Do you find that working alongside your brother can generate creative challenges between the two of you when creating new music? or are you usually on the same page?
Eighty Ninety: Both, haha. Of course collaborating with a sibling comes with its own set of challenges but, for the most part, it has actually made things easier, at least in our experience. We grew up together so have a musical shorthand and also a pretty thorough understanding of the other’s taste and mindset. That makes it easier in the studio to share ideas without having to guess too much.
How would you describe your musical style to someone unfamiliar with your music?
Eighty Ninety: We call it “808s and telecasters”, which is a kind of nickname for our music and approach. We tend to draw on both traditional songwriting influences as well as contemporary production ideas (and everything in between) when we’re making our songs. It’s also a literal description of our music — there’s a telecaster and some form of 808 on a lot of what we do.
You have just released the brand new single “Forever”. How did the idea for this song come together?
Eighty Ninety: This one was really fun to make. It was the first song we made with Gian Stone, an incredible writer and producer who we’ve worked with on the past few releases. It started when we went to his studio to hang out and catch up — we weren’t originally going to make music, but when you put three musicians in a studio, guess we shouldn’t have been surprised that we ended up recording something. The two of us had the beginning of the song written, but hadn’t started producing it. So we all worked on it for a few days. It was so much fun we decided to keep going on new songs — we’re still working on some together as of today, actually.
Did you always know that you would be releasing “Forever” as a single?
Eighty Ninety: We felt pretty sure while we were working on it that it would be a fun song to release as a single. I don’t know if this will make sense, but it’s more of a mellow “vibe” song than we usually make. We think it has to do with the fact that we made it in California. But it is an Eighty Ninety song, so it’s still melancholy, haha.
What does the song personally mean to you?
Eighty Ninety: “Forever” is about those moments after a relationship when you allow yourself to think — what if things had gone differently? What if we could get past everything that made this not work out and still be together? We wanted the feeling of the production to contrast that ephemeral wish with the solidness of reality. So we matched ethereal, soft synth pads with harder hitting percussion.
If listeners could take away one thing from this song, what would you like it to be?
Eighty Ninety: One of the ways music has been so important to us is that it can be a companion during good times and hard times. We would love it if our music was useful to people in that way.
What are some of the things you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Eighty Ninety: I don’t know if this counts – but if we’re not in the studio working on Eighty Ninety or touring, Abner is a filmmaker who makes music videos and Harper produces other artists.
What was the last TV show you binge – watched & did you enjoy it?
Abner: I’m in the middle of “Lupin” on Netflix! Just started – but so far so good.
If you could possess one superpower, what would you choose & why?
Eighty Ninety: Time travel – we could go see any artist from any era.
Finally, is there a message that you would like to share with the readers of Fierce & Fabulous Revolution?
Eighty Ninety: “Forever” is just our first single of 2021 – there’s more music coming soon!
You can check out “Forever” on Spotify below or purchase on iTunes here.