How darkish wave duo Boy Harsher segued into horror filmmaking

About the previous ten years, synthwave — a genre that dominated 1980s movie recreation and film soundtracks — has been producing a steady comeback. In fact, it in no way genuinely died out, but was confined to niche circles as grunge took above the environment. In recent years, even so, a legion of contemporary synthwave bands have designed their way onto the charts and into golf equipment, with even additional mainstream pop artists, like the Weeknd, dipping their toes in.

1 duo driving this wave and little by little manipulating it more than time with their diverse soundscapes is Boy Harsher. Created up of vocalist Jae Matthews and digital soundscaper Augustus Muller, you could phone their seem darkwave — blending the gothic industrial seems of Sisters of Mercy with the far more fashionable lush waves of somebody like Seashore Residence.

They have always been seriously motivated by the artwork of film, building soundtracks for non-existent films, but for their latest release, The Runner, they basically experienced the chance to develop their personal. 

“It’s always been our desire to make a film,” suggests Muller over the cell phone. “And with COVID cancelling all of the touring options for us at the time, we ultimately had the time to make just one.”

Boy Harsher was currently in the system of producing what they simply call a “wacky COVID album,” but rapidly observed on their own once again writing a dark soundtrack to a film. 

“It was really challenging to produce music for the club, because at that time, it appeared like clubs and those people forms of live shows ended up going to be extinct,” suggests Matthews. “So we experimented and pretended to generate a soundtrack for a film idea and it developed into in fact filming one thing.” 

Composed and directed by Boy Harsher, The Runner was launched by Shudder back in January. It is a limited film that follows an unnamed, speechless girl (the eponymous Runner, played by Kristina Esfandiari of the doom steel team King Woman) as she silently rampages by way of an unsuspecting region city, haunted by bloody, obscure memories and sinister motivations. The film also splices in stay performances and songs video clips from Boy Harsher, and at occasions functions as a documentary about the duo’s musical inspiration.

“I imagine the music we’re generally making seems like it would mesh effectively with a good noir or frightening motion picture, so with The Runner, it just made feeling,” Matthews states. “We also integrated some of the figures we’ve made more than the a long time that never ever built it onto the screen.”

One particular of these figures is credited as the “the Desperate Man,” whom the Runner calls and listens to in excess of the phone as she ruminates above the horror she just caused. 

“I feel Gus wrote him 10 several years ago and he often found his way into our tunes. A different is the lonely girl, and then, of system, the Runner, who has crept into our new music for some time,” Matthews says. 

It’s tough to sense sympathy for the Runner in the film as she goes on what you could simply call a killing spree, even though the movie presents a obscure justification for her carnage. But at a person level anyone asks, “Do you see yourself in the Runner?” The concern, directed at Matthews herself in the course of the job interview/documentary portion” of the movie, provides a feeling of stark terror becuase we never ever get her remedy. 

“I imagine if I choose it literally, for me, then of course, of course, for the reason that I have been producing this character for so prolonged, but the level of that issue in the film is to counsel that all people could possibly see on their own in the Runner,” she says. “There’s usually a portion of you that is likely to self-sabotage in get to get what you want, or, just like this prescription of need, as a manifestation of anything solely harmful.”

Boy Harsher’s sojourn in the world of filmmaking might become extra of an prolonged stay now that Matthews and Muller have a taste for it. So could there be a sequel to The Runner? The conclusion is left rather open. 

“I indicate Jae and I are both ready to give up audio and make audio — I imply, movies,” Muller claims. 

“That was a bit of a Freudian slip there,” Matthews laughs. “But seriously, I consider the pandemic actually gave us a perspective of what is useful in existence. We appreciate new music, and there’s nothing much more specific than undertaking new music for people who also get pleasure from it. But at the similar time, it would be really awesome to get again to our roots and deliver some films.” ■

This posting was initially printed in the August 2022 issue of Cult MTL. 

For much more about Boy Harsher, be sure to visit the band’s website.

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