April 8, 2019
Native Nashvillian brothers, Brandon and Taylor Harris, have introduced the world to their new duo Octajohn. The release of their debut single, “In Love Indefinitely,” featuring pop singer/songwriter Menna, is the first of four songs on Octajohn’s debut EP “The Breakup,” which is set to release a little later this year.
The Octajohn brothers grew up in the land of country music, but they found their passion for music through listening to the rock and electro-pop albums they could find in their CD books as children. After working in the music industry for years with multiple different bands and projects, the brothers are stepping into their own as they use their biggest childhood favorites as Octajohn’s musical influences. With a mixture of pop and electronic production, “In Love Indefinitely,” makes you want to sing and dance your heart out.
After its release on March 22nd, “In Love Indefinitely,” has received the attention of DJ Cameron Chase, who will be doing a remix of the song, which should see a release in coming months.
Here at Music Mecca, we had the privilege of sitting down with one half of the brother duo, Brandon Harris, to hear a little more about the brothers’ musical upbringing, and what the future holds for Octajohn.
Music Mecca: So where are you guys from?
Brandon Harris: We grew up here in Nashville out by the Natchez Trace Bridge. We were out there in that house for about 21 years. I think it was good to grow up out in the country. It was less distracting. As kids, at least teenagers, we weren’t in a neighborhood. We kind of missed that social speed that some kids received, but at the same time we had 3 acres of land and a treehouse so it was lots of outdoors playtime. In a creative sense, I thought it was great too because a lot of musicians leave the city to go to studios that are pulled away from busy atmospheres and all those distractions, but we were already living in a place like that with access to a home studio.
MM: What do you like most about living in Nashville?
BH: I think aside from just needing family, I did realize how special the community here was after I moved to the bigger cities, which I think is a common realization people have after they first leave home and get out of that day to day routine they grew up in. People’s perspectives and appreciation change. I came to that realization after a while of following my heart and going wherever I wanted, that I wanted to be back home.
MM: You just released your debut single “In Love Indefinitely,” featuring Menna. What was the inspiration behind this song?
BH: This is the first song of a four song EP and it’s actually number two on the project. It’s a concept project and it’s going to be called “The Breakup.” The EP is kind of playing with the different relationship statuses and it came from the inspiration of actually going through a breakup- or two. I remember I was visiting New York up in Brooklyn and I thought about social media and how it would be cool to have a project called “Relationship Status.” I thought it would be cool if you had a track that summed up the moods both lyrically and melodically all the different statuses such as “Let’s Be Friends,” or “Let’s Be More Than Friends,” or “Let’s Just Be friends,” after your breakup. I guess we did change the song titles more towards what the hooks became, but overall those are the main ideas.
MM: Have you known or worked with Menna in the past? How did that come together?
BH: No we had never worked with her before. I met her through a 2nd or 3rd degree of separation with another vocalist. She was kind enough to come over and collaborate with us on the song. My brother and I had written most of the lyrics and I also wrote a little of it with Jason Moore as well who is known for having been in the pop trio band The Kaities. Jason is awesome as well and it was really great to be able to chew on some word approaches with him.
MM: As a brother duo, how long have you guys been working on music together?
BH: It really does go back to us as kids jamming. My brother, Taylor Harris, was 14 or 15 when he got his first drum kit and I was about 10 when I got my first guitar. We’ve been doing it ever since.
MM: So you guys are mostly writers and producers with the help of singers and co-writers. What projects/artists have you guys worked on/with in the past, or is Octajohn your first main musical project?
BH: Well we really grew up around the Music Row approach with session playing, publishing companies, and writing two or three songs a day, but I think there were some different musical genres that we grew up being influenced by. We really liked European music. I loved Radiohead, Beck, and Soundgarden. These were really authentic bands. Taylor, my brother, is an amazing drummer. He engineered and mixed for some different bigger country stuff, but I think he got a little burnt out doing that. We were previously in a band together called Mytyger. Him and I also did a satirical pop project with our cousins. It’s an album we put out on Spotify and everything, called “Wheat Party,” by 321 Famous.
MM: Now that you’ve released a single, can fans expect an upcoming EP? If so, do you have a release date?
BH: We do not have a release date yet. Nothing concrete has been decided. We have a few people pitching for TV and Film Sync placements and meanwhile we are going into the studios to mix and master the three other tracks. Maybe one single at a time to stretch it out, but not too long of course. We’re doing DIY, so right now we’re learning the timing of it all. Before the EP comes out we’re going to do a show with as many of the guest singers who can come out as possible.
MM: Who are some of Octajohn’s musical influences?
BH: We always say M83. We also love Röyksopp who is a Norwegian group. They’re a cool mix of Electro-Pop. They’ve worked with Robyn the Swedish Singer. Susanne Sundfor is also one of my favorites. She is a Norwegian Singer/Songwriter. I wish she’d play a show here in Nashville and I’d love to collaborate with her someday. We also love Zero 7 and Disclosure.
MM: Lastly, how did you decide on naming yourselves Octajohn?
BH: *Laughs* It’s a funny story and a bit of a brotherly inside joke. When we were living in LA we were out in Santa Monica. I was on the phone catching up with someone saying “Yeah you know I’m working at REI, and Taylor and I are working on some tracks.” At that time I had worked on a comedy film, sort of like a mockumentary movie, as far as acting with my friends. It was called “Dreamsicles.” So my brother was in the room while I was on the phone and started teasing me yelling “Yeah he’s Octajohn!” At first I said “Hey stop it,” but then I thought “Wait that’s kind of a cool name.” I kind of held onto it since then, which was in 2006 or 2007, and now here we are.
Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for shows and releases, and for more info check out their site HERE!