Evoking raw emotion and mood with the aid of catchy melodies and solid rock rhythms, Harsh Krieger gives a definitive, tasteful life to that gray area looming between modern rock and mainstream pop, and presents it in a purely honest and attractive way. Morphed from the surnames of founding members: vocalist/rhythm guitarist Jake Harsh and lead guitarist Jesse Krieger, Harsh Krieger is complete with drummer Ben Showalter and bassist Chris Boyle.
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Many of today’s most endearing songwriting and performing teams owe their successful careers mostly to chemistry--the sparks that fly between two musical entities that are destined to make music together. With Jesse coming from playing clubs in Europe and Jake coming from a stint with a couple of bands in Michigan, the two musicians met at Nashville’s School of Audio Engineering in 2002 and the foundation of today’s Harsh Krieger was etched from the melding of two creative souls. “The first time we ever jammed, it clicked almost immediately as far as my playing with what he (Jake) was doing rhythmically and melodically,” says Jesse. “We both felt it right away and have worked hard to develop our sound over the past couple years,” recalls Jesse.
According to Jake, who was already involved in a deal at the time with a producer to record three songs and eventually an entire record, “In the middle of doing that, I started working with Jesse and so he just jumped on and started recording with me. We both knew the other was into music, we hung out a few times, and then we jammed, random stuff. It worked out well, so I started bringing all the songs that I wrote to him and then we started creating something better.”
Something better turned out to be Harsh Krieger’s self-titled debut album, which is scheduled to be released nationally in the spring of 2005. This thoughtfully conceived debut stands as a powerful first impression to prospective fans and radio alike who have already responded with FMQB, XM Radio and U.N.C.L.E. charting. “We’d like to convey through our music and somewhat open-ended lyrics that we’re not necessarily pushing an ideology or expressing explicit boy-girl situations, more of making you think and feel. One thing that we want people to feel is the emotion we put into it as far as writing and rewriting,” Jesse says of the lyrical content.
The album is, says Jake, “just something very familiar, but something you can’t put a finger on. Its original, but at the same time, it still is that timeless music that you don’t very easily forget. Not bubblegum pop, but still popular music.” Harsh Krieger gently steps outside of the boundaries just enough to create something fresh, but also remain easy and fun to listen to. As Jesse puts it, “One thing that is important from a songwriting perspective, is not being afraid to try new ideas, even if we think something feels pretty good.”
Harsh Krieger recently had their tracks “Home,” “Luming,” “Change” and “The Shore” featured on MTV’s Real World and Road Rules, and had the opportunity to headline the first “Gibson Rocks!” private industry event in New York City. Though major labels have expressed interest, the band, who head their own record label, Tabula Rasa Records, are comfortable relying on their creative ability and insight. “We actually enjoy running our energy between being creative, developing our show, writing songs, and steering the ship of our career path as far as looking for new performance and licensing opportunities. I get a kick out of that stuff almost as much as playing music. We’re not necessarily looking for somebody else to steer the way and it keeps us free to follow the path wherever. We’re very much aware of how we want our career to develop,” Jesse says.
"Revised from original interview for Sonic Slang.com by Lael H. Adams
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