Premiere: Seattle’s HARLEY Illustrate Navigating Heartsickness on “HYPNOS”

harley © 2020
harley © 2020
HARLEY and “HYPNOS” have innately tapped into a ubiquitous sensitivity, exercising their dexterity in painting heartsickness with ostensible ease.

''I think we’re writing from our heart and trying to be as transparent with our emotions as possible,” Cade James Carl, frontman of Seattle-based pop outfit HARLEY, explains. “I always like bands and artists that don’t leave me guessing their intentions.”


Though they are not yet well known, HARLEY are equal parts novel as they are sensible; they utilize their innate knack for storytelling with promising pop affectation, staking their claim as an up-and-coming tour-de-force. They have amassed an impressive number of streams on Spotify with their comparatively small songography, proving their worth as more than just a fleeting fluke of indie pop, and their newest single, “HYPNOS,” which Atwood Magazine is proudly premiering today, further proves this sentiment.

“HYPNOS” tackles similar themes and sensibilities akin to indie-pop powerhouses LANY or PHANGS, achieving a masterful perception of love and heartache through its three-and-a-half minute lifespan. It’s pre-chorus and chorus drive home the song’s point with ease, crooning:

How the hell do you sleep easy?
I spaced out my whole way home

‘Cause you laughed at all of my jokes,
Saying I’m the one,
but now you won so you’re done?
we coast like highway
I’m drunk, I’m done tryna cope,
But I can’t let it go,
Now I’m pissed and you know

HARLEY and “HYPNOS” employ narrative lyricism to explicate heartbreak, aided my supplementary synth beats and a bouncing guitar riff that provide the song its deliciously palatable pop sensibility. “HYPNOS” illustrates the humanness of the immediate post-break-up feelings, delineating a raw emotionality that thrives on its redolent passion. HARLEY and “HYPNOS” have innately tapped into a ubiquitous sensitivity, exercising their dexterity in painting heartsickness with ostensible ease.

“HYPNOS” expounds on heartbreak with impassioned sympathy, engaging listeners with HARLEY’s culpability for affectatious songmaking. Says frontman Cade James Carl: “We write from real situations — we know that we can’t be the only ones feeling a certain way.”



Atwood Magazine: First of all, the new song, 'HYPNOS,' is really lovely. It sounds very summery, and is a great driving tune. What was the sonic inspiration for the song?

Cade James Carl: Thank you! That’s really good to hear. We thought it would be super interesting to take this break up that was awful and so tough to be a part of, and make it pretty and easy to listen to. This way we can portray the beauty in the break up and sonically allude to the elegance and delicacy of fresh starts. We love the heavy emotional melodies Lauv continues to write, and the synth tones SG Lewis uses a lot. They just blow our minds.

Lyrically, the song covers themes of heartbreak, or a falling out -- can you give a little backstory on the song's narrative?

Cade: “HYPNOS” lives in the space right after the break up when everything is still raw and emotional like right after the shock of it. The timing when the self-doubt kicks in and you start to question everything, This song is essentially part two of “Babe, I’m a Mess” — a song we released last year about Kimo’s [Combs, drums] most recent heartbreak. The feelings lingered so it made sense to do another track on it. She bailed on him that night, so he ended up hanging out with me and some other friends. She apparently didn’t like that, started a fight via text, and then called him just to dump him. Watching it all happen was jarring enough so we decided to write two songs based on that night, those moments, and the bouquet of emotions I watched unfold.

'HYPNOS' feels categorically different from some of your previous songs. Do you feel that your sound is evolving as you grow as a band?

Cade: We would consider “HYPNOS” categorically in our wheelhouse, but yeah, I absolutely agree. HARLEY is made up of three completely different, unique people, so we are always grooving and vibing in different ways. We’re still a little new so we are figuring out what is working for us and what we like. But we would definitely still consider “HYPNOS” and the other four songs we put out to be very HARLEY.

Harley © 2020
Harley © 2020

You're still a relatively smaller band with limited releases, but you've seen impressive success with what has been put out so far. Why do you think people are connecting to your music?

Cade: That’s an incredible question. I think we’re writing from our heart and trying to be as transparent with our emotions as possible. I always like bands and artists that don’t leave me guessing their intentions. I always feel more understood when they blatantly say the words I’ve been trying to but couldn’t, so we try to achieve that. We do our best to let it all out, and we’re finding people love that. We write from real situations — we know that we can’t be the only ones feeling a certain way. We also have an absolutely amazing, beautiful team around us to push our music and to new listeners in our demographic so that definitely helps with gaining a bigger fanbase day by day.

And you're from Seattle, which has such a rich musical history. Do you feel inspired by that music scene when making your music?

Cade: Emotionally and lyrically, absolutely. Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Death Cab for Cutie, are [all] full of raw emotion with incredible lyricism and we constantly strive to be as raw as possible in that way and in our performances. Sonically, I’d say we pull a little more from Southern California influences.

How does your songwriting process begin? Do you typically start with lyrics and melodies, or some sort of instrumental riff?

Cade: Love this question. Melody always comes first for us. We focus very heavily on our melodies. Then lyrics. We like to make sure the melody is raw and emotional and then the lyrics support the melody. Then once we put all those together and they reflect each other equally, we write riffs to support and extract the last bit of emotion from the song.

What role do you think music plays in our global culture; especially right now?

Cade: Oh this is a big question, but in short music we feel is a beautiful escape. Life is so messy and scary right now that people get locked in their heads so easy. Without having things to do or places to go, anxiety is starting to run like crazy, so is depression. We think music is being used as an escape or release now more so than any other moment.

And how do you hope to imprint on that?

Cade: We hope people can listen to HARLEY and relax. That they feel hope in our music, that they feel that they aren’t alone in anything, and that they can escape for three minutes at a time from their current stress. We think it’s a really cool power that music has and it’s a big responsibility — that people are willing to give their entire brain to us for three minutes. So we want to make sure what we are putting out there is real and honest and something healthy.

For people who don't yet know who you are, how would you sum up your band?

Cade: Hi, we’re HARLEY, a three-piece dream-pop band out of Seattle, Washington: Cade James Carl (vocals), Tristan Woods (bass), and Kimo Combs (drums). We like to call it daydream music. Because it’s trance-y in the fact that it’s catchy, yet easily understood. We’re something to daydream to. We’re just three boys who love to create heartfelt, pretty music.

For HARLEY, how would you define 'success?'

Cade: ‘HARLEY’ defines success as being able to do what we love for a living and making a positive impact on the world around us. As long as we are doing that and pouring into and loving on people that need it, we’ll be successful.

As you continue to grow as a band and put out more music, what can people expect from HARLEY?

Cade: You can always expect great music. We won’t ever put out any content that we haven’t fallen in love with ourselves. Expect more collabs, EP’s, music vids, live sessions, and tours.



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