If you’re yet to come across half•alive today is your lucky day! The American band from Long Beach, California has just released their fantastic new album – Now, Not Yet – and are set to take the UK by storm during their half alive UK tour in November.
We are as enthralled by the trio as their music videos – works of art: their talent, style and creativity is both individual and just what the world needs right now (in our opinion anyway)! Josh, J Tyler and Brett sat down with Off The Cuff LDN to talk fashion, music and peachy hair…
OTC: You rock some amazing clothing and tend to have several costume changes per music video, particularly in Arrow– what outfit is closest to your own style?
Josh: I think for a long time the outfits I wore in the aawake at night video were closest to what I wore every day. Now, I think it might be my purple sweater outfit in Pure Gold, since I’ve been into colour block type stuff recently.
For J I think it’s the bathroom scene in Arrow, with his yellow fanny pack. He certainly likes fanny packs a lot right now, especially when we travel.
OTC: Still Feel involves some fantastic contemporary dance that fits amazingly well with the music, how did you all learn to dance so well and is it something you enjoy doing?
half•alive: Our choreographers, JA Collective are the masterminds behind all our dance. We are all very open to movement, which allows Jordan and Aidan (of JA) to create and adapt dance moves that uniquely fit each of us in our differing levels and capabilities of movement. Josh has the most involvement with them in the videos, in the live shows and was the initiator of bringing JA into the folds of the band’s aesthetic identity.
OTC: The blazers you all wear in Still Feel are great, what brands are they?
half•alive: We have no idea actually! Hah! For that music video we went to a massive clothing warehouse in LA that featured many decades of style, going from modern back to the Wild West. We got those jackets from the 70s isle. Our stylist, Maddie Turner picked them out with Josh.
OTC: Who are your main influences musically?
half•alive: Our musical influences change quite often, depending on what season of life we are in, what music has been released recently, what our mood is, what projects of ours are coming up… all of these are factors in what we listen to and what we get inspired by. But the artists that frequent those influencing spots are Bon Iver, Chance The Rapper, Vulfpeck, & Christine and the Queens.
OTC: I could not take my eyes off of the Pure Gold music video – it was a piece of modern art in itself – what was the creative idea behind the video?
half•alive: The concept and approach for the Pure Gold visualiser came from our new friend and collaborator on creative direction, Ben Kaufman from Maavven. We got in touch with him via Jordan from JA. The concept was directed at movement, secret moments, and the awkward or in between. Aiming towards movement that highlights limbo and uncertainty in direction. Throughout the video we also cut to segments of choreography that JA had made over the course of the year. Now those movements of the Pure Gold visualiser are actually being shown on a massive video billboard in the heart of Time Square as a part of our partnership with YouTube Music! – Who knew? Haha!
OTC: half•alive’s merchandise is brilliant. You are all obviously all very talented musically, but would you say any of you are artistic in terms of drawing etc? Did you have any involvement in the designing of the fashion pieces you stock?
half•alive: In terms of visual art, Josh has the most background as a photographer and cinematographer/editor, as well as having a background in drawing and painting – not nearly as much as film and photo, but definitely enough to have developed his sense of colour theory, composition and light vs. shadow. For merch, we collaborate with brilliant designers. They usually send us designs they are working on, and the three of us plus our manager make notes on those designs until it fits with our aesthetic.
OTC: The RUNAWAY music video shows an emotional story of a parent leaving for military service, what was the real story behind the lyrics? Did any personal experiences inspire the song?
half•alive: The concept for the RUNAWAY music video all came from our imaginations. All three of us collaborated in writing the concept, and Josh spearheaded the story as the director and primary visionary. The real connection between the song and the video comes from the chorus lyrics: “I find that everything I am is everything I should be, I don’t need to run away”. In the video, the daughter, Jess has been running away from her true identity as a beloved child her entire life. Her father, Francis, who got drafted in WWII knew that he might never come back, so he wrote a series of letters to her, intending for her to open one on each birthday for 20 years. In side were words of affirmation and guidance, telling her who she really is and where she can find her confidence from. But Jess was furious with her father for leaving, so she didn’t open the letters until her 24th birthday. It then when she understood her father’s love for her, and subsequently, who she was in light of that. Finally, she realizes “I don’t need to RUNAWAY”.
OTC: There are so many layers to your sound, how do you even go about beginning the creation of each song?
half•alive: For this record, we rented Airbnbs in different environments and locations that might inspire us. Some songs came from a quick voice memo-ed moment of inspiration from past months. Others started from scratch. The music seems to flow pretty naturally between the three of us. Brett and J Tyler’s background in music theory really helped us navigate the deep chord progressions of this record.
OTC: There is a gorgeous use of fabulous colours in your clothing, set and lighting for your music videos etc, but what are your favourite colours to wear?
Josh: I think my favourite colours often are in sync with the band’s current colours. So the colours of Now, Not Yet are deep emerald, sunset orange, and highlights of some pastel colours. Although, with my newly dyed peachy pink hair, I’m finding that I like wearing lighter colours as of recent.
OTC: half•alive has produced stunning vinyls and covers to accompany, do you guys own a vinyl player and take it on tour?
half•alive: We are very proud of the vinyl’s we’ve released so far. The Now, Not Yet vinyl artwork and design were by Hugo Bastos and David Kramer. We do own one, but unfortunately we don’t bring it on tour. Hah! I don’t think it would be very contusive to a tour bus, as there are many bumps and turns!
OTC: The half alive UK tour is coming up. What is your go to touring outfit?
Josh: We are very intentional on our touring outfits. Before each tour we decide on what each of us will wear, what costume changes will happen mid set, what JA will wear, what additional horns or strings or dancers will wear. Right now my current favourite is my navy, short sleeved jumpsuit!
OTC: Describe each of your style in 6 syllables (Brett – J, Tyler J Tyler – Josh and Josh – Brett).
Josh: Brett’s style is minimal and cozy. He likes looking good and comfortable in what he wears. Features some skater/surfer vibes sometimes – when traveling he frequents a soft large shirt and hoodie. I’ve also noticed he rocks some sweetly patterned crew neck sweaters! And he really likes this new pair of shoes he got from one of our photo shoots (but he doesn’t want us to see him wearing them every day, so he keeps us on our toes with that).
Brett: J’s style is boundary breaking and breath taking. From incredible scarves, to platinum gold necklace chains, to killer Lululemon apparel J Tyler proves time and time again that rules were meant to be broken! Current favorite pieces of mine are his classic hat with no bill; non-prescription, clear, glasses; and last but not least, giant, but comfortable, bright white and wonderful Adidas shoes that are fresh off the shelf. J Tyler proves time and again that, when you think he’s at the top of his game, he’s actually just getting started!
J Tyler: Josh is a man you may often see wearing a striped shirt with a bucket hat, some thrifted pants he got on tour, and a pair of new balance shoes gifted from a friend. He enjoys everything from vintage nostalgic pieces, to baggy sweaters, to jean jackets of “yestereve”. His current mission: to find the best suiting clothes for his new pink hair. Good luck my boy, and Godspeed!
OTC: Where is your favourite place to shop?
Josh: For me, vintage and second hand stores. Both because its sustainable, and because the pieces there are usually pretty unique.
Josh, you have an insanely beautiful voice, with an incredible range, how did you discover you could sing like that, and how did you develop vocal style into what it is now?
Josh: Why thank you! I’ve just been singing since I was a kid really. I was in choir when I was really young, and I just love to sing! I think the more anyone sings, the better they get at it. But for me it takes singing in the car, in my room, on walks, on recordings, with people, and for people – whenever it feels right. I’m also just very self-aware, and a 5 wing on the enneagram, so I evaluate and disassemble things in my mind to understand them. I do that with nearly everything, singing is definitely one of them. So, I can feel when my pitch is off, or when my tone is not what I want, and I slowly learn to correct it.
OTC: What is your favourite decade for music, fashion and art?
Josh: I think it varies depending on season of life for me. Right now, my favourite music, fashion and art are those that are timeless – where you can’t really tell what decade it’s from, but for some reason it pulls you in, and seems to work for the present.
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