Her Royal Harness is a unique electro-pop band with an fascinatingly modern origin story–the band met on a music message board through an argument, and now they’ve released a fantastic debut album. Reminiscent of the best of the 80s, the fresh romantic electro-pop never feels dated, and vocalist Helene Jaeger is sure to become a modern style icon.
The project came into being soon after Jaeger encountered London producer-instrumentalist Dylan Long in an internet music forum, a meeting which at the time descended into an argument. However, the two had a lot in common, kept talking and gradually sensed that their two contrasting approaches to making music combined to make something distinctive and emotionally potent.
Having worked out some early songs in collaboration, the two got in touch with US mixer Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend, The Strokes ++) via a chance email, and were happy to discover that he was into working with them. Their first, self-released experiment ended up being playlisted on national radio, leading to key festival gigs and a period of being courted by a major label.
By that point, however, the pair had grown disillusioned with their initial songs. Dropping the material and taking a different approach thematically and musically, they retreated from the world for a year to write and record their debut album.
Pushing a variety of influences through their own filter – southern gothic writing, Metroplex techno, Holland-Dozier-Holland, early rock’n’roll, Solid Gold-era Gang of Four, The Doors, Baroque compositions, an obsession with the late 1980s Eventide H3000 effects unit… the two approach making pop music from an anything goes, boundaryless position.
According to Jaeger, The Hunting Room is a record about “someone not quite at home”, chronicling a series of attempts at breaking through restrictions, searching for meaning, trying to get a reaction from an unresponsive environment. On the origin of the moniker “Her Royal Harness” Helene says “From the time you are born, people around you continually attempt to define who you are. That’s one way of looking at the harness.”
Musically, the album sees a range of expression: pitched down ¾ time techno laments, plucked film score strings played through 90s boom boxes, Mellotron choirs and hip hop bass lines, pummeling rock beats and post punk rhythms all firmly anchored in clear melodic structure and Jaeger’s Quixotic, impassioned delivery.
Part of the rationale behind Her Royal Harness is to channel the deepreaching expressive potential of pop, says Jaeger. “We see it as perhaps the greatest thing about pop music, its ability to move people, and that’s something we aim for – to make something that emotionally, even physically makes you react.”