Image credit: Lisa Mae
Indie-folk artists Adam Harpaz and Pastel Jungle offered their brand-new single ‘Other Than Orange’ under Pastel Jungle + Adam Harpaz. Singer-songwriter Adam’s music has amassed 2 million streams across platforms. Producer Pastel Jungle enjoys outstanding support from established industry publications, including Music Geeks UK and Right Chord Music, just to name a few. ‘Other Than Orange’ overflows with rich notes arrangement, sultry vocals, deep raw acoustic guitar strings and fervid guitar strings, ultimately making the track avant-garde. RCRD LBL sat down with Adam Harpaz and Pastel Jungle for an interview.
How is the colour orange related to the story told in the new single?
Pastel Jungle: To be totally frank the name for the song just hopped its way out of Adam’s mouth suddenly and it felt perfect from the first listen. After cementing the lyrical direction that we wanted to lament over always searching for a memory deeper and more meaningful than possible to experience, we spoke more deeply about imagining a new colour. It’s impossible. That frustrating, yet feverous and enticing feeling really related to what we were writing about. Having a crystal clear image of something so euphoric and wonderful that can never be recreated the same way. The most beautiful sunsets we can remember are something other than just orange, pink or red. They’re an entirely new colour that doesn’t exist and it’s perfect.
What should listeners take from ‘Other Than Orange’?
Pastel Jungle: Listeners should walk away with the comfort that just because we can’t perfectly relive those blissful memories, just because nostalgia sometimes taints those perfect recollections into something just out of reach, it doesn’t mean they hold any less value. Every beautifully fleeting moment is beautiful because it’s not permanent. Its seemingly increasing brevity makes it so much easier to cherish, and instead of constantly trying to look for the next best thing, our energy should be focused on really living those moments and experiencing them for everything they are.
What are some of your earliest memories of music?
Adam Harpaz: Standing on my family’s coffee table, singing my heart out with a plastic out-of-tune guitar!
Pastel Jungle: It’s an odd one but my absolute earliest memory of music was this toy keyboard my father bought for me when I was a toddler. It had maybe 4 songs on it but one stuck in my head and I can recite it still to this day. It had a couple of sections with some really melodic chord changes (I know how ridiculous this sounds) and for some reason, they just gripped me so hard. I wanted to figure it out, find out why this song was making me feel so much and write something like it myself. So then my dad started showing me his vinyl records. Bands like Genesis, Pink Floyd, and Electric Light Orchestra. You can imagine the fireworks that went off in my head when I heard those greats compared to a kid toy keyboard
The first CD I owned was Blink 182’s Cheshire Cat and my love for pop punk stemmed from there. I would play Blink, Linkin Park’s Meteora, My Chemical Romance etc. late into the night on my little portable CD player under the sheets, practising the drum parts alongside my pitch for a drum kit for Christmas.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
Adam Harpaz: I always try to start with a melodic idea (most of the time on the guitar), then I move towards setting the message of the song and the final process is to sculpt the lyrics around this message; what am I trying to say and what feeling will be suggested to the listener.
Pastel Jungle: I never think of ideas when I’m near any music gear. It’s always out in the surf, whilst working, going for a walk etc. Then I’ll record them on my phone and bring them to my setup. By the time they’re there, I’ll have a few different recordings of different parts, there’s always such a clear vision for each track before I even start tracking anything.
I’ll always start with basic keys just to track some drums and bass, and then I’ll probably go over them a few more times changing and adding parts to fill the gaps I hear in the track. I have a producer’s mind so anything that will make the mixing process easier hits me first. Making sure the Kick and Bass leave room for each other for example or finding three different kick drums that occupy separate frequencies so I don’t struggle to make it cut through the mix later on.
There’s always a middle stage where the bones of the track are there and I can have a lot of fun playing around with the keys, making lines melodic and interesting. I try to stay clear of writing in the usual verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, and chorus format. Instead, I like each section to be different, only if there’s a section I really love will I feature it twice. I find it quite hard to keep songs under four minutes, to be honest, I’d rather just loop the part I like over and over adding subtle things each time.
Vocals and lyrics are always last, I want them to be as smooth as possible and really compliment the instrumentation so leaving them to the end stage means they slot really nicely into place. It also gives me a much better idea of what to write about depending on the tone of the song. I’m not going to write some melancholic lyrics to an otherwise bouncy, dancey beat….well maybe sometimes just to throw a spanner in the works.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
Adam Harpaz: Good Question! If I had to answer off the cuff, I’d say studio work/music creation… However, it always feels very natural to me to perform live, and it brings immense joy.
Pastel Jungle: It’s tough for me to say because I’ve never played my current stuff live. I’ve only played in bands as a drummer in the past and although I love it, it’s more the feeling I get being in perfect sync with other great musicians. So for now I’d say music creation and studio work take the cake. There’s no better feeling for me than envisioning a track and seeing it come together on my laptop before me. The fact that I can even do that by myself in my little bedroom ‘studio’ is insane and I feel so lucky that it’s a possibility.
What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?
Adam Harpaz: Probably at a show in St. Vigil Italy on the last European tour; that feeling when you and the audience are completely connected, complete synergy.
Pastel Jungle: It actually happened the other day and it was very surreal considering I’m still early doors as a musician. A friend of a friend who I didn’t know was singing one of my tunes I released a year or so ago, I figured a friend had shown my music to them but it turns out they hadn’t, I was just suggested on their discovery weekly. They knew all the lyrics and that’s mad to me. I understand that people enjoy my music but to hear someone I didn’t know singing was very odd. I can’t wait for the day a crowd sings my lyrics back to me, that would be a dream.
If you could put together a radio show, what kind of music would you play?
Adam Harpaz: Music with strong lyricism in various genres–anything objectively authentic.
Pastel Jungle: It would be a lot of Indie pop/Indie rock right now, with some dabbles in neo-psychedelia. Anything that either tells a melodic story or just really delivers on the groove. I’m sure some nu-disco would find its way in as well. All such broad genres so the possibilities are endless.
Name five artists and their albums who would appear on your radio show
- Kings of Convenience – Quiet Is The New Loud
- Arctic Monkeys – AM
- Jóse González – Veneer
- Gregory Alan Isakov – This Empty Northern Hemisphere
- Boy & Bear – Harlequin Dream
Pastel Jungle: Parcels and their new double album ‘Day/Night’ for absolutely sure. This is all I’m listening to right now, it’s absolute genius.
Men I Trust is another must-pick. Their dreamy journey of sound is just so addictive to me. ‘Untourable Album’ would be my choice, full of great tunes.
Peach Pit’s ‘Being So Normal’ album has been on repeat for me recently too, It’s a must-pick for me. I’ve been dissecting the vocal recording and mixing techniques for the last week, their sound is so interesting to me.
Dope Lemons’ ‘Honey bones’ or ‘Smooth Big Cat’ would probably make the list. I’ve been diving into more psychedelic tunes as of late. I love being lifted off into orbit by a trippy guitar riff or two.
The last would have to be Butter Bath. I’ve been listening to his Kurrajong Hotel EP a lot. One of the few artists I’ll just play on repeat over and over again; I never tire of his sound.
What would you like to achieve with your music? What does success look like to you?
I’d love to be able to produce great albums/songs that improve the listener’s life in some way.
Musical success to me would be being able to make a living off music royalties and only playing live when I wanted to: that’s my ultimate goal.
Pastel Jungle: This is such a huge question, the answer is always changing. I never even considered people other than myself or my friends would be into my music and look where it is now. On a base level success has been and always will be the simple idea that somewhere out there someone feels something when they listen to my music. Maybe one day it’ll stop someone in their tracks and all they want to do is fully commit to listening to my track with everything they have. I do that a lot and it’s what keeps me so devoted to music. I’d be lying to myself If I didn’t say I’d love to be signed though. Making music my full-time career, playing tours and hearing crowds of thousands sing my music back to me would mean I could die happy.
One last thought to leave your fans with?
Adam Harpaz: Consistency is what I’m working on.
Pastel Jungle: I guess it’s cliché but to anyone that’s been vibing what I’m putting out there or has just discovered me recently, I’m so so thankful. The idea that people I’ll never meet are singing my songs just fills my heart with unrivalled joy. Thanks for listening, and I’m so excited to carry on this journey with all of you. Believe me, I have so so much more to give.
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