Sitdown with Harlowe G. and Lauren from local act Jean Jacket

Photo by Junette Reyes/FIUSM 

Junette Reyes/Entertainment Director

Diego Saldaña-Rojas/Staff Writer 

In the series of sitdowns with local artists, FIU Student Media has had the opportunity to previously sit down and interview artist Smurphio from the local electronic funk band known as Afrobeta, local hip-hop artist Flight Williams from the collective rap group known as Outta This World, and local DJ and producer Jesse Perez.

This time around, FIUSM got to interview local act Jean Jacket in collaboration with the WRGP Radiate FM program called Local Radiation.


Junette Reyes/FIUSM

Jean Jacket is fronted by mastermind Harlowe G., but also includes an ever changing lineup of performers. Here is how the interview went with Harlowe G. and Lauren, a fellow member of the lineup:

How’d you get started in Miami’s music scene?

I didn’t know where I was going to go at first but I knew that it was different from what I was doing at the time. It just developed naturally and then I took a trip to L.A. to record with my good friend at Paramount Studios. He’s been recording me for years. So, he’s my go-to-guy, if you will. I just recorded it, came back and started doing shows. 

What were your inspirations for this album?

Well this project, a lot of the inspiration is from Miami itself. The music scene here just blew me away. I hadn’t been here in a long time. The weather here, the women, everything just really goes into what I wrote. I wasn’t necessarily inspired from music but definitely from my surroundings.

Are there any artists or genres that you would cite as influences?

Bass music for sure, I try to throw that in. I’m into a lot of the synth-pop, chillwave type of stuff. Bands like Washed Out, Million Young, Empire of the Sun. So many bands, so many people contributed to the sound. It’s a mix of everything. But really, synth-pop is at the core.

How long have you been around? 

So I recorded it in 2012 and then got the band together in 2013. So this is like a one-year anniversary kind of deal as a band. She’s played one show so far. The band is always changing. I’ve brought on Million Young on stage, Alex from Krisp and [Lauren]. Stephanie Taylor, which is this awesome artist from Miami. She was in a band called The State Of. She joined for a while doing live shows with me.

From a technical standpoint, how do you make your music?

Everything is on Ableton. I’m like obsessed with Ableton. I do everything on there. Sometimes I write first and then I go into Ableton but I try to just play in there and educate myself by trial and error. And each day I learn something new that I can do on there. I love that program. And synthesizers and APC 40s.

And how is the music-making process as a whole?

Harlowe G: Sometimes I’ll have something written and just ready to make the music for what I wrote. Other times, I’m just making a beat. There really is no structure. It’s like all mayhem. However it comes, you know. Sometimes I write lyrics for months. Other songs just come to me. I just know what I’m going to say and sing. So, there’s no set process. Just whatever happens.

Lauren: You always just start by messing around with the keyboard and then it just goes from there. It just doesn’t stop, it keeps developing. We kind of both help each other with that.

Do you ever improvise during live shows?

Harlowe G: I do that a lot, especially when I started playing with Million Young. We did like three shows together and those dudes are awesome. We just get up there and one of them just starts dropping a beat and we go along with it. It’s really cool.

Lauren: It is, it’s amazing, actually.

Tell us a bit about your upcoming self-titled album.

Harlowe G: This is our upcoming album out on Decades Records Frenchkiss Label Group, March 25 of this year. We’re pretty stoked about that. That whole album was recorded in 2012. I went through hell to get to L.A. and you know, starve myself, to record it basically.

Lauren: Blood, sweat and tears.

Harlowe G: Yeah, blood sweat and tears, literally. I just wrote it all myself, took my time with it. I really wanted to be honest about what I was doing. So it was like the most personal, intimate piece of work I’ve ever done. Which is sometimes hard to do, to strip down to that. But really, with music, I’ve tried everything else and by doing that, it’s gotten me a lot further with my career.

Some of the names of the tracks on the album are noteworthy. Any interesting stories behind them?

“Super Party Cups”… me and my friend that I told you guys about in L.A., Josh Berg. He’s an awesome engineer touring everywhere now with Mack Miller. Just a really awesome, real artist, real weird beard kind of guy. We would just make up names. Some songs had names but the ones that didn’t, we would like throw ideas back and forth. “Super Party Cups,” I have no idea how…I think that was evolving from another name. I have no idea, really. But we did want to make like those giant cups, those red ones. Just giant with our logo on it to promote the song.

What do you have to say about the local music scene in Miami? 

I love the scene here. We were talking about the differences between Miami and other cities. The thing I love about Miami’s music scene is that people go out and they support. Thought it’s kind of like flakier, like your following here would be flakier than other cities, I find that everybody is always out at the shows, everybody is supporting, everybody is always having a good time. And the bands are all really cool here; they’re all down to earth people. Not like wannabe rock stars.

Lauren: It’s a lot like a community in a way. Just like a communal effort of people coming together for music and art. Just that whole scene in Downtown and Wynwood. There’s an energy.

Harlowe G: There’s an energy and as the city is growing and developing, I’m just glad to be part of it.

Jean Jacket will be performing this month alongside local act Pretty Girls at The Vagabond on Valentine’s Day and will be paying tribute to The Cure.

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