Life can change in the blink of an eye. It’s a trope used often in ABC family dramas, yet we all know the skin-tingling realities of romance, illness, or freak accidents. Elle and Avery O’Brien were living on opposite ends of the earth when their brother was involved in a serious dirt-bike accident. As he healed, the sisters came together to realize a dream that had been on the back burner: Harlequin Gold, the band, was born.
“Take Me Home,” the latest single off Harlequin Gold’s upcoming debut EP Baby Blue, tackles the feeling of wandering, searching for a purpose, and the beauty of finding comfort inside oneself. Starring actor Nicolas Coombe (soon to be seen in the new live action Dora The Explorer film) as he runs through the city seeking the familiar, drummer Jamieson Ko’s driving beat matches the frantic pace of of the video’s narrative right from the offset. Producer/guitarist Justice McLellan (Blue J/Mesa Luna) rounds out the band, adding delicate trills and texture to the foreground. The video has many fun, playful moments; at one point, the music takes on an underwater effect as the main character dives into a pool. There is a sigh of relief at the end, as Coombe swims out into oblivion, toward an unseen home.
Watch AudioFemme’s exclusive premiere of “Take Me Home” and read our interview with Elle and Avery below.
AF: Where did the name Harlequin Gold come from? It sounds almost like a Bond Villain!
EO: The words kind of fell out of my mouth when I was writing one of our songs, “Harlequin Gold and Gasoline” and intended to be a play on fool’s gold. It shines brighter than gold when put in the right light but is often overlooked and undervalued. We both were coming from a dark place in our lives and felt like if given the right light, something great could come of this. We felt that having a name for our project would allow the freedom for true expression from each member of the band. Also, we are bond villains.
AF: At what age did you start taking an interest in music?
AO: I got my first guitar at nine, and shortly after started studying classical singing.
EO: I have been writing music since I was five years old. The only difference now is that I’m writing love songs about people instead of the family dog.
AF: Is the music writing process ever difficult as sisters? Do you ever butt heads?
EO: Mostly my head butts itself. Avery uses her bond villain mind reading powers to know what I’m thinking before I do and steers me away from any dark hole I might go down. But in all seriousness, I write the foundation of the song and and we end up finishing it as a band. Justice has a great ear for production and arrangements and Jamison is a drumming mastermind. We are pretty sure he has three arms.
AF: Where do you draw from? What is your source material for music?
EO: I’m highly emotional. It’s a blessing and a curse sometimes. I read this quote by Kurt Vonnegut that said that artists are like canaries in a coal mine. We keel over long before anyone else knows what’s wrong because we we feel everything so intensely. Most of our music is drawn from personal experience. I take whatever I feel and magnify it to get it out. I’ve always thought of songwriting as a form of therapy because once it’s on the page you don’t feel it so much inside of you.
AF: Tell us about the video for “Take Me Home.” How does it relate to your original intent for the song?
EO: The song its about how time will chisel and change you until eventually you’re not the person you once were. Home is no longer a place but a state of mind and what used to scare you suddenly becomes your refuge. The video gives this idea a twist and shows someone who is trying to mold himself in to a place he doesn’t fit. He knows his current situation isn’t right and follows his intuition to reach a state of belonging. He was suffocated by his original idea of “home,” leading him to venture out to redefine it.
AF: What emotion or general vibe are you hoping to create on the new EP?
EO & AO: We wanted to create an EP that is relatable and honest. Something that was upbeat but with moments of melancholy.
AF: What is the music scene like in Vancouver?
EO & AO: There’s some amazing bands coming out of Vancouver and it’s so exciting to watch the music scene grow. Since it’s a smaller community, there’s a lot of support from local musicians and we seem to all have each other’s back.
AF: Any local artists we should be keeping an ear out for?
EO & AO: SO MANY! But some of our favorites are Blue J, Andrew Phelan, Hotel Mira, Jillian Lake and Peach Pit. We could honestly go on and on.
Harlequin Gold’s self-titled debut EP is set to be released on September 27th.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
9/02-06 – Brisbane, AU @ Big Sound Festival
9/13 – Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre (Westward Music Festival w/ Milk & Bone, Honne)