Be Well: An Interview with HARLOR

Photo courtesy of Chad Griffith

Long before receiving their degrees from the University of Dayton, Nick Gerard and Max Anthony knew that creating music together was in their future. When they found themselves living together in the midst of a global pandemic, their long nights filled with deep conversations slowly turned into a six-track EP for their project, HARLOR.

They always seemed to land on the topic of heartbreak. The more they discussed their personal heartbreak, the more they realized their conversations were relatable on different levels.

“Each song is very specific to a certain situation in any relationship, whether that be husband, wife, girlfriend, friend, parent, family member; any kind of relationship that you have,” Anthony said. “The struggles and hardships and how to really get through them or if you just wanted to know if somebody else was going through the same thing - that's really what this project is for.”

The creation process is never completely the same for them. Sometimes Anthony will have a set of words or a chord structure that he will pass along to Gerard for completion. Sometimes Gerard will have written something on piano or guitar for Anthony to flush out, and sometimes Gerard will come to Anthony with a completed song.

“[Gerard is] really the mastermind behind the songwriting,” Anthony said. “He's the one that starts it and gets it going. I try to make sure he doesn't stall out. I try my best to send him ideas or topics he might not be thinking of or a melody that in turn would help spark something for him.”

For each of them, creating the songs for their EP, Letters To An X, felt like therapy sessions. They had their moments of clarity, recording in the loft of Anthony’s bedroom, as well as their struggles. They considered themselves extroverted individuals, especially when it came to songwriting, but found themselves almost shunning away any other input during isolation. It was a different approach to music than they’d ever done before, and don’t necessarily want to try again.

Despite the difficulties that came with creating music during a pandemic, Gerard was still adamant on each song having a strong message.

“Nick and I decided these tracks were probably the ones that convey the message of heartbreak the best,” Anthony said. “The start tells a story and then each song brings you through the journey through the end. It ends with ‘Be Well’, saying after all of this heartbreak we all just want to be good somehow.”

Letters To An X is a series of songs that remind the listener that heartbreak is real and inevitable, but that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. With sadness comes happiness, and with HARLOR comes an EP rich in talent.