Women in Music 2019

Eighty Ninety 'Rage Against Growing Pains' on 'Got Your Message': Premiere

Ashley Yu
Eighty Ninety

Eighty Ninety is "raging against growing pains" on its new single "Got Your Message," according to the sibling duo's Abner James.

The melodic track appears on Eighty Ninety's upcoming second EP Bowery Beach Road, due out later this year, and is "about these difficult transitional things that we go through as we leave youth and transition to something where you're a little bit more of an adult," according to Harper James. "It's about wanting to be with someone but knowing on a more rational and intellectual or practical level that they're not good for you and understanding the differences." Abner, who at 30 is two years younger than Harper, adds that, "It's about facing that reality and then also understanding that an experience or relationship like that can be meaningful, even if you know it has to end."

And both James brothers feel that "Got Your Message" shows the benefits of being in their early thirties. "Getting a little older, you've got a lot more emotional clarity, which is not a bad thing," says Harper, who also produces other indie acts. "You have some clarity over some of the confusions and heartbreaks and suffering you don't really understand when you go through them in your twenties. This whole (EP) comes from that point of more clarity, for sure."

Bowery Beach Road is the Brooklyn act's second EP, following 2017's Elizabeth -- whose "Your Favorite Song" showed up on Taylor Swift's Songs Taylor Loves playlist on Spotify. Eighty Ninety continues to be something the brothers do when Harper has free time between production jobs, but Abner says there are usually "tons of songs" around whenever they do get a chance to work together.

"Our creative process is fairly open and organic and there's room to work and sit on stuff and come back to it," Harper explains. "One of the best things about (Eighty Ninety) is it grew organically out of our lives." Abner adds that, "It turns out we have very complementary skill sets and passions in making records," with Harper in particular as the studio perfectionist. "We both have so much respect for the other person's process and ability," Abner says. "If we're both happy with something at the end, then it's something we want to share."

The James gang hopes to share it on stage soon, too -- and they're adamant that it will be a truly live concern. "One of the things we always wanted is to be a band, not a DJ duo," Harper says. "When we do play live it's sort of like indie rock meets pop rather than straight pop." Abner, meanwhile, clarifies that, "I think we'd feel more comfortable on a tour with The 1975 or LANY than with the Chainsmokers. We definitely want to play our music."


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