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The up-and-coming electronic rock group, Haerts, has been making waves with their new EP Hemiplegia. Many have labeled their style as reminiscent of the 80’s and likened them to such acts as Cocteau Twins and Pat Benetar. “It happens to sound as it sounds. It may sound a little bit eighties, or a little bit nineties. Only later do you look back and realize what you did,” they said. “A lot of times you write a song and someone tells you oh wow this song is about this and you say, oh really? I didn’t know that and you start thinking about it in a different way.” Arriving at their style was a gradual, organic purpose and the comparisons only happened afterwards.
Two and a half years ago, long before they were Haerts, lead singer Nini Fabi and Ben Gebert started recording with Jean-Philip Grobler of St. Lucia fame. It was an experimental studio project–nothing planned, no real formula–and little by little they arrived at their atmospheric sound. “It was a huge transformation; at the time we didn’t know we were going to even use synthesizers. It was a completely open canvas,” said Gebert.
Fabi and Gebert are long time friends and collaborators; they met when they were fifteen at home in Germany and have been writing songs and making music ever since, most notably as the folk blues group Nini & Ben. With the addition of British bassist Derek McWilliams and American musicians Jonathan Schmidt on drums and Garrett Ienner on guitar, the truly international outfit that is Haerts was formed. After working in New York, they went to Nashville to record the album and collaborate with new producers. Working so collaboratively with producers and in songwriting was a new experience for them, but one that Fabi says was “scary good.”
This summer, with only their debut single “Wings” released for listening, the band hit the open road to continue the learning curve. Most recently they toured with Washed Out (they played the Wilbur Theatre in late September) which was an ideal testing ground to tighten up and embellish their songs. “It was a real treat… to have a listening audience, to check those guys out and to have them come out and see us was really awesome and it’s been really cool I think to flesh all these songs out, [playing them] multiple times, over and over and kind of honing in on little details. It’s been a really great learning curve for all of us,” said McWilliams. They will head back to the studio to put the finishing touches on their first LP, which they hope to release in the near future.
Haerts joined WERS in the studio recently for Live Music Week, decked out in black and various leopard prints. The performed a two song set. Their first song was their single, the percussive ballad “Wings.” Next was the title track from their EP, “Hemiplegia,” which deals with the sentiment of feeling numb and unable to overcome.
“Although, funny enough, its Hemiplegia awareness week in the UK in October, which we just found out that there’s this connection there!” Fabi laughs, when asked about the album title. They couldn’t have planned it better if they tried.