Posted On 14 Nov 2016
Harletson formed in 2015, after crossing paths through L.A.’s open-mic circuit. Although each had come to Los Angeles in pursuit of a solo career, the three connected over their mutual love of ’60s and ’70s rock-and-roll, and decided to take a shot at collaborating. In one of their first attempts at playing music together, the trio tore through of a cover of the Beatles B-side “Don’t Let Me Down” and felt an undeniable chemistry.
“The three of us all come from different places in terms of the style of music we’d been playing on our own, but when we covered that song everything just clicked,” recalls Singleton. “Right away we all just knew this was a real thing.”
Since their formation, Harletson have devoted themselves to developing their original material, as well as recording a series of gracefully stripped-down covers that range from classic songs like “Take It Easy” by the Eagles to present-day hits like The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face.” “We all have a heart for the past, so even when we cover a newer song, we try to flip it on its head and give it that vintage feel,” says Harrington.
The past year has also seen Harletson building up their live show—including the Hersheypark festival, where they performed for a crowd of 30,000. Both onstage and in their songwriting, Harletson are focused on creating a musical experience with an enduring impact. “One of the reasons why we’re so drawn to older music is it’s got a meaning and message that’ll last for years and years,” Wilson notes. And in striving for the same effect, Harletson make a point of staying guided by pure feeling. “The more we’ve written together, the more we’ve opened up and let ourselves be completely vulnerable in our songs,” says Singleton. “Music is one of the most powerful tools for affecting the way people think and feel—so if we can use our songs to bring some kind of positive change, then that’s a really amazing thing.”
Learn more about Harletson in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are entering the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for the band?
Thanks for havin us! We learned a lot this year so I think I’d say the word “learn” sums up this year for us. Some of the big highlights this year were releasing our first single ” Say Our Goodbyes” & the music video for that. Also opening up for Shawn Mendes at Show Of The Summer, & Jacob Collier at the Troubadour.
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memories?
I started playing guitar around the age of 10 but I have always had a love for music. I think a lot of my earliest music memories are of my dad playing music in the car. Those were some good times!
How did Harletson first come together? Was it really though LA’s open-mic circuit? How did you come up with your band name?
Yes! Jackson and I actually met first in a coffee shop just playing around. We would see each other often enough and just finally introduced ourselves. We met Nathan through one of our other friends and just started hanging out and jamming.
The band name is from all of our last names!
I’d love to know more about the songs you select to cover. What have been some favorite of yours? How do you go about picking which song to cover?
I would say my personal favorite that we do is “Paris” by The 1975. Just very well written & musically awesome. We usually pick the covers when we’re driving around LA listening to tunes together. We all end up saying something like “That would be a great one to cover” then we go from there.
What’s it like to be compared to bands like The Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash? Are these groups that inspire you and your music?
It’s really flattering for us to even be mentioned in the same sentence as them. They are definitely two bands that inspire us. Mainly because of the harmonies as that is one of the most defining factors in our band
Earlier this summer, you debuted your first single, “Say Our Goodbyes.” What was the inspiration for this song? What was it like making the music video for it? How creatively involved were you with the making of it?
The inspiration for Say Our Goodbyes is actually about how we all moved from our respective home towns out to LA. It’s a piece about following your dreams and risking anything to get somewhere greater where you want to be.
Making the music video was awesome. So much fun to shoot with incredible people and drive a cool classic car!
Creatively we had so much say so in this song and video! We wrote with Ido and wrote all of our verses individually telling our stories and wrote the chorus together.
How have your recent shows been going? What was it like opening for Jacob Collier at the Troubadour recently? Do you have a busy fall tour scheduled?
Our shows have been feelin really good. It was a dream come true for us to be playing in Troubadour it’s a venue we’ve all wanted to play in since we were kids and opening up for Jacob was too cool. He is one of the most talented human beings on this planet. And yeah! We are excited to announce that we will be opening up for Sabrina Carpenter on the second half of her tour starting in November.
What if anything has surprised you about the music industry? What do you think has been your biggest challenge? And what do you think has come really naturally to you?
I think the biggest thing that has surprised me about the music industry is the business side of everything. There’s good and bad but it is tough to see art sacrificed for business gain in some circles. I think our biggest challenge has been bringing back this sound that is so classic and making it modern. A challenge that non of us have complained about because we are so passionate about people hearing something fresh. Being three singers in a band naturally we cling to harmony. And we’re excited for people to hear our blend.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you love to work with in the future?
As a band I think we all really love The 1975, The Lumineers, Kodaline, Chance the Rapper, John Mayer and plenty more! Also, of course classic bands like Fleetwood Mac and Crosby, Stills, Nash are in our roots and inspire us so much.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you unwind from it all?
I personally love to sit in my eno hammock at the beach. Nothin more beautiful then falling asleep to the sound of the ocean. As a band we surf, we play video games, & we also have tea time.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
It’s hard to kind of wrap up our message in a few sentences but I think it comes down to us just wanting people to feel encouraged and engaged in something bigger than them selves. We want to promote peace and unity in the world. It’s all about love
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Just that we are here to make an impact. We’re all about music that matters and has a deep meaning. Something more than a love song, even though in some ways every song is a love song. I think our hope as a band is to spark a change from all of the negativity in the world and bring people together through peace and positivity.