New Music Heaven : Half Alive

January 27, 2019
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This week we're testing out "Still Feel" by half•alive. When you hear it played on 94/7, text the word HOT or NOT to 44624. Your votes decide whether or not we keep playing it! You can get a free download of the song if you're in the 94/7 Nation - you'll get just one email a week, and it's always packed with goodies.

The music of half•alive breathes, evolves, grows, and changes alongside the lives of the Long Beach trio—Josh Taylor [vocals], Brett Kramer [drums], and J Tyler Johnson [bass].

Encompassing R&B, funk, pop, rock, soul, and more under a glow of disco ball bliss, the experience iterates in a fresh form every time. “Our goal is to make music flexible enough to change as we change, so we’re not stuck playing songs that were only meant for one season of our lives,” exclaims Josh.

“Aesthetically, we will change,” adds Brett. “How we write songs will change. The message will always be there though.”

They uncovered that message by way of some digging. The genesis of half•alive can be traced back to a 2015 challenge to Josh from a songwriting mentor and friend. In order to hone his chops, Josh accepted said challenge to pen 50 songs. Along the way, he began cultivating “a small universe for people to get lost in,” joined by Brett halfway through. The musicians eventually retreated to a studio in the Mojave Desert where they crafted the independent 3 EP throughout 2016. Released in 2017, 3 highlighted an enigmatic chemistry. Soon after, J Tyler joined the fold.

The EP sparked a palpable buzz as “The Fall” surpassed 3.1 million Spotify streams and 1.4 million YouTube views in under a year. Meanwhile, “Aawake At Night” also crossed the 1 million mark on YouTube. Over the course of the next year, they crafted what became the 2018 breakout “still feel.”

Powered by a slick beat, handclaps, warbling bass, wild horns, shimmering keys, and an ecstatic falsetto-inflected chant, “I still feel a•live,” it became a clarion call for the boys—oddly perfect for either a midsummer festival or a dance sequence from Pulp Fiction. Bringing the song to life, Josh drew on his film school background and self-directed an impressively choreographed video evoking vintage pops of color and the kind of throwback seventies spirit you only get from P.T. Anderson flicks. The video organically attracted shares among fans as views surpassed the 10 million mark within two months. It gained prominence on reddit, and the song garnered acclaim from NPR’s coveted “All Songs Considered,” and many more.

“Lyrically, it’s focused on a point in my life when I was in transition between work, friends, relationships, and everything else,” Josh admits. “I felt like I lost my roots and I was floating. The story could’ve gone either way. I also knew that there was something more to bring me back to a place of feeling rooted again.”

“still feel.” took off, and the band’s profile burgeoned as they inked a deal with RCA Records to help grow their vision.

Launching 2019 with a bang, the trio sold out their formal debut headline tour.

Setting their sights on the future, half•alive once again openly welcome change and emerge as a thrilling presence because of it.

“Everything is interweaved; the music is connected to our experiences and the stories we tell through them, but in the end, we hope that our character will speak louder than our songs,” concludes J Tyler. “Hopefully, you end up on the journey with us,” Josh Taylor leaves off. “That these songs make their way to your heart, and there’s a hopeful reaction.”

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