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In Florence, Massachusetts, a small town ambitiously named after Florence, Italy because both places featured a thriving silk industry, Boy Harsher’s Jae Matthews and Augustus “Gus” Muller sit on the rickety wooden steps leading to their stone patio. It’s an old house in a quiet neighborhood in Western Mass; there’s only one other property on the block. “Dead quiet other than the crop duster that just flew overhead,” Muller describes the scene. “Pretty warm, beginning of fall. It’s a beautiful day. No clouds in the sky.” But is it a tranquil setting he’s describing, or the beginning of a horror film that will descend into madness and depravity? Considering the duo’s gothic sound, which straddles the line between darkness and light, pain and pleasure, psychosis and catharsis, either reading works.
Florence, Mass served as inspiration for the rural town setting in their short film The Runner, the musical couple’s 2022 slasher thriller, which they wrote, directed, produced and edited. The plot, which follows a confident, manic young woman as she develops a murderous thirst for ripping out human hearts, is also soundtracked by Boy Harsher’s signature blood-pumping darkwave. Besides their work in horror—they also provided a track for the latest film in the —Matthews and Muller have developed a global cult following, recruiting dance-addicted freaks in musty basements as well as nocturnal mammals at giant forest festivals. Their dedication to keeping things independent (they release on their own Nude Club imprint) and their reputation as hardworking sweethearts has led them to the mutant realm where pop and underground meet.
Clearly, Muller’s beefy ‘n’ creepy synth productions and Matthews’ breathy entreaties and hair-raising yelps have real resonance in DIY and beyond. Over the phone, CREEM spoke to Boy Harsher about making music with your partner without killing them, touring, cops, CREEM, and other things less interesting than CREEM.