People don’t fuck to sculptures. People don’t dance to paintings either. Of course, there are exceptions— there’s a lid for every pot— but over every other art form, music is the one that provokes carnal motion like no other. Maybe that’s why, when musicians themselves get together, the sands of culture shift and the collective consciousness is drawn like a moth to a flame. Fleetwood Mac, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Sonny and Cher, John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, Sonic Youth. What do you hear when you hear these names? Not only the indelible riffs, swelling choruses, and mind-altering palettes, but the mythologies, too, the high drama of jealousy and deception, sweet nothings whispered in bed, the pit of addiction, the ache of loss, virtuous service to a significant other, the complexly mediated image of celebrity and fame in all its glory and darkness. Musicians provide the soundtrack to our emotional lives, so I wanted to find out about musicians who choose to make music together.
As Boy Harsher, Jae Matthews and Gus Muller have been carving a nightmarish and sultry cinematic darkwave since 2013. They met in Savannah, Georgia, where Gus, a scorer of films, was booking shows. “It was this amazing shift in 2010, ’12 or whatever, when all these noise bros started making really nasty techno,” Jae says. She wanted to be a part of it and started hanging out. One night, at a show Gus had organized, Jae saw him dancing to “Bizarre Love Triangle.” “I thought it was the cutest thing in the world,” she says.
But before they got together, they lived together. “[Gus] was such a positive dude and such a hard worker but always in these completely bizarro living situations, and at one point he said, ‘I don’t really have anywhere to live,’ and I was like, ‘Just live in my attic.’” Jae, a writer and filmmaker, found herself thinking about Gus in the attic above her. But it took some time for the two of them to acknowledge their feelings for each other. It happened one night after a party, as it does, while wandering through Savannah’s ghostly oak-lined streets with a mutual friend. The three were holding hands as they walked—“psycho Savannah-style,” as Jae recalls—when Gus looked up and said, cryptically, “One hand is heavier.”
“I was like, ‘Oh shit, we got trouble,’” Jae says.