Harrison Knows Winter Is Coming; 'Apricity' Will Help Us Cope

Harrison Knows Winter Is Coming; 'Apricity' Will Help Us Cope
Photo: Mitch Brown
When asked about the titular inspiration for his sophomore album, Apricity — the warmth of the sun in winter — Toronto wunderkind producer Harrison replies with a laugh. "I am Canadian and I know that the winters are cold."
On a deeper level, the artist born Harrison Robinson reveals that seasonal depression has, in the past, hindered his musical abilities; having also seen its impact on friends, that struggle played a key role in Apricity's balmy sonics, which will no doubt provide an oasis to listeners battling the winter blues.
"Music is very much the saving grace," he tells Exclaim! "It's corny, but it's very much like a drug. It's just been positive when it comes to making it. I'll have just a super-shitty day and I'll just be stuck in pretty dark thoughts all day. Even if I'm just playing the piano for a couple of hours, it's almost a meditative state, it's you and the piano and you and the song you're making and you're just so focused for that time. You get to have that crutch and there are moments of euphoria."
That elation is certainly evident on cuts like the bouncy electro-funk of "Celica Supra" and the cheery confection "Your Girl" (featuring fellow Torontonian Ralph on vocals), making this a more confident and thematically unified effort than 2016's already impressive Juno-nominated Checkpoint Titanium, which Harrison mastered on his own headphones.
Apricity also sees Harrison achieving a new level of sophistication in his production, resulting in a more polished album.
"It went a lot smoother," he laughs when asked about the album's recording." I didn't master it myself this time — that was a pain in the ass. I just wanted to get a professional to do it and [engineer] Charles Carvalho was a professional and was very quick. 'Your Girl' was mixed by Dave Plowmen and myself. I had never been in a process like that before. It was cool, but it was strange to have someone else there as a second pair of ears. But besides that, it was much more professionally done with a far more smooth sound.
"I sat down with an idea of what I wanted to do, as opposed to the first album, which was kind of a compilation," he continues. "I wanted to make this album for the last four years. In terms of sound and some of the analogue qualities, I didn't really understand how. I continued to like it while making it. I think that's why it sounds more cohesive."
Like its predecessor, Apricity features numerous collaborations including Daniela Andrade (on both "Atmosphere" and "Better") and iaamSaam and BADBADNOTGOOD's Matty Tavares.
"It was always people I wanted to work with and liked working with, or friends. Matty Tavares started on that beat, just person-to-person, and we talked a lot about life and depression and sadness and something good came out of that session. It was very good to hang with all of these people and it felt very natural."
Apricity is out October 12 on Last Gang.