Boy Harsher at Project House

Johnny James, Managing Editor
Boy Harsher by Jordan Hemmingway

Boy Harsher at Project House, Leeds 21 July 2023 Tickets from £28.70 — Book now

Since 2014, Jae Matthews and Augustus Muller have been leading the way in underground darkwave and new industrial, released under the moniker Boy Harsher. Their bleakly romantic music calls to mind sci-fi films of the 80’s, but twisted into something more sinister. Think Bladerunner with more blades. Sound like your cup of tea? Then how about their gig at Leeds’ brand new venue, Project House, on 21 July.

Hailing from Northampton, Massachusetts, Boy Harsher released their debut EP Lesser Man in 2014. Made of minimal beats, grinding synths and brooding, primal vocals, it revelled in a suspended moment of anxiety whilst beckoning the listener towards the darkest corner of the dancefloor. The hypnotic engine of that EP, ‘Pain’, rapidly gained online traction and became an underground hit, leading to much anticipation surrounding their debut album, Yr Body is Nothing. Released in 2016, it was ominous, cinematic, essentially everything the EP was, only more tightly wound, operating at a constant fever pitch. It led to extensive tours, with the duo selling out shows all over the US and Europe.

Boy Harsher rode this momentum to their second album, Careful (2019), described by NPR as “straight-up brimming with hits, an album that doesn’t quit; a mountainous record with ecstatic highs and harsh lows”. They quickly took the album on the road, successfully translating the songs into reckless and enveloping club-ready performances, and then… covid happened.

Unable to imagine gigging in a livestream situation, the duo started developing a cinematic idea. Expanding pieces that Augustus Muller wrote over five days in hospital in 2020, and combining them with a fictional horror story, they came up with The Runner (2022), both an album and short film. Written, produced, and directed by the duo, the short film explored lust and compulsion – the horrific tendencies of seduction, a favourite Boy Harsher theme, while the music balanced instrumental tracks and dark pop with surprise vocal features by Mariana Saldaña of Boan and Cooper B.

The album, fit for dark dancefloors and lonely bedrooms, more than stands up on its own – it’s simply all the more sinister, sexy and thrilling for having visuals set to the sound (and no doubt these visuals will play a big part in the duo’s current live show). Tracks like ‘Give Me a Reason’ (above) and ‘Automony’ are among the best in Boy Harsher’s catalogue, and we look forward to hearing these live for the first time as Boy Harsher bring their dark and dangerous show to Leeds’ newest venue, Project House, on 21 July.

Boy Harsher at Project House, Leeds 21 July 2023 Tickets from £28.70 Book now

Where to go near Boy Harsher at Project House

Archive Leeds
Café or Coffee Shop
Archive Leeds

Archive is a coffee house, cafeteria, bar and event space based in the site of a former TV archive in Leeds.

Event venue
Freedom Mills

Freedom Mills is a multi-platform events space which runs a regular night programme alongside a range of events, including rave nights.

Test event
Aire Place Studios

Aire Place Studios is a creative studio in Leeds which prides itself on an upholding of equality, solidarity and safe-space values.

Event venue
Open Source Arts

Open Source Arts is a place for people to learn new skills, develop existing ones and become inspired in Leeds.

Demonstration taking place at Leeds Industrial Museum
Leeds Industrial Museum

Leeds Industrial Museum, housed inside the Grade II listed Armley Mills, explores the history of manufacturing in Leeds since the 18th century, including textiles, printing, film and engineering.

Assembly House, art galleries in Leeds
Assembly House in Leeds

An artist-led organisation founded in 2013 by university graduates, Assembly House runs a monthly programme of exhibitions and events across both of its two sites.

Slung Low
at Temple

Renowned theatre company, Slung Low, is opening a second new theatre and production space in the heart of the Temple District in Holbeck, Leeds.

Mercure Leeds Centre
Mercure Leeds Centre

Mercure Leeds Centre is a stylish 59-bedroom hotel offering a comfortable night sleep. The décor is inspired by Leeds’ rich tailoring heritage.

Event venue
Leeds Aerial Arts

Step out of their comfort zone and realise what you’re truly capable with Leeds Aerial Arts and their diverse range of classes.

Music venue
Old Chapel Music Studios

Old Chapel is a music studio which has been supporting early career bands since the 80’s, giving some big name their first break.

Novotel Leeds Centre

Hotel Novotel is a clean, featureful, short-stay hotel with a locally famed breakfast. It features an indoor pool, brasserie, gym, and sauna.

The Chambers Leeds
The Chambers

A chic, modern boutique hotel in the heart of Leeds, offering every amenity in stylish surroundings.

What's on: Music

Open Deck at Band on the Wall

Bring your records for a spin at our Open Deck session this Saturday! If you’ve bought some new vinyl from a local record shop this week, just show your receipt at the bar to get yourself a free 9” pizza!

Dancers at South Asian event, Dialled In
Dialled In Manchester at NIAMOS

South Asian collective Dialled In bring a genre-spanning line-up of artists to Hulme’s iconic NIAMOS as part of a joyous all-dayer with underground music at its core.

from £22.00
the artist
Waxahatchee at New Century

Mercurial singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield AKA Waxahatchee performs at New Century in support of her new album, Tigers Blood.

from £29

Culture Guides

Rebecca Watson author photo
Literature Events in Manchester and the North

In between working out, then working through, your holiday reading pile this summer, find inspiration for your next bookish acquisitions from our selection of live events and exhibitions.