[INTERVIEW] Coach Harrison Breaks Down Launching His Vocal-Focused Project, His Latest Collab 'Body Language', + More
Quickly rising to the top of multiple house-centric genres, Coach Harrison is a singer-songwriter who has infected millions of listeners with his chilling vocals. Based out of Berlin, Coach has cultivated a one-of-a-kind sound the melts elements of afro, house, and R&B into a fusion of tantalizing lyrics.
Even though he has only released three songs under this blossoming new musical identity, Coach has already racked up nearly one million monthly listeners. Additionally, he has collaborated with the likes of Vintage Culture and Nu Aspect.
Teaming up with innovative producers SOMMA and Maz, Coach's latest single “Body Language” is an auditory marvel, out on Hurry Up Slowly. We linked up with Coach to discuss the emergence of his vocal-driven project, this mesmerizing single, and future aspirations, and more.
Check out iEDM’s exclusive interview with Coach Harisson below.
iEDM: How has where you grew up and where you live now influenced your taste in music?
Coach Harrison: I was born in West Germany, in a town right by Cologne. Where I grew up, there was not a big electronic scene. During my childhood, I was listening to a lot of hip-hop. But I moved to Berlin 10 years ago in order to make music.
In Berlin, the party experience for house and electronic music is so good that I eventually went to clubs and events that exclusively featured house and techno. Berlin has influenced me immensely, by attending these shows and eventually wanting to participate in the scene.
iEDM: You clearly have an amazing voice and have been singing for a long time. What sparked the somewhat recent launch of this project?
Coach Harrison: I have been DJing and playing live sets since 2014, connected with underground labels and artists such as Steve Angello and Oliver Koletzki. I was mixing and touring a ton but when COVID hit I decided to start a project that just focused on my singing.
Of course, I still wanted to keep this within the dance music scene, but the project allowed me to collaborate with many different producers. In the past, I would produce the track, write the track, and record the vocals; this proved to be pretty exhausting. I met my current management in 2020 and we chose to explore the avenue of solely singing. However, it has helped that I contribute to composing the tracks as well.
It is important for me to have other influences working on each track. For example, Nu Aspect is really talented in sound design. So for “If You Wanna”, I was able to hone in more on my vocals and then send that version over and the result came out insane in just two weeks.
iEDM: How did teaming up with Nu Aspect on your debut single, “If You Wanna”, get initiated? What does it mean to you to be a part of Selected. and work with members of its team?
Coach Harrison: I was kind of lucky; I did a few sessions, and they had some Selected. producers come to Berlin to collaborate with local artists. I met the whole crew, including SOMMA who I worked with on my latest collaboration. Nu Aspect lives in England so I went there and we were able to hash out most of the track in one day.
Selected. has a really great team and concept, along with an amazing selection of songs. Over time, some labels end up getting less picky with their songs and this can devalue their brand reputation. Selected. has stayed true to its music and has always remained in the same lane.
This imprint has a very positive audience and received the song extremely well. Also, I was able to meet the label managers and we went to dinner after working on the track, which was a blast!
iEDM: Were there any adjustments that needed to be made in terms of songwriting or vocal delivery to cater to the faster-paced melodic techno in “Hear you calling”?
Coach Harrison: Melodic techno feels like home to me because I used to encompass a lot of that sound. The breakdown is super melodic, the drop is super hard, and there is R&B mixed in as well. It was not that difficult to write for because I was given the more melodic part leading up to the drop. Therefore, I just wrote on it as I would for a usual song.
It is a bit of a sad song due to this genre occasionally giving off a melancholic vibe. I only wrote on two of the chords. Then it was work-shopped and obviously came out really great. The adjustment for me was to ask to please let me write on the melodic part rather than the hardest drop. That way, I could feel the core emotion of the song.
Overall, it came easily to me because I used to listen to a ton of folk songs, which are generally melancholic and sad. This song was full of the same sentiments so I could draw on how familiar I was with this kind of music.
iEDM: What were your favorite aspects about collaborating with Vintage Culture on “Hear you calling”?
Coach Harrison: We collaborated on the track over Zoom, which is always kind of weird, to be honest. In this case, however, it worked out really great. The ideas beat-wise were already sketched out so we did not have to work from scratch. It was pretty straightforward: I heard the beat, started writing based on it, and recorded it. They liked it and sent a version back, letting me know to make any adjustments that I thought were necessary. Once I sent it back again, they reached out to tell me they were going to make it part of Vintage Culture’s next release.
iEDM: Your brand-new collab with SOMMA and Maz on “Body Language” takes listeners on an ethereal sonic journey. When you close your eyes while listening to “Body Language” what scene or destination do you imagine? Are there any specific emotions or memories that come to mind?
Coach Harrison: It's called “Body Language” for a reason, based on the many experiences I have had in the club. Obviously, I have played a lot in the club and oftentimes when you are not at the club recreationally and go more for work, you are in an abundance of clubs all the time. You have the same conversations over and over, which can seem kind of shallow at times. And then, you just talk about random s***, that gets lost in translation. I am hearing what you are saying but not truly getting to know who you are.
For me, it's about the vibe, dancing, and having fun. This song is basically about just letting your body do the talking. Not even in a sexual way, but allowing the vibe to unfold and not be so pressed about coming up with topics that are super intriguing. The vibe itself is interesting and it can be satisfying to spend the night not talking at all and just dancing.
iEDM: From your perspective, what message do the lyrics in “Body Language” convey to its audience? If you had to pick one, which line or phrase resonates with you the most and why?
Coach Harrison: When you are a DJ and go on international trips, obviously not everybody speaks English to the same extent. Yet, there is a mutual understanding within the house scene without having to speak each other’s language. You can always vibe to the music with someone who does not speak the same language. This scene is really outgoing, carefree, and happy.
My favorite line is “body language makes me understand” because that is what sums up house music. It is centered around just dancing to the music and feeling good as a community.
iEDM: What production-based components, such as the bassline or effects, are you instantly drawn to in “Body Language”? Why do they stand out to you?
Coach Harrison: I love the rhythm, SOMMA did really great production work on this. He is on point with all the percussion used throughout, specifically the drums. I obviously love the chords as well. We did this session in the studio. Later on, Maz came into the picture and he did the whole steel drum sequence right before the drop.
It is not too heavy or drop-driven. Of course, there is a drop but I love that it is on the softer side and flows really naturally. When the vibe is right, it is definitely a good fit for the club.
iEDM: Why do you think your voice and musical identity are a great match with deep, melodic, Afro, and organic house? Are there any certain qualities in the pitch or aura of your vocals that you think enable them to blend smoothly with percussive-centric instrumentals?
Coach Harrison: My voice is modern and soft; a lot of people tell me how surprised they are at how high and soft I can sing based on my appearance. I understand that to some extent. When you have played thousands of songs at the club, you know how to build tension and suspense. I use this knowledge and apply it to my vocal delivery and songwriting on each track.
I feel like there is a soft spot between the heaviness and making things too wordy. You just have to know where to fill in the right gaps. This is one of my top qualities. Coming from an indie music background, often I believe that one of my strengths is creating non-generic melodies while blending in different genres and influences. I am Jamaican and German so I have a bunch of musical influences in my life.
Personally, I am most drawn to the Afro-house scene due to the rhythmic nature of it. In Berlin, the stereotype is wearing black and listening to darker, heavier techno. But I am more in the phase where I want my music to make people smile and radiate a happier vibe.
iEDM: Whether it’s being out in nature or doing an activity, what are a couple of your go-to sources for inspiration during your songwriting process? How do you typically get the creative juices flowing?
Coach Harrison: I play a variety of sports but that is more to relax. Inspiration-wise, I go out in nature a lot. If you give me an hour to walk around in the woods, I can guarantee you I will be able to come up with something. Going out in nature and simply spending time outside allows me to think more freely.
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iEDM: As seen in your Instagram, you are always repping either a dope jacket, sweatshirt, or hat in your fit. What are some of your favorite fashion brands and types of apparel for casual wear right now?
Coach Harrison: The jacket I like the most right now is from PacSun. I also love wearing more work-clothes brands, such as Carhartt and Dickies. The shoe brand I rep a lot is HOKA; it is a running brand but they do special releases too. Their shoes are really comfortable and stylish. There is another shoe brand I just discovered called AKME. I missed the drop they recently did, so if someone who works there sees this please send me a pair.
I wear a bunch of hats and jerseys too. Jenkem, the skater brand and magazine, just dropped two pretty cool hats. The jersey I am wearing during this interview is one of my favorites.
iEDM: Complementing some of the outfits on your IG is a super unique necklace. What is the story behind getting this accessory?
Coach Harrison: I just took it off because I was in the shower a few hours ago but my wife gave it to me. She got it from the markets we have here. It is an African necklace, made out of ivory,
iEDM: What are your biggest goals as an artist to accomplish by the end of 2023? How do you plan on reaching these objectives?
Coach Harrison: I want to build on my brand and have more releases. I am constantly working on new tracks. It would be amazing for me to start playing more DJ sets and incorporating the live aspect into them. The DJs who mix and also sing live are one of the most incredible concepts to me.
Realistically, by next summer, I aim to be playing a lot of festivals and shows. For this winter, the goal would be to keep making songs and working with talented artists like in my previous collaborations. I hope to have a track that goes so well that I can help shape a live set around it and perform it in front of big audiences.
Photos courtesy of Coach Harrison
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