Boy Harsher

The Runner (Original Soundtrack) [Nude Club/City Slang]

Contact Ahmad Asani about Boy Harsher

Since 2014, Jae Matthews and Augustus Muller have steadily released what some might call the gold standard of darkwave and new industrial under the moniker Boy Harsher. Their first EP, Lesser Man, was originally released on a small run of cassettes, but then uploaded by a fan onto YouTube. The album, and most notably the single “Pain”, rapidly gained online traction and became an underground hit. The exposure from this and their subsequent releases (Yr Body is Nothing, 2016, Country Girl EP, 2017) propelled the band into extensive tours, selling out shows in the United States and Europe.


Boy Harsher rode this momentum to their most recent album – Careful, released in 2019. Described as their most polished and produced record to date, Careful received critical acclaim: “Careful is Boy Harsher at their world’s most fully fleshed-out…it’s straight-up brimming with hits, an album that doesn’t quit; a mountainous record with ecstatic highs and harsh lows” (NPR Music). Boy Harsher toured the circuit with Careful, successfully translating the songs into club ready performances. Live, the Boy Harsher experience is reckless and enveloping, described as “totally losing yourself” (NPR Music). The band continued to grow and expand their audience – selling out multiple headlining tours in 2019, with promising future festival dates for the upcoming year. With wind in their sails, they looked towards a bright future…


As did so many, until the pandemic changed their plans. Matthews and Muller retreated home to Massachusetts. The future was uncertain for most and music felt very non-essential in this world with more important priorities. Halfway through the first year of the pandemic, Matthews was met with another surprise: a five day hospital stay and diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Muller began to work on lonely compositions, while Matthews recovered from and adjusted to the disease. The chaos of the unknown was a ubiquitous feeling for Boy Harsher during 2020.


Matthews and Muller met in Savannah, GA while both studying film. Their initial interest in music began in cinema. Early performances were live scores of VHS videos Matthews made, mostly of young women staring longingly into the lens, Muller’s ominous drone evoking cryptic narratives. Matthews would write screenplays and Muller would compose scores for the non-existent films. They often exchanged marked scripts for cassette tapes filled with sparse melodies. They hoped one day to create cinematic content of their own, apparent in their subsequent releases as Boy Harsher.


The global pandemic popularized live-streams, giving audiences the opportunity to see their favorite bands perform. However, Boy Harsher was unable to imagine a proper live-stream situation, where intensity and inundation of sound were possible. Instead, they started developing a cinematic idea. Expanding the pieces that Muller started in 2020, and combining them with a fictional horror story – the duo generated The Runner, both an album and short film. The film, written, produced, and directed by the duo, is a searching and subtle horror film attached to a meta-style “documentary” about Boy Harsher’s recording process. The short film explores lust and compulsion – the horrific tendencies of seduction, a favorite Boy Harsher theme. The Runner (Original Soundtrack) balances instrumental tracks and dark pop with surprise vocal features by Mariana Saldaña of Boan and Cooper B. Handy of Lucy. Uncertainty enabled the band to experiment new ways of publishing content, a needed outlet in an incredibly strange time. The Runner is both a return to form and evolutionary moment for Boy Harsher.