Jacob Beck and Chris Riding of Harpers On “The Sound of Broken Desperation”

Sides A and B of their latest single showcase a raw and emotional folk sound.

By Jordan Ottesen

Harpers has released a new single. Side A features the folk rock anthem “Love’s Gone Cold,” while Side B features the far more subdued, lo-fi “Oh My Soul.” I spoke with lead singer Jacob Beck and keys player Chris Riding to discuss the single and its production process.

Your music is super rustic and intimate. What do you hope listeners will get out of hearing these new songs?

Jacob Beck: This is our first release since our 2017 self-titled EP. The past two years we have been trying to have everything be perfect and because of that we haven’t released anything at all. In the past few months we have really shifted our focus as a band, basically deciding to just use what resources we have to record something we like and put it out and not let perfection get in the way of progress. So these songs are very much representative of that idea of just making it happen under whatever your circumstances may be and we honestly love the way they turned out. For example, “Oh My Soul” was recorded with a tape machine in our practice space.

Chris Riding: I hope people hear the rawness that wasn’t lost to over-production, and people hear songs that mean something to us and find some sort of meaning specific to them. I like the sound of broken desperation, but in a good way.

What was it like working with Ben Gibson as a producer and mixer? How did he influence this raw sound?

Chris Riding: He’s awesome. Ben knows what he’s doing and knows how to let the artist take part in the production of the music, not just the arrangement, which when working with an engineer is the ideal relationship.

Jacob Beck: Ben has helped us with all kinds of things. He is a saint. Working with him was super fun and laid back. We went up to a cabin in Midway, shoveled out a ton of snow, and Ben set up shop and made it happen. He plays in Grizzly Goat, one of our favorite Provo bands, so he can see things through the lens of a producer as well as that of a band. He gets it.

The artwork for the latest Harpers single.

Hosting a concert at the flower garden space is a unique idea. What went in to organizing that? What can concert-goers expect from that show?

Jacob Beck: Well it kind of started last year when I moved into the house I live in now. It’s an awesome, vibey space that has plenty of room for plants and animals and events. Long story short: last spring a band from Portland reached out to me when their concert got canceled so we put on a last minute show in my barn. Then we did a couple more shows in the barn. Well, Harpers never performed but we just hosted bands that we liked and it kind of started as a low-key thing and grew into a secret that everyone knows about. In the past year I’ve gotten really into gardening so I decided to move the barn shows into this whimsical garden stage I’ve made. If the weather doesn’t hold we will just move into the barn.What can people expect? A really intimate show in a one of a kind space with amazing performances by our friends Ty Davis and Little Moon. Both are absolutely fantastic artists. Bring a picnic blanket because seating will be taken up fast.

What are some of your favorite things about the Provo music community?

Chris Riding: I like the camaraderie among a lot of the bands around here. I feel like we’ve been given so much help from artists that don’t really need to give us the time of day, and I love being around bands that aren’t just trying to compete to see “who’ll make it,” but the ones that just wanna make good music and get as many people to hear it as they can.

What are some things you’d like to see change about Provo’s music scene?

Chris Riding: Like I said, when every band is interested in helping the band next to them, there’s gonna be even more cool stuff coming out of Provo than there is now, and I’d love to help facilitate that.

Make sure to like Harpers on Facebook and follow them on Instagram (@harpers.official) and on Spotify. The songs come out this Friday (May 24th) and the band is celebrating by putting on a concert with Little Moon and Ty Davis in the flower garden at 1085 N 1100 W Provo. Music starts at 8:00 sharp. You can hear “Love’s Gone Cold” below!


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