Amidst lockdown; Argentinian-Canadian based rock band Harm & Ease release an animated video for their new single, ‘Cannonball’
Quarantine, 2020 – Every band on earth faces many challenges, but for the Argentinian-Canadian based rock group Harm & Ease, COVID-19 is just another obstacle in a list of many the group has had to navigate.
Harm & Ease is made up of Danny Lopez on guitar, Rylan Whalen on vocals, John Goodblood on second guitar, Ilan Amores on bass and Alex Hamnet on drums. A group of working musicians whose roots stem from Ontario to Argentina. The band live together in a house located in Burlington, Ontario. A place they refer to on their social media as “The House Of Ease”. A club house reminiscent of rock-n-roll eras like The Band’s Big Pink House.
WATCH: Harm & Ease release new single ‘Cannonball’
Despite the current lockdown, Harm & Ease are gearing up to launch their new album ‘Midnight Crisis’ with the release of their new single and animated video, ‘Cannonball’.
The advantage of living together has made the band more productive than ever. During a time where there is no sign of touring in sight; writing demos, producing music videos, playing Instagram festivals photo shoots and they even produced a fully animated video with director- animator Facundo Mansilla. All of this work amidst COVID-19, has kept the band more than productive and relevant with new and old fans alike.
“We’ve had the luck to work with various talented artists from diverse nationalities and backgrounds. It’s great to have such a rich array of people to collaborate with”
Lopez describes the video as such, “He [Mansilla] managed to animate the entire band on a surreal voyage where a mutiny is carried out. It’s a special piece of work. Over our years of travelling and playing, we’ve had the luck to work with various talented artists from diverse nationalities and backgrounds. It’s great to have such a rich array of people to collaborate with”
The album and single were produced by Dominic John Davis, perhaps best known for his work recording and touring with Jack White. Midnight Crisis was recorded at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton, Ontario. Catherine North, a studio known for housing artists like City & Colour, Broken Social Scene, and Feist.
The History of Harm & Ease
Harm & Ease formed back in 2010 in Burlington,Ontario. The group was formed by Danny Lopez and Rylan Whalen, shortly after they met while attending their first year of High School in the Toronto, Suburb.
The inseparable friends created a musical understanding of each other that carried them to become more than a band. They became brothers. Perhaps it was fate, as Lopez’s family originally came to Canada as refugees from Colombia.
“My family had to leave Colombia when I was 2 years old. They left reasons related to the political violence and state of war the country has been in for decades.”
When questioned about his family history, Lopez explained in candid detail, “My family had to leave Colombia when I was 2 years old. They left for reasons related to the political violence and state of war the country has been in for decades. The guerrillas had severely threatened my family and we had no choice but to find a new place to live. After a few years living in Miami, we moved to Canada when I was 12 where we applied for refugee status.” Lopez continued, “Eventually, by the end of 2011 this [refugee status] application was denied on an unjust basis, and my family had to leave Canada and relocate to Argentina.”
Lopez and Whalen had grown close over the years. Their musical offerings weren’t the traditional punk, hardcore and metal which Burlington, Ontario is known for. This isolation from not only Burlington, but also from what is known as “The 905 Scene”, a scene which gave birth to great Canadian exports like Alexisonfire, Walk Off The Earth, Grade, Silverstein, Moneen, Monster Truck, Finger Eleven and many more, was perhaps preparing the two friends for an epic journey. A journey of the likes most bands have never seen.
Harm & Ease Overcome adversity
After establishing their lives in Canada as refugees, Lopez and family received the devastating news that his family was being uprooted, deported, and soon found themselves in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“We chose that country because my family still didn’t feel safe returning to Colombia, and it luckily turned out that Buenos Aires,Argentina has a thriving music scene that Rylan would visit for the first time in 2012.”
Whalen, who is often quiet, which is a complete paradox to his electric stage presence added;
“When I found out Danny was leaving, it was devastating to say the least. Especially, at such a young age. It was very confusing and generated a great deal of uncertainty. But I’m glad we didn’t just sink in despair. The promise to continue making music together was made. And I’m proud that we have kept it to this day.”
Harm & Ease: From Canada To Argentina To Canada Again
While reflecting on the situation, Lopez, who seems to exude calmness everywhere in life but on stage, had this to say, “Circumstances brought me and my family to South America, and eventually Rylan moved to Argentina with me. Against all odds, we made the band evolve into what it is today.”
Whalen added in tandem, “I visited Danny a few times while still in high school. We kept creating music and the band started getting unprecedented attention. After finishing my studies, it became apparent that it would take a few more years for Danny to be able to return to Canada. So, it was then that I took the leap and moved permanently to Argentina at the age of nineteen.”
The evolution Lopez refers to was a true transformation. While hustling on the streets of Argentina, busking and selling dime bags of weed, Whalen and Lopez met John Goodblood and Ilan Amores. The group began forging a path together. The band wrote, toured and made their way to Argentinian Billboard Magazine, MTV, And Rolling Stone Magazine.
With Goodblood and Amores on-board, Lopez and Whalen brought the band back to Canada where they reconnected with friend and drummer, Alex Hamnet.
“ I was thrown into this exotic new place, with a different language and culture. The freedom we experimented there; I had never previously encountered.”
Whalen continued, “ I was thrown into this exotic new place, with a different language and culture. The freedom we experimented there; I had never previously encountered. The years I spent there… I went through all sorts of love and loss. It’s a raw city built just right for rock and roll. I’ll carry all of its beauty and darkness with me forever.”
Harm and Ease Remain Productive amidst Lockdown
Fast forward to 2020, the band is on the cusp of their third full length studio album and are staying focused on productivity, creativity and rolling out ‘Midnight Crisis’.
Cannonball, the first of five planned singles being released to promote Midnight Crisis, is haunting yet invitingly powerful. The band fell in love with the track after re-listening to it in the studio. Lopez commented, “It’s a dynamic song that has some of what people like about our style. But, it’s an evolved more modern sound all at once. It showcases our vocal harmonies and it’s got a pulverizing guitar solo (laughing)”
“It’s a dynamic song that has some of what people like about our style, but it’s an evolved more modern sound all at once.”
One of the many creative ideas the band had to promote their new single in quarantine is a companion instagram filter. The filter is available on the bands Instagram page. The app, the band simply calls ‘The Cannonball Filter’. The Cannonball Filter functions as a companion to the animated music video. The filter allows users into the world of the music video. Similar in fashion to something you might see in 70’s heavy metal comics, or even, Bowie-esque.
Harm & Ease have a work ethic and motivation rarely seen in modern rock bands. It would seem not even this pandemic is going to stop these five friends from creating. Lopez closed our conversation with sincerity and humble appreciation. “Thankfully, the band lives together under one roof. The Quarantine has forced us to work on writing, recording and releasing videos at a pace that has brought our musicianship and output to a new level. Adversity has always been there so we’ve just always used these sorts of restrictions in benefit to creativity. One thing is certain though, we REALLY miss the live shows.”
“Adversity has always been there so we’ve just always used these sorts of restrictions in benefit to creativity. One thing is certain though, we REALLY miss the live shows.”
You can find more on the band by visiting www.harmandease.com and follow the band on Instagram @harmandease