Half an Orange return with something fresh! As the EP title suggests, ‘Mostly We Grow’ underlines the difficult maturity stage of life. Besides their usual acoustics and electronic music elements, these artists tell personal stories through lyrics, which give it a special touch to the entire production. In this new interview, they opened up about their ‘Mostly We Grow’ project, and its second part, which steps ahead of its listeners’ expectations.
1 – Your debut EP reached 5 million streams on Spotify. Do you expect to obtain the same results with this new project?
Both parts of ‘Mostly We Grow’ make up one EP. Originally, we planned on releasing ‘Mostly We Grow’ altogether. However, when esport star Ninja reached out to help us release the debut single off the EP, “Old Friends”, we had to change our strategy. Ninja had been playing our music on his channel and wanted to help us promote our new songs by starring in a Half an Orange music video. It was a massive opportunity we didn’t want to pass on. There was only one problem, the full EP wasn’t ready to be released and Ninja’s schedule required the music video be done soon. We decided to release the EP in two parts in order to give us time to finish the second half of the EP while the first half was being released.
It ended up being the right call. The debut single off ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 1’, “Old Friends”, was our most successful song to date. The music video, uploaded to Ninja’s YouTube channel, was viewed over 2 million times. Our socials and streaming numbers all exploded. In fact, our Instagram following quadrupled in a single day. We won numerous film festivals across the country (including markets like LA and New York) for creating arguably the first and biggest music videos to star an esport athlete. It was an absolute blast working with Ninja. This momentum helped promote ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 1’ and continued through ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’.
We expect our numbers to keep growing with ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’. The release of ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’ was our highest stream total for a single day. Spotify has been a huge supporter of ours. Their playlists are constantly helping new people to discover our music. Rocket League is playing one of the singles off ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’, “Mark Twain”, whenever someone turns on the game. The game has such a massive userbase that our song will be heard 5 million times per day inside Rocket League. We’ll be working with Sirius XM and Monstercat to host the weekly radio show “Call of the Wild” on Sirius XM channel 52. Live Nation partnered with us to release the first-ever animated DJ residency which gets music from ‘Mostly We Grow’ in front of venues across the country.
Even more important than numbers, our fans seem to love the EP ‘Mostly We Grow’. We receive daily messages from fans saying how they use the EP to keep them sane and happy whenever they’ve had a tough day. People are even getting tattoos of their favorite song lyrics off the EP. It has been incredibly touching to see the community’s response to our songs and stories.
2 – What are the similarities and differences between ‘Mostly We Grow PT. 1’ and ‘PT. 2’?
The songs on ‘Mostly We Grow’ revolve around the challenges and realities that hit you while growing up. “Old Friends” is about losing loved ones as you get older. “Sunscreen” is about the friends who helped protect you as life throws more troubling times your way. Our song “Blink 182” is us saying we wish we could sit around and listen to Blink 182 songs all day instead of moving on to new phases of our lives. Growing up is scary and often lonely. It’s important to grow and learn as a person but the idea of your life-changing is still terrifying.
Because the EP is about growth, we gave ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 1’ and ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’ different album covers. In ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 1’ we (as our astronauts) are holding a flower that is small and struggling to live. In ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’ the album cover is the same, but the flower is now blooming and fully grown. We wanted the album cover and our songs to always show hope that you’ll be ok despite how much life is changing around you.
3 – Do you have a favorite song from this new release? If so, what makes it special?
One of our favorite songs off ‘Mostly We Grow Pt 2’ is “Mark Twain”.
“I wrote this song the afternoon I found out my dad had cancer. He and I went to a river near our house to sit down and take in the information he had been given from the doctor. While we were sitting near the water, he told me he felt like he was already dead. When I got home I found a bunch of dark and creepy sounds and began writing a song about how it would feel to already be dead. The song’s title, “Mark Twain”, comes from the author. In his book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, his characters watch and attend their own funeral, seeing what it would be like to be dead.” – Michael from Half an Orange
4 – How do you approach the songwriting process?
We have a rule that at least one of us has to write for one hour a day. Normally we write for a much longer time, but the one-hour rule ensures we never miss a day. Sometimes we write together. Sometimes we write separately. Writing is like therapy for us so normally we write whatever we are feeling. When a close friend passes away, we write about it. When we have had a hard day, we write up it. Writing about what we’re dealing with gives us a sense of calmness and closure.
Our first stages of the writing process are on piano or guitar. We’re focusing on finding lyrics and composition. We try and keep it as organic as possible by writing the lyrics on paper and avoiding the computer or our phones. Before releasing music as Half an Orange, we wrote folk music together so writing organically is more comfortable to us.
For lyrics, the goal is to be honest and share a story that has happened to us. We want the listener to feel like they’ve been transported somewhere with us. Hopefully, they can relate to the story and emotions in the song.
After getting the composition and lyrics of the song down we both work in our studio to begin production. We record ourselves playing instruments and singing. During the process, we are trying to get the emotion and feel of the song down. We brainstorm different ideas and experiment with all kinds of instruments, melodies, synths, and samples. Most of our songs are acoustic or piano-based, but it’s not uncommon for us to spend more time on the percussion. We try and get the majority of the recording and playing of the song done together in the studio over a couple of days. The whole process from writing, composing, and producing takes about 2 weeks. We then spend another 2-4 weeks polishing the song and crafting the mix.
5 – How long did it take you to produce this new material?
We are heavily involved with every step in our song’s life cycle. It takes about a month for us to create a song. Another 1-3 months is spent on the music video for the song. We animated the music videos for “Buzz Lightyear” and “End of the Moon” ourselves. Both music videos took 2-4 months to make. “Old Friends” with “Ninja” was a 5-6 month project. After the song and music video are made we spend another month working on the release strategy with our label. ‘Mostly We Grow’ (parts 1 and 2) took over a year to put together. It was a fantastic journey that taught us a lot about ourselves.
“When Andrew and I were in the studio for “Mark Twain” I was singing it in my ‘normal’ voice. He pushed back and said it felt weird having a song about being dead but sounding like I was alive. We experimented with ways for me to sing in a style that let the listener know I wasn’t my normal self. The high creepy vocals were developed that day in the studio and are actually me singing without auto-tune. It took us forever to get the vocals down and singing in that style was really taxing on my vocal cords. The song’s subject matter made singing it over and over again emotionally draining.” – Michael from Half an Orange
7 – Who would you love to see remixing your new tracks?
WRLD remixed our song “Buzz Lightyear” and it was fantastic. The first song we ever released as Half an Orange was remixed by Holmsey. We’d love to have both of them hop on for another remix. Producers like Tokyo Machine, Tails, InukShuk, and Ephixa would also be awesome in re-creating our songs and stories through a remix.
8 – Are you planning to release a music video anytime soon?
There mostly likely won’t be any more music videos for ‘Mostly We Grow’. Please enjoy the current music videos for ‘Mostly We Grow’: “Buzz Lightyear”, “Old Friends”, “Given Up”, and “End of the Moon”. We made really fun visualizers for Blink 182 and Sunscreen. With Live Nation and Monstercat, we are releasing the first-ever animated DJ residency. It’s an hour of fully animated video content using songs from ‘Mostly We Grow’. We premiered an early access version of the show at Live Nation venue Bogart’s in Cincinnati Ohio and are preparing more shows for it.
9 – Last question, will there be a third part of ‘Mostly We Grow’ in 2020?
If fans keep getting tattoos of ‘Mostly We Grow’ Pt 1 and Pt 2 we’ll probably have to.