The Dragon Berries have released “Nectarine” from the band’s upcoming EP, And The Moon Turned Red, scheduled for release July 10, 2020. The new single emphasizes the importance of self-worth and overcoming depression and anxiety, intertwined in a track composed of anthemic rap rock with a dance-inducing vibe.
“‘Nectarine’ is a song about the internal struggles we face within ourselves,” the band stated. “Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies by having negative thoughts and emotions, and it can be very difficult to ignore this constant chatter in our minds. The song details ways to overcome these challenges such as pursuing your passion, making choices for yourself without regret, and self reflection. Rather than external forces, such as society or other people bringing us down, it’s simply our own thoughts.”
“The video concept and production was of course dictated by the current situation,” the band continued. “We all live in different parts of Austin so we each got footage in our homes, getting as creative as we could be within these confines, and inherently it became sort of a “quarantine” style video. But we wanted to create a nostalgic, 90’s VHS type of aesthetic. Connor has an old VHS camera that we used some and luckily Reid is skilled with video editing so he was able to apply this effect throughout the video. The video itself doesn’t necessarily tell the story of the lyrics. In fact, we think the video juxtaposes nicely with the relatively serious tone of the song because there were plenty of moments where we just wanted to be goofy and entertaining.”
Creating an eclectic soundscape, the group’s influences range from 60’s, 70’s, and 90’s rock to modern hip-hop, including inspirations like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, and Kendrick Lamar.
The Dragon Berries were created when Connor Poteat and Quinn Donoghue were living together in Boone, NC while attending Appalachian State University. They started writing songs together with the intent of starting a band. Poteat decided to leave school and move to Austin, Texas in 2017 where he met both Chris DePalatis and Reid Harmon. He showed them some rough recordings of several songs and they subsequently decided to join the group. Donoghue then moved to Austin in early 2018 and the musical journey of The Dragon Berries was underway.
Rising Miami talent GARZI unveils the next phase of his “alternative 808s” manifesto with the release of his STUCK IN THE MIDDLE EP, out now via Big Noise Music Group.
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE blends GARZI’s alt-rock influences with trap and hip hop vibes creating a uniquely brooding, energetic fusion, an approach he calls “throwing up my emotions on a track.” A punk spirit tears through the EP, with GARZI firing through the five tracks in 11 minutes; vocals and lyrics starkly exposed up-front with instrumental sections kept to a minimum. No doubt the punk attitude gets an injection from the addition of scene veterans John Feldmann (who co-produced/co-wrote the entire record), and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, (who performs on the single “Sick of Me” and takes co-writing/co-producing credits on three of the albums five tracks).
Opening track “Wake Up” has the EP blazing from the get-go, with it’s rumbling low-end, flickering hi-hats and GARZI’s voice searching for a way out of a nightmare. “Hopeless” follows and delves into even darker territory, building its frustrations to a shard cut off that opens up space for lead-off single “Sick of Me.” Lyrically, “Sick of Me” wrenches out a story of a relationship in crisis. A relationship between two people, as much as his relationship with himself. The track is juiced up with the drumming chops of Travis Barker, who takes the energy up to the next level on a track that showcases GARZI at his most anthemic. By the time the EP reaches the closer, “Summer,” GARZI is in a more reflective mood, moving forward and realizing how far he’s come. “I was mad then, but I think I get it now, I’m not the only one that this world revolves around,” he calls out as the track builds to its conclusion.
The collaborative effort of STUCK IN THE MIDDLE came after GARZI caught the ear of Goldfinger frontman/multi-platinum producer/Big Noise founder Feldmann and the two found that they were “kindred sonic spirits”. Feldmann soon insisted that Barker come by their recording sessions. GARZI explains “It was crazy to have Travis drumming on the song because Blink 182 has been one of my inspirations since childhood… “We figured out a really dope sound. I have faith that the music is really sick.”
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE marks an important next phase for GARZI who first came to attention as Yung Garzi amongst the South Florida rap boom of the late 2010s. This early success culminated with the Nick Mira and Taz Tayor-produced track “Demonstrate”, which notched eight million streams on the Soundcloud platform. The record would have eerily prescient lyrics for the artist who would soon be picking up label attention, while also planning his shift away from the rap scene. “Life’s a movie so just stop and stare/Take a pic, yeah, I’ll be gone by next year… big things calling, had to leave you right there…”
While STUCK IN THE MIDDLE is a developmental step for GARZI as a creative force, it is also in some ways a step backward. To his roots. As a teenager, GARZI often felt isolated and “a little lost”. He found solace in rock, punk, and metal, falling in love with the Warped tour and the scene royalty that descended on the Sunshine State every summer. Band such as Memphis May Fire, Front Porch Step, and Of Mice & Men were formative influences and, while there’s no missing their sonic footprint on his debut EP nothing to something, it’s under the guidance of John Feldmann that GARZI is now able to fully realize his ambitions on STUCK IN THE MIDDLE and firmly put his own stamp on the scene.
For the kid who felt like an outsider who never quite fit in at high school, perhaps that’s because he’s always been an original from the outset.