Ambient aura's of sound envelope you as you press play on littleDNGR newest single "Brand New World." This LA-based alt-pop duo is creating hauntingly beautiful elements of sound full of emotional soundscapes and anthemic harmonies. The duo is comprised of Lisa Harriton and Bartholomew, both Grammy and Oscar-nominated songwriters who have begun their journey on their musical path with their appropriately titled single "Brand New World."
"Brand New World" chimes in with memorizing, playful piano notes of sound, as spellbinding vocals lay into the track. The chorus is again highlighted by cheerful keys and a chugging blend of percussions and vocals, as a wave of encouraging and empowering lyricism takes over. The bridge cascades down to an otherworldly atmosphere of sound as Lisa and Bartholomew's voice cries out in the darkness. Their ghostly vocals and fast-moving orbs of sound encapsulate the listener. Like a flash of light, we are delivered back to the familiar whimsical piano keys trickled throughout the chorus. littleDNGR creates a pictorial listening experience through resonating lyrics, multidimensional instrumentation, and mesmerizing vocal deliveries. "Brand New World" leaves you with a fresh, invigorated feeling, catapulting you into a brand new perspective. We are so excited to watch littleDNGR's musical path unfold, and encourage everyone to listen to "Brand New World" today.
Hello littleDNGR, and welcome to BuzzMusic. Can you start by telling us a bit more about the duo and how littleDNGR came to be?
Bartholomew: Hello, BuzzMusic! First off, just have to say that we appreciate all you do for independent music! The idea of littleDNGR has existed in our heads for a long time. We actually started out making music together as a writing/production team for other artists and for film/TV projects. As big fans of each other’s solo work since we met back in 2012, we often found ourselves conceptualizing what a project together might sound like. Then, one random night while out with some friends at a restaurant we had never been to before, we noticed a drink on the menu called “Little Danger.” The drink itself was actually pretty terrible, but now we had a band name! Considering it a sign from the universe, we finally started writing and recording the music we had talked about making for so long; a blend of cinematic soundscapes, anthemic choruses and a healthy dose of 90’s grunge. So, littleDNGR has been a long time coming and we’re so stoked to finally be releasing our musical love-child out into the world!
"Brand New World" is such an encapsulating listening experience, the listener really does move in and out of the soundscape you have created. When it comes to song composition how are you able to paint such a vivid display of sound?
Lisa: Thank you! Dynamic contrast is a big part of our musical identity because I think we both hear music in a cinematic way. It’s most likely an artifact of our mutual love for film scores and their ability to lead the emotion of a scene. My Dad is a retired film composer and it was totally commonplace for my family to talk over the dialogue of a movie because we were freaking out about a brilliant cue. Then we would rewind it and watch/listen again.
Bartholomew: Painting with sound, I love that! We definitely have a strong consideration for how a song will be interpreted both sonically and visually. “Brand New World” is actually a bit anomalous for us in that we arranged and produced the instrumental track first. Doing it in that order unintentionally caused us to really focus in on the emotional delivery of the music. So even without any vocals, the song was already telling a story.
Where does littleDNGR draw inspiration from that infuses your songwriting process?
Bartholomew: We’re both die-hard romantics so love is a central theme in our music. They say “write what you know”, right? In the case of “Brand New World,” we had created this cinematic track that oscillates between a dark, hypnotic verse and a big, anthemic chorus without an idea of what the song would be about. At the time, we were in a weird headspace, dealing with some very draining external forces. As we sat down to add the melody and lyrics, it all kind of poured out very quickly. It helped us get through that time. It became a personal anthem for our situation. Fast forward to now and the unprecedented shift that’s happening in the collective consciousness. The song has taken on a whole new meaning.
You both have extremely impressive backgrounds in the music industry, both Oscar and Grammy-nominated, how do your skills complement each other to balance out littleDNGR as a duo?
Lisa: We actually have very different formative musical backgrounds. As the daughter of a film composer father and a studio singer mother, I ended up studying classical, jazz and big band composition at USC. Bartholomew, on the other hand, is almost entirely self-taught. He spent many a cold, Canadian winter in his basement studio studying his parents’ record collection, writing, recording and teaching himself how to play any instrument he could get his hands on. So on a practical level, that really helps bring a natural balance to our creative process. Vocally, Bartholomew has this Jeff Buckley-esque power and emotion, where as I tend to be more breathy and ethereal. This creates such a rich texture to the point where sometimes our vocal blend just sounds like one big voice. I think that’s my favorite thing about our music.
Bartholomew: Yeah, littleDNGR wouldn’t have ever fully materialized if our “yin & yan” type musical relationship didn’t exist in the first place. With our film and TV work, our musical differences help us cover so much ground. With littleDNGR, I think we rely more on our similarities. We embrace the intersection of our respective artistic musical identities. We actually both found it difficult to “find our sound” as solo artists, but somehow, forming this duo has allowed us to fully realize our individual artistic identities in a way neither of us were able to do on our own.
Thank you for talking with us today littleDNGR! What can fans anticipate next from you?
Bartholomew: Seriously, thank you for having us! We’re working on a video for “Brand New World” right now, hoping to have it ready by the end of July. We definitely plan to release more music this year, as well. And not sure how long it will be until live shows are a thing bands do again, so stay tuned for announcements about virtual shows in the near future!