Half•alive Make Feel Good Music for the Soul

Photo credit: Sergio Necoechea

Half•alive is a Long Beach indie pop band that have quickly become fan favorites through their profound lyrics, undeniably catchy music and aesthetically pleasing music videos. The talented trio (typically stylized with a lowercase “h”) is on the rise and their success thus far is a good indicator that this is just the beginning.

The band started in 2016 and consists of vocalist Josh Taylor, drummer Brett Kramer and bassist J Tyler Johnson. Their paths crossed when Taylor and Kramer were renting studio time at the same location. The two had previously met Tyler through his brother, Jordan, who is half•alive’s dancer and choreographer, and through being bandmates from a previous project.

Taylor challenged himself to write 50 songs in order to improve his songwriting. Out of those 50, he picked a handful he liked the best (“Tip Toes”, “The Fall”, “aawake at night”) and they were released on the band’s first EP, 3, on April 24, 2017. They got some exposure when they released “Tip Toes”, to which many believed Taylor’s vocals sounded like those of Tyler Joseph’s from Twenty One Pilots. If you listen to their other songs, you will realize half•alive are their completely own entity.

The band takes inspiration from a variety of performers – ranging from Sufjan Stevens, Vulfpeck, Christine and The Queens, and Kimbra to Motown artists, Chance the Rapper and Tyler the Creator.

Photo credit: Sergio Necoechea

half•alive’s evident flair would soon catapult them into becoming an amalgamation of everything groovy that would quickly develop a fan base who were and still are eager to hear more.

Their music makes listeners think. It makes them reflect and relate. Half•alive are one of those bands that are about quality, not quantity and want to deliver a deeper message to listeners. Their songwriting revolves around psychological concepts, vulnerability, introspection, dreams, and outer space. (Their band name is based off concepts by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, after all.)

half•alive have undoubtedly made a damn good impression since their inception as a band. They are a group of brilliant minds who fine-tune everything they do. Anyone who has seen their music videos knows just how incredibly well-done they are. Taylor’s background as a film student and passion for psychology, film and literature has played a vast role in that regard.

So, it comes as no surprise that their dance-filled, ‘70s aesthetic music video “still feel.” has reached over 14+ million videos since August 2018. If you listen to ALT 98.7, you’re bound to hear the feel good jam at some point.

“’aawake at night’ was really the catalyst for the concept of the “still feel.” music video. Experimenting with dance in a small way in “aawake at night” made me feel comfortable enough to try doing the entire next video with dance in mind,” Taylor tells the Weekly. “We rehearsed for about seven days total, spread out over two weeks to get ready for the shoot. We ended up only having 12 hours at the music video location to shoot everything we needed.”

There are five cuts throughout the “still feel.” music video. Taylor mentions it was done in “many takes… many, many takes.”

The masterminds behind the choreography for the video are Jordan Johnson and Aidan Carberry, who started a dance collective called JA.

Once “still feel.” went viral and was featured on NPR, Alternative Press and Rock Sound, it was only a matter of time until they rightfully got the attention they deserved. half•alive began playing shows last fall, where they sold out their debut Los Angeles date. The trio signed with RCA Records in late 2018 and just embarked on their second tour, where they once again have a few sold out dates (their L.A. show at the Troubadour being one of them) as well as an upgraded venue in London.

They released a music video for their new single, “arrow” on Jan. 18. It has already reached over half a million views.

“The most rewarding experience thus far has been experiencing audiences around the world connect with our message and aesthetic,” Taylor says.

half•alive will play a sold-out show at the Troubadour on Tue., February 5.

Yvonne Villasenor is often in a sleep deprived daze daydreaming about ’90s heartthrobs, dogs, upcoming album releases, and what she’s going to eat for dinner. When she snaps back to reality, she writes about OC’s latest music and artists.

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