A Tribute to Her’s
by Erin Christie
Spotify has become a major tool in my discovery of massively important acts since I began using the platform. Via their Discover Weekly playlist—which aims to introduce listeners to music that they might like based on their saved songs—I came across a single that seamlessly blended my favorite elements of 80’s pop with the dream-like haze of current indie. That single was “What Once Was” by a little-known band, Her’s. Since then, they’ve occupied my earbuds on a frequent, if not daily, basis, sound-tracking my most mundane activities with jubilant reverb-heavy ambiance.
The dynamic duo, Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading, met while attending school in Liverpool and immediately clicked. It was as if their friendship was written in the stars. As soon as they began making music together, they made waves within their small community, and this past year, they embarked on their first North American tour, making a stop in our humble city of Boston on March 10th.
Live, Stevie and Audun are a bubbly delight, bouncing around the stage at Sonia, accompanied by a cardboard cutout of the one and only Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. The atmosphere was filled with joyous energy as they powered through anthems such as the heartfelt “Low Beam” and syrupy-sweet “She Needs Him.”
“I’ll never forget/ All the days we had,” Stevie belts in his signature baritone in their high-energy, yet mournful track, “Mannie’s Smile,” in which a loss is reflected on. With the circumstances considered, it’s unfortunately fitting.
The Van Gogh effect is a phenomenon that describes how an individual’s art, life, and legacy gain inherent value one they are deceased., Death, in a general sense, is a tricky subject to tip-toe around, especially when concerning those who have had such a massive impact on people, as is the case of the lovely band called Her’s.
I’ve spent a decent amount of time in tears since hearing the news that those two beautiful boys and their tour manager, Trevor, had died in a collision with a drunk driver on Thursday afternoon, as have many of my peers. They had been in the midst of living out their dreams—on tour in an unfamiliar place, far away from home, playing music to adoring fans each night. They were a few days off their five-show run at the infamous Texan festival/press conference, SXSW, where many artists have been able to kick-start their careers and “get discovered.” Big things were clearly in store for them. And yet, everything was forced to come to a halt because of one person’s recklessly selfish choice to drive while under the influence.
Needless to say, I’ve gone through every stage of grief except acceptance thus far. It doesn’t feel real to me that such a lovely group of people with such promise and light have experienced something so horrific, and at such a young age.
The amazing thing about music is that even if you’re not physically with someone, you’re able to experience a part of their soul through what they’ve created. Their voice filters through your speakers and fills the room around you. It’s a devastating thing to know that though their body of work still exists—and will be cherished by many for years and years to come— the people behind its genius aren’t around anymore.
As I reflect on the heartbreak that I’ve endured due to this loss, it’s unimaginable to picture the devastation that the family and friends of the trio must be facing. I met Stevie and Audun for no more than five minutes following their gig in Boston, and I immediately felt an unmatched connection. They absolutely had no obligation to be as welcoming and open as they were, and yet, that was the type of people they were. Their hearts were genuine beyond words, as is evident from their willingness to allow me to take a portrait of them while in a “tender embrace.” I knew them for such a short time, and yet, they still took the time to help me feel like “one of the guys” as we discussed their upcoming trip to Texas and their future releases. It hurts me so to know that I won’t have the opportunity to meet them again.
Her’s’ undeniable presence within the indie music world is vast, and this tragedy has only emphasized that much. Despite the loss, fans continue to rally in memoriam, their social media following is increasing by the day, and their Spotify monthly listeners count has risen to just under 1 million. It’s a wonderful thing to see them getting the attention that they deserved all along- it’s just a shame that the mass population’s ears hadn’t been opened to their splendor sooner.
“[They are] the best band to come out of Liverpool since The Beatles,” a childhood friend of Stephen’s, Daniel (@yoko_oh_no) lamented in a tribute post to the band via Instagram. His words, though undoubtedly biased, couldn’t be further from the truth. Even if they’re gone, it’d be criminal not to recognize just how impactful and beautifully composed their discography is, even if it is far too short.