Hello Ontario just released his six song self titled EP 'Hello Ontario'. So we caught up and interviewed him. Jerrod describes Hello Ontario's music as sounding like of Montreal, Starfucker / STRFKR, Miike Snow, Owl City and Passion Pit, here's what else he had to say...
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Jerrod. Tell us a bit about yourself, your name, age, where youíre from and an interesting fact if you like.
My name is Jerrod Harlan, Iím 20 years old, and I live in Pittsburgh, PA. I go under the stage name of Hello Ontario. I guess an interesting fact would be that a hippo can open its mouth wide enough to fit a four foot tall child in it.
Is there a story behind your name Hello Ontario?
The name Hello Ontario came from a conversation I was having a good friend when I wrote my first song, ďYoung and Restless.Ē He asked me to describe the style, and I said it was a mix of Of Montreal and Hellogoodbye. So I took the Hello part and the Montreal part, and was going to call it Hello Montreal. I didnít like it. So I changed Montreal to Ontario caused it sounded good, and my favorite band (Tokyo Police Club) is from there.
How long have you been singing?
I have been focused on singing in a musical group since 7th grade. I guess that would be about 7 years ago.
What first got you interested in becoming a singer?
I picked up a guitar after I had surgery on my shoulder, and that naturally progressed into starting a band, and then lead to actually singing for that band.
What/who inspires your music?
My music right now is inspired by a lot of the indie electronic bands out there today. Bands like Of Montreal, Passion Pit, The Format, and The Postal Service.
Do you see being a singer as a career, or as a hobby?
I want it to be my career. It will always be a part of my life, but I want nothing more than to make a living by playing and sharing my music.
What are you trying to do with your music? Do you want to help your community? Are you trying to get rich? What is your goal for your music?
My main goal is to be able to support myself with music. Iím not worried about fame or anything like that. I just want to travel around and play my music for people that want to hear it. Getting famous would be a bonus though!
Have you ever performed live? How did it feel?
Iíve been performing for 7 years. I love being on stage. The feeling of being in front of people is incredible! Everything from the butterflies before the show, to the feeling of walking off stage after a great show, canít be compared to any other feeling in the world!
Do you have any kind of management, publishing or distribution team behind you? If so what are their responsibilities?
Iím currently working with an A&R rep from a label based out of Florida. I guess weíll see what happens!
What are some accomplishments that you have achieved, and are most proud of?
Just pursuing music is an accomplishment to me. Itís difficult to work full time, and retain some creativity to write and perform.
Have you ever made any contact with major artists or other high positioned people in the music industry and do you keep in contact with them?
Iíve opened for a couple relatively popular bands, such as The Granati Brothers. Iíve never made contact with anybody really famous though.
What one tip would you give to other aspiring singers?
Keep writing, and keep playing.
What do you see is in the future for the music industry? How do you think it will evolve/change?
I think we are in the process of a huge transition in the music industry. With all the torrenting that exists today, I think the music industry has to evolve with it instead of trying to stop it.
Do you feel like the internet is helping you as an underground artist?
Most definitely. Iím going to go out on a limb and say that itís highly unlikely to get anywhere now-a-days without the internet.
How do you think social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have affected the music industry?
A lot of artists are starting to do things on their own now. They can connect with their fans directly, and donít need a label.
Where can we hear your music online?
My music can be found at:
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I just finished my six song, self-titled EP. It can be downloaded for free at:
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years time?
Hopefully touring and recording more music. If not that, then I donít know what else I would want to be doing. Maybe politics.
Do you have any shoutouts you want to give?
Eric Smith. He is the A&R rep I am working with, and he has been a tremendous help, and a great friend.
Thanks again Jerrod for doing this interview.
We look forward to hearing some of Hello Ontario's music in the Audio forum in the near future.