Signing Story: Harboured

Date Signed: Sept. 13, 2021

Label: Lost Future Records

Band Members: Michael Stancel, vocals/guitar; Nick Hennig, guitar; Cierra White, drums; Brandon Michael, bass

Type of Music: Progressive Black Metal

Management: Harboured, [email protected]

Booking: [email protected]

Publicity: Dave Clifford, [email protected]

Web: harbouredmusic.bandcamp.com

A&R: Ben Kaplan - Lost Future

Remixing songs can be good for your health—and even lead to a record deal.

Denver-based metal musician Michael Stancel had that thought in the back of his mind when he remixed Health’s “Strange Days” a few years back. He did so after the electronic noise-rockers joined Isolate/Create, a website that provides artists with digital stems to make remixes.

I wanted to make the remix as good as I can,” the Harboured vocalist-guitarist says. “I’ve been a fan of that band for a long time and knew they put out remix records. I thought we could maybe get on one of those, and that’d help us shop around for labels.”

And that’s exactly what happened. Health heard Harboured’s “Strange Days” reworking and included it on their April 2020 remix record, Disco4+. Harboured then caught the ear of Ben Kaplan (a.k.a. multi-instrumentalist Sleep Maps) while he was working with an assistant producer who also collaborates with Health.

Kaplan, as it turns out, was ready to launch a new record label, Lost Future. He wanted Harboured to be one of its first signings.

Stancel chuckled when recalling the first email that Kaplan sent him. It looked like another run-of-the-mill message from an upstart label asking a band to sign before establishing a budget.

Nonetheless, “I figured I’d talk to him anyway,” Stancel says, “and the label turned out to be an actual thing.”

The Harboured frontman became further impressed upon discovering that Kaplan had also checked out Harboured’s performance at an online music festival staged during the pandemic.

“[Kaplan] said he liked the sound we had, because it mixed some electronic elements with a newer black-metal sound,” Stancel says. “Everything worked out from there.”

Harboured’s signing happened at the same neck-break speed at which their brutal music operates. Astonishingly, they hadn’t gone into a recording studio, performed live (in person) or even rehearsed together as a band before the ink dried on the contract.

Specifics of the deal are under wraps, Stancel says, but he’s confident Harboured will be “taken care of” by Kaplan. – Kurt Orzeck