Third Party’s sold out Release show in Liverpool two weekends ago was a statement. It was an assault on the senses of every person there both acoustically and visually. The grand surroundings of the Liverpool Olympia were bathed in a sky of vibrant, colourful lasers and pyrotechnics perfectly complimenting an outstanding musical performance by Third Party.
Last night was the best show of our lives . . . We will never forget it ❤️
Posted by Third Party on Sunday, April 2, 2017
I sat down with Harry and Jonnie ahead of their set to chat about their album, Release Records and making music.
After many months of studio time and tweaking Third Party’s debut album entitled ‘Hope’ was released to the world in all its glory earlier this year. An unexpected step taken by the UK based artists especially considering electronic music is heavily orientated around individual single releases rather than album releases. I was curious to know why Third Party had chosen to join a relatively exclusive club of electronic artists that have chosen that route for their music. “People we really respected as artists have put out an album. It puts you on that different platform and it means we can put together a body of work that gives us an opportunity to show what you are about, it ties everything together into one piece of work.” It also means as artists that “we don’t have to rely on one big single, fans can decide from 11 tracks if there is something there that they love or not.”
Acutely aware of the powerful impact of music, both Harry and Jonnie understand the importance of keeping this to the forefront of their minds. They reflect on “how easy it is to lose that feeling, that often the more success you experience and the more people tell you they love your music the more desensitized you become to the impact. They both feel very fortunate to be in a position of possibly “changing one person’s day, helping one person or giving one person a good night.” Music is therapy. Music moves people. It connects people in ways that no other medium can and it breathes life into the heart.
This album is guaranteed not to be their last. Harry described the experience of creating the album as “the most favourite thing I’ve ever done” and it is almost certain that at some point in the future there will be another.
Much of their productions throughout their career have had quite an uplifting theme and they often favour “a mix of feelings” in their songs that can take the listener on a journey. This continues to flow through their current album. “We didn’t try to make it uplifting; when we put the tracks together and listened to it we sort of found that there was this positive vibe.” Jonnie feels that the album is a “reflection of life in general where you’ve happy moments and sad moments and that the music is quite truthful. People who might listen to a single track might find it more difficult to decipher a particular message but when you put an album of music together you can really hit them with a specific message.” The album is a collection of powerful, emotionally charged, melodic progressive house tracks, some electro and soul sounds and just a touch of acid to give it a bit of spice.
Last year, Harry and Jonnie stepped out of the Third Party bubble and dipped their toe into a different sound under an alias. They are keen to explore this idea and see it as an opportunity for growth and expansion as artists. “We like that kind of music and we feel that there’s something we can do there, we’ve got a few ideas that need to be finished.”
Launching their own label Release Records just over a year ago was the obvious next chapter in their developing career. A bold and courageous step for the duo to take especially when you consider that they had a well established seat at the Size Records table. It was a difficult decision stepping into the unknown especially considering that “Size was our home for a long time but it felt like the right time to do it ourselves. We had an idea of where we wanted to go, a little more progressive with our sound and it was right for us to step out on our own and not be under that wing.”
Steve Angello not only gave Harry and Jonnie a huge platform to build their career upon but also encouraged a strong sense of empowerment and individuality. They both “feel like Steve would have wanted us to do this. He taught us to fully take charge of our careers and I think he knew it would happen anyway.”
The driving force behind becoming label owners was to achieve creative control over their sound and make the kind of music they love without any constraints. Both also feel very strongly about the importance of giving to new artists what Steve gave to them, an outlet to release music and that crucial guidance to navigate the sometimes intrepid waters of the music industry.
Although they would both have considered themselves “anti PR” in the past and “would love to just make music and if people listen and enjoy it that’s great but then you realise that you need to spread it in order to help people listen to it.” They confess that they are improving and becoming more accustomed to it especially since launching the label and gaining a much greater understanding of other aspects of the business.
Having brought the high caliber Release shows to Amsterdam, France and London in the past few months, the current run of Release shows was brought to a close in spectacular style recently in Liverpool. The Release label shows are an opportunity for Harry and Jonnie to express themselves creatively in a live setting. “Doing these shows gives us full control over everything from who is playing, the venue, branding, production and sound. It puts us in the driving seat, we are in charge, and we can put our vision out there for everyone to see.”
Third Party has spoken in the past about the constant conflict they experience between touring and producing in the studio. It is a testament to the true artists they are that they would choose production over performance. “I would rather people listen to our music even if we couldn’t play it live, I wouldn’t want to play shows unless it was our own music.”
One of Third Party’s most popular tracks came in 2014 under the Size Records label. Although ‘Everyday of my Life’ “didn’t connect straight away, it grew quite slowly” into a track that has been played across the globe over and over again. It has since been eclipsed by their more recent collaboration with Martin Garrix ‘Lions in the Wild’.
Like many other artists who have had a single track that has been played so widely and obtained such repute, I was interested to find out what Jonnie and Harry’s current feelings are of the EOML production. “When we create music we try to create songs that we know we’ll love in years to come. It would be important for us to recognize when a track feels like it’s getting old to us but right now we still love it and we’ve created a special edit as the outro for tonight’s show.”
So what’s ahead for Third Party in 2017? “There will be a lot of time spent focusing on the label and the new artists we have, particularly Sentinel and Pete K, there are big things coming for those guys. We’re also going to work on some new music and of course play shows.”
I have such endless love for these guys, not just for the intrinsic gift they possess to create such beautiful music but also for their integrity and the desire to give back to others. They stand today as one of the UK’s biggest electronic music artists that have achieved global success but they are also two incredibly kind, giving, humble and genuine guys that have worked hard and sacrificed much for the love of their art. Their music will generate a feeling within you that you’ll be desperate to replicate over and over again, an addiction to a sound like no other. If you are ever fortunate to have an opportunity to hear them perform live you should grab it with both hands because you need to allow Third Party’s music to invade your soul.
Get the album here: