While Half the Animal have only been around for just more than a year, the poppy foursome have made quite a splash with their catchy brand of alternative rock. Plenty of groups spend their first couple of years trying to work their way out of the garage, but Half the Animal were born out of a shift in the musical stylings of Open Air Stereo, a band you might remember from MTV’s venture into OC-based programming, Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County.
Even before front man Chase Johnson and drummer Nick Gross were getting caught up in the televised high-school drama of the rich and obnoxious, the two were musical soulmates. It was their chemistry that made Open Air Stereo a success for several years, and—with their new shift in songwriting and the addition of guitarist Dan Graham—it has also been the backbone of Half the Animal. “Nick and I were in catechism class together when we were, like, 13 or 14, and we started getting kicked out on purpose to go talk about music” Johnson says. “I needed a drummer and he told me he played drums, and since the first time we started playing together, we haven’t spent much time away from each other. It’s like a musical marriage.”
Johnson and Gross have always been Laguna Beach residents, surfing and family are the two most important things outside of music, according to the vocalist. Although he may not be writing romantic seaside ballads for too many Half the Animal tracks, he’d still rather spend time on the beach than in the studio most days. “I don’t think it correlates into lyrics all the time, but [the beach] is a big part of the feel of how we make our music,” Johnson says. “Growing up by the ocean, it’s a really spiritual, medicinal aspect to what we do. The ocean means a lot to us, and we’re very blessed to have been able to wake up every morning and see it.”
In a short amount of time HTA has accomplished more than most bands with record deals do over the course of multiple albums. They’ve been in with monster producers such as JKash (Charlie Puth, Maroon 5) and Ammo (Mike Posner, Katy Perry); and more recently have been working on a collection of songs with Captain Cuts (Walk The Moon, Iconapop) and Sam Martin (G-Eazy, Jhené Aiko). These new songs with Captain Cuts and Sam Martin will be the cornerstone of the 2019 launch of Half The Animal. Previously touring with Atlas Genius and Smallpools, they ended 2018 with a bang hitting the road with Lovelytheband and The Night Game. 2019 is already off to a busy start as the band is teaming up to support TwinXL and ARIZONA.