On Friday, sibling duo Eighty Ninety cap another chapter with the release of their new The Night Sky EP, an eight-track project which features a handful of recent singles as well as new material.
For brothers Abner and Harper James, the release of this EP feels less like the start of something new and more like tying together their work from the last few months. Speaking with Variance over Zoom just days before the new project's arrival, the James siblings chatted about the new music, as well as what happens next.
"It feels really good to be putting out this project with all the songs together," says Abner. "It feels like a chapter, and very cohesive. It's exciting."
Adds Harper: "In a way, it's sort of cathartic. Sometimes, when you're putting out singles one at a time, it can be a different experience."
As siblings, the pair has learned how to work well together. And at this point, part of the magic of what makes Eighty Ninety so great is how the two feed off each other and support each other's ideas.
"I think part of what's happened with the band is that we've learned to just trust each other's instincts," explains Harper. "Abner will often just let me do stuff that I know in the moment is a little bit wonky or not great sounding and he'll just sit on his hands because he kind of knows that I won't let it be bad," he says with a smile.
He continues: "Then we can kind of take a step back and chat about what's working or not. And the same thing when when Abner brings me, say a song that he's worked on and he and he's like, 'I think this is good.' I'm very unlikely to second guess it, you know? I'm like, 'OK, I trust you.' We both know our strengths and what the other person's strengths are too."
The duo has spent much of the past year working on new music, even beyond this latest project. And that's something Abner says he's especially excited about.
"I think partly after the last couple of years, we're just feeling so excited to be putting this out, but even now, we're hopefully finishing up the song that we're gonna put out after the EP comes out," Abner reveals. "We're excited to keep working and moving."
While Covid has delayed a lot of acts' plans to get back to touring, Eighty Ninety does plan to hit the road eventually, but for now, they're just adding new material.
Harper says that, in a way, because of the uncertainty and question marks of the last couple of years, they have learned to "get more done and not be as precious about things," he says. "It's about moving past this stage of creativity where everything's agonized over and it's more about the fluidity and easing into the creative process. It's a great feeling for us to be able to say—knock on wood—yeah, we've already finished the next single, which is rare for us to be sort of ahead of the eight ball."
He adds: "It's just a new level for us, like the next phase. And we're really happy about it."