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  • Bronte Lebo

Eighty Ninety: New York's Buzziest Band

Eighty Ninety is easy to love. A band of brothers who make laid back, honest electro pop with 808s and telecasters - what’s not to like? Taylor Swift agrees.

Abner and Harper James of Eighty Ninety first hit the scene in 2016 with their debut single “Three Thirty,” a song that now has over 15 million Spotify streams. Gearing up for the release of their second EP, Bowery Beach Road, coming this spring, the band recently released “Your Favorite Song,” catching the attention of Taylor Swift, who added the track to her “Songs Taylor Loves” playlist on Spotify, and scoring a remix by our friends LOOTE.

Endorsements like these are what “builds the buzz,” and if we know a buzzy band right now, it’s Eighty Ninety.

MOXI didn’t want to miss out on the party, so we caught up with the band via MOXI MAG after the guys played a killer show at the “Take That Body Downtown” showcase. Here’s the scoop.

What was going through your minds as you wrote that first single? Did you realize “Three Thirty” was going to be a hit as you were working on it?

When we made “Three Thirty” we were very intentional about following our creative impulses without second-guessing them. We kind of walled ourselves off from “how-will-this- do?” thinking, because that mindset can really get in our way. So the short answer is “no”, we had no idea people would respond to it like they have. But we did have a great time making it — which felt important.

“Three Thirty” blew up with 15 million streams on Spotify, can you talk a little about how that happened?

That was an amazing surprise. We put the song out and sent around some emails letting people know it was up. It wouldn’t have happened without Spotify, they’ve been such an amazing supporter of our music — and indie music in general.

What inspired the name Eighty Ninety?

Those numbers have lots of associations for us, and it seems like other people have their own theories about what “Eighty Ninety” means. So far we’ve liked all of them.

How does your sibling relationship translate into being bandmates and working so closely together? What challenges has that brought with it?

You develop a shorthand growing up together and share a lot of the same reference points. So communicating is easier. We got most of the fighting out of the way.

What’s next for the band?

We’re headed to SXSW in March, and right now we’re spending a lot of time in the studio finishing our upcoming EP Bowery Beach Road. It’s safe to say it won’t be long after SXSW before new music arrives.

What can listeners expect from the upcoming EP?

We tried to establish a road map for Eighty Ninety with our first EP Elizabeth. With Bowery Beach Road, we’re filling in the details and pushing the boundaries a bit.

How did the “Your Favorite Song” remix come about? What was it like working with Loote?

We love Loote’s music as well as their remix work. Their stuff is more heavily pop than ours, and “Your Favorite Song” has been maybe our most pop melody yet. So we thought it would be fun to double down on that with the remix. Loote intuitively understood the song and reinterpreted it in a cool way without losing its original spirit.

What's your take on the writing scene in New York? Do you feel camaraderie among writers and musicians here? Nashville and LA have reputations for being artist communal hubs, but NY doesn't carry that identity. Is that a misconception?

We’ve found a great community here in NYC — a lot of friends supporting each other and collaborating. We love it.

Listen to Eighty Ninety music HERE


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