Toronto-based composer and avant-pop artist, Scott Hardware – a moniker for Scott Harwood – is today sharing his new single, "Summer" alongside details of a new record, Ballad of a Tryhard which is set for release via Telephone Explosion Records (Mas Aya, Pantayo, Jane Inc) on March 4, 2022. The forthcoming record will follow Harwood's 2020 release, Engel which was released at the height of the pandemic finding fans at FADER, Gorilla vs Bear, Paste, Bandcamp Daily, Exclaim and more
Whereas Engel was rooted in the sounds of murky vaporwave, soaked in decayed electronics and industrial noises, Ballad of a Tryhard finds Harwood aiming for something bolder and more immediate. Over luminous keys and sky-sweeping melodies, Harwood reverse engineers his capabilities as a composer skilled in the art of complexity to deliver something unselfconsciously ambitious; a reimagination of experimental adult contemporary that tweaks the limits of Y2K rock and soft rock with curiosity and appreciation. Crafted in Spain and co-produced with Matt Smith (Prince Nifty, Owen Pallett), Ballad of a Tryhard is a snapshot of weeks spent in Elche, a sleepy Mediterranean city, wandering through emptied-out streets, becoming acquainted with the interiors of a historic apartment block, and living for the first time with a familiar love. On Ballad of a Tryhard Hardware conducts another painstaking character evaluation to better understand the world by looking inward. Engel used the 1987 film Wings of Desire as a lens for Scott's self-analysis but with Ballad..., he attempts a conversation by honoring the splendor of “living between emotions.” Suspended and exalting, this first single, "Summer" (featuring members of Phedre, Lee Paradise, Vellens and more) bursts with cinematic flourishes that ring with a courageous form of earnestness. It's Scott's attempt at a bouncy, heartstring ballad that opens with light percussion before unraveling into lightly strummed guitars and Scott's idiosyncratic croon, flanked by breezy synths. Speaking about the new single, Harwood says: "I was born in September, and autumn has always been my favourite season. Fall people love to look back and to dwell in the bittersweetness of memory. This song marks a deep dive into my changing thoughts about nostalgia, seeing it change from cozy romanticism to toxic waste." Prior to his solo work as Scott Hardware, Harwood played with indie rock stalwart Toronto groups like Ostrich Tuning and released ambient pop as Ken Park. A move to Berlin influenced his 2016 debut, Mutate Repeat Infinity, which centered the dancefloor as a site of queer resilience. 2020’s Engel pulled direct inspiration from Wim Wender’s 1987 haunting masterpiece Wings of Desire. In 2021 Harwood was accepted into the Slaight Family Music Lab.