LA-based actor, model and musician Harry Hains arrives on Close-up Culture to give us enlightening insight into his work as ANTIBOY and his upcoming film projects.
Q: Can you introduce us to ANTIBOY?
ANTIBOY is a gender fluid transhuman (AI fused human) living in the far future where most of humankind has uploaded themselves to the “Cloud” thereby leaving all physical form and getting to live out their best memories or versions of paradise. But ANTIBOY’s personal world has malfunctioned creating a loop of his worst memories – suffering in his created paradise.
ANTIBOY is not only a character but he is a symbol of the future where social constructs no longer exist and we are free of the labels our current society has forced upon us.
Q: It sounds like you have an incredible vision for the ‘A Glitch in Paradise’ album. How creatively satisfying and challenging has it been to combine poetry, episodic music videos and your brand of glitch rock into one project?
A: I love to create, and that is through character and story as well as music, poetry and performance. This led me into turning my album into a mixed media project – a TV show about ANTIBOY that includes songs which inspired each episode of the show, a sort of episodic music video series.
ANTIBOY thinks often poetically too, which allows me to add some of my own poetry in the script. Being able to find people who understand the vision and want to be apart of seeing it come to fruition has been very exciting as I get to do what I want to see in this world. It can be challenging to want to do something that hasn’t been done yet, but that is the rewarding part of it – to make something new happen.
If there’s something you want that doesn’t exist out there in the world, then be the one to first create it.
Q: ‘A Glitch in Paradise’ may lead people to reassess their understanding of labels and social constructs. Did you have an awakening moment on these topics or is it something you have always seen through?
A: I always disliked the idea of labels, I knew that they were just a way for the masses to understand things in a simple way for their own comfort. Certain groups need those labels for their own wellbeing. It’s like feeling like something is wrong with you because society has told you that you need to behave and act a certain way and you see a professional and they diagnose you with a mental disorder.
I would rather look at the environment and see what is causing these feelings of negativity and discomfort to solve the issue, rather than put a band-aid over it by what doctors do in prescribing medication and looking at population studies. Although we all share a lot of traits, there is nothing wrong with us, just because you had a bad breakup and are now feeling a certain type of way doesn’t mean you have depression, as you learn to cope then things get better and the pain goes away.
Right now, we are putting a band-aid on society with how we are defining everything, rather than looking at the environment, knowing we wouldn’t have this pain in the first place if we didn’t even think that our skin colour made us a different race when it’s merely due to climate and migration, or our genatalia made us a different gender, we could all then feel comfort in knowing we are all human and find a greater sense of belonging.
Although these ideas have always been in my mind, they strengthened when I first lived in New York in 2012 and Bushwick was really happening, people were wearing whatever they wanted, doing whatever they wanted and kissing whoever they wanted. It seemed none of those social constructs mattered in this bubble I found, everyone just wanted to have fun and people weren’t judging each other.
It was a really inspiring time in my life, to see a group of people who were so fluid, not caring about a defined gender and sexuality and it seems that we all just got along, enjoying the night as equals.
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"I half live in a fantasy world myself, and that’s where I get a lot of my ideas and stories from – they are fantasies dipped in the fabric of reality. I truly believe in the idea of energy manifestation. Everything around us is something we can explore and take from and borrow. We can use the energy around us to create new things. Although this may be another obscure projection of mine, I truly believe that what I want to do in this life I will make happen because I have such strong self-belief. And because I have such big ideas, and I think this is what the world needs so I am going to put my energy into making it happen. So yeah, I am definitely a dreamer, but I feel I am a dreamer that dreams things into existence." @boysbygirls
Q: Given the intense culture war we are currently seeing in America society, do you feel art like yours is as important as ever?
A: Absolutely, everyone is fighting for their voice to be heard and mostly that has been a wonderful thing whereby those oppressed and those within minorities are starting to be recognised the way they should. Hence why this project and ANTIBOY as a whole matters, because it envisions a world outside our current “design”, in a future that no longer has our issues, one where terms and social concepts like race, gender and sexuality no longer exist.
This creates a society where there is only raw, vulnerable human beings, a single species, not divided by a specific attribute, rather coming together without prejudice of qualities that we today decided some make us better than the other. When in fact, we are all the same.
Q: You had a lot of experience in the world of fashion and modelling before moving into acting. How did that experience help you grow and prepare for on camera roles?
A: Modelling was an important stepping stone for me because it gave me the confidence and self-esteem, as well as reassurance as to who I am.
There is nothing more important in this world than confidence. I couldn’t care less as to what people think of me today, it’s not important and so I can feel free to do whatever I feel inclined to do.
I can try new things and careers and not care if I’m bad at the beginning or if I mess up, and I can go out and express myself through fashion and not care about judgment, and not feel embarrassed to wear makeup and a dress since I see all clothing as unisex. I dress for myself, and because of my attitude and the way I feel, rather than what someone else feels is what dictates my actions, people seem to gravitate towards that.
That’s something I wish people would have more of: confidence, because it can get you further in life. People find insecurities and self-doubt a turn off, but if you can own every quality you have, the good and bad, and accept it, really accept it, you will be able to do anything.
Q: You were recently nominated for an award by the New Filmmaker’s of LA following your performance in Diana Cognoni’s ‘Lulu’. I believe the film address issues of gender and sexual abuse. What interested you about this role and the character of Lulu?
A: Lulu can be read in different ways, but to me it is a film about abuse and coping mechanisms, causing a split in one’s personality. The split in this is the masculine and feminine self, whereby the latter was the one that was created to be the less emotional one, the tougher one, the more callous, manipulative and at times more playful one.
Although these are not typically all standard “female” attributes, the film shows we all have a feminine side and a masculine side, and these can be demonstrated in various ways, his male self was the weaker and more sensitive and emotional side.
We can’t keep dictating what it means to be a man or a woman, as it creates unhealthy behaviours. A man or a woman could have the same traits, and these could both be seen as masculine or feminine, the ideology of the strong man and the weak, sensitive is wrong and needs to be discontinued from our thoughts, and gladly it’s started to.
It was such an interesting and challenging role, to really get into the mind of a tortured soul, where I played two different people. These are not “characters” to me, but reflections of different parts of myself, as I make the roles as real as possible, I relate to them, I feel what they feel and put myself in their positions.
This was a very emotional shoot while my head was in this space, and difficult to shoot, but the director, Diana Cignoni, was truly wonderful, tough on set, but brilliant – no one else could have directed it like she did.
Q: Michael Matteo Rossi’s ‘Chase’ has already been picking up awards. From we’ve seen on your Instagram, it looks like you are involved in a few intense scenes. How do you typically prepare for a role?
A: This was another intense shoot actually! I had an extremely intense scene in this film, well everything we shot was — but in a different way to Lulu, as that was more an internal struggle, whereas this was more of a physical one, literally.
It may seem counterintuitive, but I believe for me it’s best to do less preparation for a role. I obviously learn all my lines, figure out the stage movements and note any emotional reactions throughout the scene, including an arc, and while learning my lines, I feel myself becoming apart of the story, putting myself in the scene.
Feeling the rage of someone betraying me at the top of the first scene in Chase, something we can all relate to, then moving on to trying different tactics to get what I want, which doesn’t work out causing me to get hurt in the scene imaging what that type of pain would feel like.
I like to leave some room in there to be spontaneous and go with my impulses and intuition, so I don’t define everything, but rather have some room to play in the scene in case the director wants to see something else or you just want try something different playing entirely off the reaction of the other actor. Never should two takes be the same in this space as if you react differently, your partner should react differently, that causes a chain reaction of the scene’s pace and direction.
It’s all about having fun with the lines, knowing them so well that it feels like you would say that anyway in this situation, and to feel confident to just let whatever happens, happens while having trust in yourself and your scene partner.
Q: 2019 looks to be another busy year for you with roles in Shayne Pax’s ‘Peridot’ and Teo Konuralp’s ‘A Haunting At Silver Falls 2’. Can you reveal anything about these projects and your experience working on them?
A: Shayne Pax is a friend of mine who I love to work with, he is not only directing this project, but is the writer and lead actor of it. He is writing this project over time, and shooting it this way too as while editing, he gets inspired to follow a new storyline and asks “what if this happened?” Which I’ve never shot a film like this before but it’s working out to be a really interesting and strong piece.
I play a homeless prostitute inhabitant of downtown LA that he meets which shows him the ropes, who feels that he will never leave, and has lost all hope for another life – he has accepted this and has given up trying to escape it. We shot very recently and I feel that we will be shooting again soon.
However, the other film you mentioned, the sequel of The Haunting of Silver Falls, I play one half of the stoner kid comedic relief duo of the film. They get themselves caught up in the two more serious leads altercation with supernatural horrors coming back to kill them with help from a dangerous escapee from an occult studies center under the influence of the entity haunting them.
This was filmed awhile back in Oregon and was so much fun to do, the four of us were up there the whole shoot and had a blast together as well as the twins who were in the first film and some others who came up too. I have fond memories of us staying in the Silver Falls state park where we got silly and it snowed wildly the night we got there. It was just a beautiful shoot with such a great group of people on the project.
It looks like it will be coming out very soon this year! Stay tuned!
Q: Do you have any other upcoming projects or ambitions to share with us?
A: I think you could probably name any creative field and I would have some ambition to follow it at some point.
I definitely am excited about pitching my first TV show, A Glitch in Paradise as I have so many more show ideas I want to do after as well as feature film scripts I’ve written, including a finished musical with 14 orignal tracks. I would like to start releasing my books of poetry. Looking forward to my next album that I am starting to think about too.
I also hope to direct someday. I have a lot of ideas once I’ve established the brand ANTIBOY, that I can’t wait to reveal when they are possible like my own fashion label and an LGBTQ+ members clubhouse and so on.
The future is very exciting, because there are endless possibilities, you just gotta work hard and make all your dreams come true, because it can happen! I know it can – I have a lot of self belief and know it will take me to where I need to go. Never think your ideas are too big, reach for beyond what we even know is out there and then go further.