We collect scars, scratches, and memories as totems of our respective journeys. For Harmless, songs affirm his survival and just how far he has come. On a turbulent rollercoaster of life, he went from a lonely childhood as a Mexican immigrant in Southern California to struggling to be heard as an artist and enduring a near-death crime to eventually achieving gold-certification, playing sold-out shows, and getting married. Now, the Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer born Nacho Cano chronicles the trip on his full-length LP, Springs Eternal [Nettwerk Music Group].
In inventive fashion, he actually recounts the ride thus far to a previous version of himself…
“On every song, I’m touching base with the avatar or ghost who died after that crime,” he reveals. “I’m talking to myself about my marriage, my job in the music industry, and how rejected I feel despite having ‘the biggest dreams come true’. I’m granting myself a moment where I can reach back into my past and give the 19-year-old version of me a hug or a high five. That’s truly the aim of the record.”
Rewinding back to the very beginning, Nacho grew up in Mexico before his family settled in San Diego. At 17-years-old, he developed an obsession with the “blog-o-sphere,” intently following the commentary of Pitchfork, Anthony Fantano, and more as a self-professed “early high school internet kid.” This obsession made him realize it was possible to make music of his own. Not long after gaining citizenship, his life took another series of dramatic turns. Even though his musical output was gaining traction, he still needed to hold down a day job. Riding his bike to work one morning, a drunk driver disregarded a stop sign, and left him practically in ruins. Hours upon hours of surgery followed as doctors rebuilt his spine and face. “The optimism sort of vanished,” he sighs. “I knew it was a long road ahead, but I couldn’t really comprehend it.”
As if by a stroke of well-earned luck, his anthem “Swing Lynn” organically exploded on TikTok. In between the jarring experience of the criminal trial for his accident, it picked up a Gold certification and scored nearly half-a-billion streams and counting. He maintained this momentum with the Mr. Baby EP  highlighted by “Nacho’s,” “Mrs. Moody,” and “Call Katie.” Simultaneously, he toured with Vacations, Wavves, and many more. In 2022, he recorded Springs Eternal at the legendary Sunset Sound Studios with co-producer Yves Rothman.
Following “What U Want” and “As I Lay Chillin,” he opens up the world of the album with the single “Rosie.” High register vocals resound over neon keys and a head-nodding bass line as the track climaxes on an instantly chantable chorus. “It concerns the mere act of courtship with the women I dated after my accident and, later, my wife,” he says. “My wife ended up courting me. So, I’m relaying the story to my younger self by adopting my wife’s perspective.”
On its heels, “It’s Only You” pairs soft vocals with warm synths and another shimmering refrain uplifted by his silky intonation, “So what do you want to do? I want to be with you.” “At the moment, I was getting ready for our wedding—which is a pretty big deal,” he says. “I ended up marrying my best friend from college, and I didn’t see it coming. ‘It’s Only You’ is a message to my younger self that feelings actually change over time, and it’s very possible to meet somebody on the same page later. I definitely wrote it for my wife.”
Then, there’s “Hate Me.” The glassy guitar riff slinks around a sparse beat as the soundscape perfectly complements his shuddering falsetto. “It starts with an ambient guitar drone on shitty pedals—similar to how I would write as a kid,” he goes on. “I’m opening the conversation with my younger self by making the best version of a 2010 song for me. There’s a negging game in the music industry where people who want to work with you will break you down so you bend into what they want. It’s horrible and validates your insecurities. I’m basically asking, ‘Do you hate me? Be real with me and tell me you don’t want to work with me’.”
He tempers the aggressively upbeat “CYA” with a dreamy guitar melody, making the core theme a little easier to swallow since the song “says goodbye to my biological dad and affirms why I don’t talk to him.” The lush “Maybe Next Week” hinges on breezy acoustic strumming and a hummable hook. “On ‘Maybe Next Week’, I wish people would get their heads out of their asses and be more empathetic,” he notes. “It explores feeling rejected and holding onto this pain. It was so difficult to connect after the accident. I want people to choose me, and it’s like, ‘Well, maybe next week someone will.”
In the end, Harmless has survived, and he’ll be there for you too.
“To me, the biggest thing that comes out of this music is pain, but I don’t want to be that anymore,” he leaves off. “Harmless is contradiction and confusion, but we all go through those things. Maybe somebody else can listen to this and feel better, and in turn, it might make me feel better too.”
Publicity Contact: Sarah Haberfeld