BEYOND OTR : Koal Harrison And Jack Harrison




      Meet Koal Harrison and Jack Harrison! A dynamic duo at the intersection of art, music, and technology. These talented siblings bring a wealth of creativity and innovation to both their respective fields. Koal is a multifaceted musician and producer known for his eclectic blend of genres and styles. Jack is an artist, animator, virtual reality designer, and graphic designer known for his unparalleled work in digital artistry. 


     We got the chance to spend the day with the two brothers who welcomed us into their studios. We chatted about their creative processes, what it’s like working with family, and of course, their sense of style. Keep reading to learn more about Koal and Jack! 



     As a Toronto-based musician, how do you think the city has influenced your creativity and the creation of The Kount?

     I think one of the biggest things that influenced me was the rise of the “drake type beats”. Don’t get me wrong I love simple dark trap beats but the more popular they became the more I found myself moving in the opposite direction. Another part of Toronto that influenced me is the amazing producer and musician community here. I’ve always had tons of collaborators at the studio and that keeps me inspired. It can be hard to create in a vacuum so I’m glad I don’t have that problem here in the city. 

 Outfit: Wax London Whiting Over Shirt Armor Lux Classic Tee and Slim Taper Edwin Jeans



     Your music has garnered attention from prominent figures like Otis Jackson Jr. (Madlib), who purchased a custom drum sample from you and tweeted at you with fire emojis. How does it feel to receive recognition from such influential names in the industry?
     It’s an amazing feeling! I find it puts some gas in my tank when something like that happens. I’ve been a huge fan of madlib for over a decade and he’s one of the main reasons I started making beats so that really meant a lot to me. Must be doing something right haha.

Outfit: Rag & Bone Prospect Peached Cotton Blazer, Armor Lux Classic Tee and  Alpha Industries Fatigue Pant


      Your music has been described as “bright and sparkly synth-funk”. How would you describe your personal style when it comes to fashion and would you use any of those same descriptors?

     That funky era was an amazing time! My style is constantly evolving and I feel that lately it’s taken more of an organic tone compared to some of my more synth based stuff! I still use lots of synths in my music but now I push to make them sound like acoustic instruments with processing and spring reverbs. I feel as though my style has changed in that way as well and has become more comfortable and subdued. I love earth tones. 



 Oufit: Naked & Famous Aloha Shirt and Ace Rivington Athletic Taper Jean






Outfit: Wax London Whiting Shirt, Frame Duo Fold Shirt and Naked & Famous True Guy Jean



     Your craft as an artist/animator/virtual reality designer/graphic designer relies on a niche set of skills. ​​Was this medium always on your radar as a career option or did you stumble upon it as the perfect fit for your creative talents? 


     I never really considered my analog video equipment to be such a big part of my work, but technological advancements always really intrigued me. I found myself working exclusively on Virtual Reality games in university, as the field was so open and unknown. It felt like I was exploring a new world of computing, like a nerd buying his first computer in the 1980s. Infinite possibilities and very optimistic energy. I carried this optimism until I designed and sold my first game to a Montreal startup in 2019. I loved designing games, but the industry is VERY demanding, requiring newcomers to be jack-of-all-trades; coding, designing, 3d modelling, animating. It burned me out and I learned that I don't love all of those things. So with the game all finished, I took the opportunity for a transition, and moved back to Toronto. Around the same time Koal’s music really took off! As I had already been making a lot of his visual assets, I decided I could probably do the same for a lot of other upcoming musicians. I leveraged my relationship with him to build out animations for his fans, customers, and colleagues in the music industry. The analog style that I'm known for, was discovered from following what I loved to do most, make goofy videos with my brother.

    In the 1980s, the accessibility of video technology exploded when certain technologies were developed, like magnetic based tapes such as VHS, and cheaper colour CRT televisions. This birthed a large amount of video content from regular non-film industry folks, like a used car salesman suddenly being able to film and produce a commercial for his small business. This resulted in some super janky and hilarious videos. These are the main inspiration for a lot of our early work, but I had one issue: Our videos always looked fake. I would follow tutorials and always hated the way the stuff looked. "Why is this hard?? Shouldn't it be easy to make something look bad?". That's when I stumbled on a visual sample pack, Ezco's CRT Pack, created by Fred Pelle. It was a collection of short animations you could insert into your own videos, and they looked fantastic. After some research (and a generous amount of behind the scenes videos by their team) I found that the reason it looked so real, was because it was! Fred Pelle had actually filmed a CRT tv with a camera, showing all of the beautiful janky details and imperfections.

    I thought, oh yea I can do that. So I picked up a 40$ CRT off of facebook marketplace, and created the assets for Koal's latest promo we had been working on, Drumboy! It was run of 150 action figures based on the character from his latest drumpack. Since then I couldn't resist putting everything I made on the CRT. It just looks so good right away. It also unified my style in a really easy way, I could make two completely different looking pieces, but if they were both run on the CRT, they looked like MY style! So although I didn't think this analog video gear would be the heart of my work, the optimism I had for the technology of virtual reality is very reminiscent of the optimism carried by 1980s computing and video technology. I call this optimism, Digital Joy.




      You’ve collaborated on various projects with artists such as DATSUNN, The Arkells, Kehlani, BADBADNOTGOOD, Ty Dolla $ign and many more. Can you share the story behind landing your first major project? 


     I suppose not my first, but my favourite story about landing a big client is when Jack Stratton reached out to have me tweak the Vulf Logo. The conversation was so nonchalant that I couldn't even believe it was happening. I'm also notoriously terrible at checking my email, so it almost slid right past my radar! The conversation went something like "Hey Dude, love your stuff. Wanna do some tweaks of the Vulf Logo?" To which I said "Sure my fellow Jack!". I ran the logo on 4 different monitors in my studio, and sent them back. He said "Thanks man! What do I owe ya?" to which I sent him my price and we were done. Those are my favourite types of conversations with collaborators, the ones where it feels like I'm just chatting with a friend. They ended up waiting a few months to use the treated Logos, but when they dropped one on their master class, I was ecstatic. They've since used all 4 different versions I sent them, on various music videos and performances, my personal favourite being "Letting Things Go" by Vulfmon & Evangeline. I hope to work with more relaxed, trusting people like this fellow Jack in the future.


Outfit: Wax London Naples Knit Polo and Rag & Bone Athletic Jean


      Your work has a distinct look and feel to it. Can you share how or if you incorporate elements of your artistic vision into your personal style and fashion?


     My personal style has earned me a nickname from my family: Old Man Dresser. This is probably due to my love for earth tones and pleated high waisted slacks. It's a nickname I wear proudly. The bright vibrant colours generated from my analog video gear seldom follow through to my clothing, which I prefer to keep in the subdued colour realm. I like to let my animations do the talking, and for my fashion to blend into my environment. I'd like someone to see a photo of me in my studio and mistake it for someone with clothes from the 1970s, working in the 1980s. I think the durability of my studio gear also represents an important aspect of my clothing. These CRT monitors and video decks were built to last! Some of my oldest gear is now almost 50 years old, and I like to purchase clothing with a similar lifespan. It can be more expensive, but I believe its an important choice to reduce waste and reinforce the value of materiality and objects.


 Outfit: Rag & Bone Harvey Knit Camp Shirt, Will Saddle Leather Belt and Rag & Bone Twill Pants 




      Given the significant role family plays in Over the Rainbow's history and legacy, we're interested in understanding your collaborative creative process as siblings.


Koal: Jack and I have been making stuff together for so many years. Depending on the project our process changes but it’s always rooted in creating something that is true to our tastes. We work really well together because we’ve always had pretty similar tastes musically and visually. It’s a smooth process! 


Jack: Koal and I have been making stuff together ever since our parents bought us a miniDV handyCam around 2003 (When I was 7 years old). We would run around the house making action movies, complete with fake punching sound effects, and the jankiest computer video effects you've ever seen. We would edit all of these on our family computer, a Dell desktop with a CRT monitor. It was like magic. Koal was very motivated to learn every aspect of the editing software, and my Dad was supportive and smart enough to invest in niche hardware requirements like FireWire expansion cards, and dedicated graphics cards. Not only was this the first taste I got for a lot of the technology I use on a daily basis now, but also a glimpse into the future of my collaborative relationship with my big brother. Fast forward 20 something years and Koal and I are basically doing the same thing, making janky greenscreen promos for his music, and editing them on old CRT monitors.



It's still my favourite thing in the world to make videos with my brother. Which is basically all we did during our entire stay in Montreal, while we were both in University there. I even dropped out of my Physics major, to pursue a degree in Computation Arts, just so I could spend more time making stuff with Koal. When I designed and sold my first video game, Versus, Koal was there to do the music. When Koal's music started to take off online, I was there to do the videos. It's this sort of unrelenting support that helped fill the gaps in either of our projects. Today this trend continues, as I build out animations and video promos for Koal's upcoming album.


Much of our success is also owed to the support of our parents. My Dad, Jim Harrison, was always more than happy to invest in any of our equipment or gear. His business strategy skills have also played a huge role in all of our lives, which shows given that both my parents, older sister Ali, Koal, and I all have our own successful businesses. To my Mom, as she has always pushed us to be best friends during both easy and hard times. I wouldn't be anywhere without my clan and I love them all so much! Over the Rainbow always plays a part in our history, as my Mom, Arlene Vandersloot's first job was at the Yorkville location in 1982! She still speaks very highly of her amazing boss Jole. This interview feels like a nice full circle moment for the Harrison-OTR relationship.




    What fashion item can you not live without?


Koal: Clean white tees! The absolute classic and works with everything. 


Jack: My Kount Hat. It was the first piece of merch I ever made with Koal, just a simple embroidered logo on a dad cap. I think it's one of the only pieces of clothing I'd be devastated to lose. It represents our collaborative relationship and a time in Montreal where we were both barely making ends meet. I'll wear that logo proudly any day!



     Dive into one of your OTR looks for us. Describe the outfit, where you envision wearing it, and the vibe it gives you/how it makes you feel. 


Koal: I really love the look with the green pants and rag and bone jacket! It’s such a comfortable fit for me and it’s the kind of thing I could wear at the studio or at a nice dinner and it feels perfectly balanced between casual and formal. Green pants forever!! 

 Outfit: Rag & Bone Prospect Peached Cotton Blazer, Armor Lux Classic Tee and  Alpha Industries Fatigue Pant



JackI love this green and black shirt, with blue jeans fit. The shirt, by Wax London, feels thick and solid. The jeans, by Naked and Famous, are a very stark classic blue, falling into my retro aesthetic. To emphasize this further I match it with a retro digital watch. The green long sleeve undershirt is a great subtle compliment to the rest of the fit, keeping it in a more subdued earthy realm. I can easily pair it with one of my pairs of comfortable sneakers, and it won't mismatch. This would be the exact thing I would wear to one of Koal's shows, or a friend's art gallery event. It makes me feel like I've finally gotten to a point in my life/career where I can give care and attention to my fashion and appearance. Like the clothing matches the quality of my art. I'm excited for it to join me in my studio, and hopefully survive as long as my analog equipment has! 


 Outfit: Whiting Shirt, Frame Duo Fold Shirt and Naked & Famous True Guy Jean





Photography: Noah Davis

Producer: Brenna Gray

Hair and Makeup: Tenzin Palkyi

Stylist: Axl Dominic Castro