With her old band Girlpool, Harmony Tividad made music that channelled the feeling of waking up and realising the world around you is broken. On the duo’s defining 2021 ballad Faultline, Harmony wondered if her life would always be defined by nihilism and depression. “Will I die at this faultline?” she sang, “Between the edge of entropy and woe?”
But releasing Faultline changed the course of her life completely. “It’s crazy, because I’d thought my entire life I’d be writing devastating music,” the 27-year-old says over Zoom from her home in Los Angeles. “The second Faultline came out, I knew my life would start to change in a different direction, because that felt like my statement of who I was for so much of my life. It felt like I knew sharing that song would be the most transmuting thing I could possibly do.”
Girlpool, a duo of Harmony and her bestie Avery Tucker, were beloved for their bold melodies and frank lyrics that wrangled beautiful imagery from missed connections and broken relationships. They formed in 2013 in their late teens and quickly attracted international attention with their punky, stripped-back material the following year. With each release, their sound became more polished and expansive. But by their early twenties, their tastes had diverged dramatically.
Last year, after the release of their glossy-sounding but thematically bleak fourth album Forgiveness, they announced their break up. “We are each other’s biggest fans and always encourage each other to stretch and evolve,” they wrote in a statement. “Whether that means it’s alongside one another or not.”
This August, Harmony will release her first solo record, Dystopia Girl, a pop EP that lets a little bit of light back in. The first single, Good Things Take Time, is an exhilarating dance-pop track that is equal parts Pop 2-era Charli and the Summertime Sadness remix. The song came to Harmony in a dream, a few days after she met her current boyfriend, and it feels typical of Dystopia Girl’s grounding ethos: peace and chaos have to coexist in the world, no matter how torturous it might feel to accept the chaos.
Harmony grew up in LA and hated it, feeling “really ugly, like an outcast, and like I didn’t belong here.” She moved to Philadelphia with Avery Tucker for a while after high school. In Philly, Girlpool immersed themselves in the city’s fertile DIY scene, but the pair moved back to California a few years ago, a journey that Harmony says “really informed the Dystopia Girl narrative” of being able to finally see herself clearly after years spent stuck in depressive, toxic patterns.
“I feel like I was connected to struggle in my life for so long, and I didn’t feel assured or grounded by anyone,” says Harmony. “I grew up around a lot of upheaval. I was really connected with my parents, but it wasn’t like we had a lot of stability. Good Things Take Time is a statement [that] things can get better.”
“After that song, I started to feel a shift in myself, and I had this relationship that was growing and really affirming for me,” she says. “I realised I have all this garbage in me, but everyone has garbage, and just needs to be, like, affirmed in their garbage and loved in their garbage.”
Since moving back to Los Angeles, Harmony has surrounded herself with a community of cool, creative friends: she hosts a podcast, HAGS, with the artist Liz Quezada-Lee. Cool-girl photographer Morgan Maher, who just published the buzzy photo book Girls In Bed, directed the video for Good Things Take Time, while photographer Terrence O’Connor, director of Charli XCX’s New Shapes video, shot the single art. And in the new issue of THE FACE, Harmony and her mum Wendy modelled for a fashion feature shot by her friend Moni Haworth.
“I’ve found so much healing in my childhood by moving back here, and just connecting with creative people who are just open to it,” Harmony says. “There’s so many amazing people here who are so open-minded and you really just have to scout out the vibes for you in LA. I feel like now I have an amazing community who’s so excited about my project and helping me in a way that I could not have even imagined, frankly.”
The song I Am So Lucky and Nothing Can Stop Me is a creative manifesto in song form, a song about crystallising pain into art. “Everything around me can be metabolised into art or into creativity,” she says. “I got hit and run really bad the other day and that was a fucking headache to deal with, and it brought up things for me about safety and stability in my life, and how there’s all this uncertainty that lurks in the corners for everyone.
“But everything can shift you and change you and be a source of growth and empowerment – there’s no reason to feel short-sighted in life because there’s so much to pull from it,” she says, as her voice brightens with optimism. “Sometimes we don’t even recognise how quickly we can become better versions of ourselves.”
Harmony’s single Good Things Take Time is out now; the Dystopia Girl EP is out August 25.