Through Collaboration, Pittsburgh's La Harrier Finds 'Creative Playground'

Apr 25, 2013

Ryan Neitznick (left) and John Fischer (right) at their Lawrenceville studio, known as La Harrier.
Credit Bob Studebaker / 90.5 WESA

Ryan Neitznick and John Fischer comprise the production team known as La Harrier.

Their studio in Lawrenceville is also known as La Harrier, and it’s part of  a growing aspect of Pittsburgh’s arts community — nontraditional, independent music producers.

They each grew up and began their musical careers in Pittsburgh but actually met and formed their partnership about six years ago in Philadelphia.

As a teenager in Forest Hills, Fischer’s love of music and comfort with technology provided him with a hobby. He experimented by sampling other people’s music and using it to create the beats which form the musical underpinnings of the hip hop he loves.

Eventually he began looking to create his own original sounds rather than sampling the work of others.

Neitznick grew up a few miles away, in Greenfield, studying jazz guitar and attending Pittsburgh’s creative and performing arts high school. After graduation he attended The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he earned a degree in guitar performance and also studied classical piano.

The two Pittsburghers met through mutual friends when John visited Philadelphia to learn about that city’s hip hop culture.

With two distinctly different musical backgrounds, but common musical interests, they formed the partnership now known as La Harrier and create, in a decidedly nontraditional way, music embraced by and used by hip hop and R&B artists. They also enjoy being a part of an expanding musical infrastructure that includes filmmakers, photographers, business managers and even fashion designers.

The Pittsburgh hip hop scene has gained recognition across the country and fans around the world as an important creative incubator for artists and composer/producers.

Their studio provides a relaxed atmosphere where artists find the opportunity to experiment with their craft.

“It’s basically a creative playground” Fischer said.