Harry J Hart Holding On For My Life Interview


Harry J Hart Holding On For My Life Interview

Starting 2021 with a slot at Jungle Love Festival and Canada Music Week, Gold Coast teenager Harry J Hart has drawn attention from around the globe for his unique songwriting, vocal and guitar skills. This year has seen him drop a number of pop rock singles in the lead up to his debut EP Holding On For My Life, out now.

But the fruitfulness of 2021 doesn't stop there for Harry, who at just 19 years old was a Gold Coast Music Awards 'Musician of the Year' finalist - an award previously granted to Wolfmother's Ian Peres. By releasing singles "Make It Easy" and "Who We Are," Harry secured his reputation in the local music scene.

Earlier achievements by the talented virtuoso include training in LA under Tom Morello, Nuno Bettencourt, and Billy Howerdell, becoming a state finalist for the Listen Up Songwriting Prize, reaching #1 on the Triple J Unearthed charts, being a Queensland Music Awards finalist, becoming a Fenech Guitars endorsed artist, and being named Bluesfest Busking Competition's Best Guitarist.

The artist attended Berklee College of Music Summer Guitar Course in Boston, USA twice (to study Classic Rock and Blues) and has supported gigs for Rick Price, Casey Barnes, Adam Brand, and Daniel Champagne.

Harry's tunes offer a juxtaposition between foot-tapping music and reflective lyrics. His guitar forefront and thick bass lines deliver an upbeat vibe to get up and dance your 'sad' away! The EP was recorded at Head Atlas Studio in Moorooka with Joel Myles. All tunes were mixed by Myles and mastered by Paul Blakey of 12th and Vine Post.

Holding On For My Life is a collection of songs that track the demise of a relationship. When listened to sequentially it opens with the post honeymoon phase in "Who We Are," where the realisation of each other's differences begins to dawn. Communication begins to drop, and feelings of mistrust arise in "No Goodbye," then "Come Back Down" sees frustrations hit a breaking point when you know, to not lose yourself, you need to stand your ground.

"Stay" is about that point in a relationship where you are aware of the issues but are rationalising whether to fight for it or whether walking away is the right thing to do, and by "Make It Easy" the other person has made that decision an easy one for you, even if it does still hurt. The bonus track on this EP was the addition of my first single "It Calls Out," as I feel it ties this story together with a sense of the old relationship still lingering behind you but not having let go yet.

Interview with Harry J Hart

Question: How would you describe your music?

Harry J Hart: I'd describe what I do as energetic pop-rock. I draw influence in my writing from lots of places and genres such as some bluesier stuff like the John Mayer Trio to the theatrical rock of Silverchair's Diorama and everything in between. I like the idea of matching clean vocals with guitars up front.


Question: Can you tell us about your EP Holding On For My Life?

Harry J Hart: Holding On For My Life is a collection of songs that track the demise of a relationship. When listened to sequentially it opens with the post honeymoon phase in "Who We Are," where the realisation of each other's differences begins to dawn. Communication begins to drop, and feelings of mistrust arise in "No Goodbye," then "Come Back Down" sees frustrations hit a breaking point when you know, to not lose yourself, you need to stand your ground.

"Stay" is about that point in a relationship where you are aware of the issues but are rationalising whether to fight for it or whether walking away is the right thing to do, and by "Make It Easy" the other person has made that decision an easy one for you, even if it does still hurt. The bonus track on this EP was the addition of my first single "It Calls Out," as I feel it ties this story together with a sense of the old relationship still lingering behind you but not having let go yet.


Question: Is there a particular message you hope listeners take from your music?

Harry J Hart: I just hope they enjoy it. If they find something in the music or lyrics that helps them feel something, then I've done my job well.


Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?

Harry J Hart: I think they're two totally different things. When recording I feel like I'm able to be more creative in the studio, but there's an energy that you can only get playing live.


Question: What should we expect from your upcoming show?

Harry J Hart: It's a rollercoaster of bops as we travel through the EP which looks at the relationship breakdown as High energy with sick riffs!

When putting together a show I think carefully about the lineup. The show is curated to take people on a musical journey - building over the three artists. I really want people to come early to get the full experience of the three performances. By having compatible artists on a lineup you're in with a good chance of finding a new fave to listen to and see live again.


Question: What motivates you most when writing music?

Harry J Hart: I get motivated by different guitar sounds and textures. From there I just write what comes out based on the guitar tones I'm getting.


Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?

Harry J Hart: What I listen to and what I play don't always match up. At the moment I'm listening to Joey Landreth, Thrice and a bit of Gojira.


Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?

Harry J Hart: My primary school music teacher, Mrs Lyndal Solomon, is an amazing vocal coach and her choirs have been winning everything for so many years. Beyond things like winning the eisteddfod, she provided us with opportunities to perform in front of huge audiences and alongside prominent, fulltime, working musicians. These experiences made me realise music could actually be a job.

From there I started busking, then picking up café gigs and on it went. I was basically doing this at almost a fulltime rate when I was 14 and still at school.


Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?

Harry J Hart: It would absolutely be Daniel Johns. I really feel like I resonate with his creativity. I love his style of writing and the way he moves things around within a song.


Question: Did you have any pre-conceived ideas about the music industry?

Harry J Hart: From the moment I considered doing music even as a part time job at school, I have been attending all the industry courses and information sessions I could. I also attended Music Industry College for my senior high school years. In a lot of ways, I feel this prepared me to understand it's a long game and it's about building a solid music network or community around you.


Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?

Harry J Hart: I get to play guitar all day and say it's my job! I also love that I've found all these like minded people in other musicians. For us coming through the ranks of Australian music scene, we are so well supported by those who have come before us - shout out to Rick Price, Kerry Jacobson, Jon Carson, Kevin Borrich, Tim Gaze and Bob Spencer to name but a few.


Question: What's a typical day like?

Harry J Hart: I work late into the evening so I don't get up till late in the morning generally. Some days are me having lessons in guitar, piano, voice, etc or teaching guitar, bass or uke; I aim to practice my instruments - guitar, piano, bass and drums - at least 6 hour a day if I don't have other commitments; I have days in the studio songwriting and recording with Joel Myles (Head Atlas Studios); I also play for a number of other artists, so that involves practicing their material and attending their rehearsals. I meet regularly throughout the week with my manager and we cover off things like invoicing, bookings, socials, PR, future planning and all that stuff.


Question: What's next, for you?

Harry J Hart: There had been plans to tour but here in Australia - like everywhere - the regulations keep changing making it hard for venues, bands and music lovers to plan too much when it comes to live performances.

Here in Queensland, we are fortunate that we have had our venues open - even if under restricted numbers and conditions - for a while now. My release show for the "HOLDING ON FOR MY LIFE" EP was to a full house of 100 people at The Basement at HOTA - the Gold Coast Home of the Arts, where I was supported by Raw Deep and Georgia Hoareau.

I have another show for the EP happening at O'Skulligan's in the Valley on Friday November 12th. That show also has performances from Lucid Safari and Juniper Stone. Tickets are on sale and I am so keen for that gig.


Question: Can you share your socials? (links please)

Harry J Hart: Facebook 
Instagram 
YouTube 
Twitter 
Spotify 


Interview by Gwen van Montfort


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