What is your name?
What is your genre of music?
Alt-folk? Indie-folk? Folk-rock?
Give us a little bio about you.
I’m born in Wales and currently live in Edinburgh, where I make music and write. I’ve been performing since I was a teenager, and made my first album aged 17. This new EP feels like a re-introduction, both for myself and for other people, it brings together a lot of different influences whilst having strong songwriting at its core.
What made you go in to music?
Foolishness? I always grew up around music and idolized great songwriters, and have always wanted to be able to put myself on the stages that inspired me growing up. Also, I love telling stories, and songs are my favourite way to do that.
Are you a signed?
After a lovely few years on Wild Sound Recordings, I’m now proudly independent.
You have a BRAND new EP ‘ The Andre The Giant’, tell us more about it.
It’s a 4-track project with Chemikal Recipe, a couple of producers I’ve known for a long time who come from a different musical background to me, but whose music taste and knowledge I have huge respect and love for. I wanted to put something out that reflected the music I listen to, an what I want to create live—something that is lush and cinematic, but also quite intimate, with good stories.
Describe each track in two words.
Andre – wrestling, sad
Carla – boxing, sad
Sensorama – virtual reality
When We Won The Indy 500 – break in
What was the writing process like?
Well, I wrote Andre ages ago, maybe when I was 18 or 19, but I remember it came quickly after seeing a documentary about Andre The Giant—it’s basically a retelling of stuff he’d said in that. The other three are more recent, Carla was something I’d played around with for a while, that I had to pull apart and put back together again. Sensorama and Indy 500 I think came side-by-side, almost, the former inspired by an article on Morton Heilig, and the latter a Kurt Vonnegut lecture. If the story is there and I can find a way in, the lyrics move quite quickly, what was nice about this process was working with Chemikal Recipe on the overall sound.
What was the recording process like?
Very chill. I did the first lot of demos and mixes at my flat using an Audient ID4, a condenser microphone, Garageband and the Converse Rubber Tracks Sample Library. I then showed what I’d done to Alex & Freddie and talked them through what I had in mind—some of what they did was just polishing up what was there, other times they made things bigger and better, but it was all very collaborative. I was also really lucky to nab Stella Hervey-Birrell and Natasha Hodgson, an actual rock star, for backing vocals.
Who did you show first?
Probably my friend Caroline who I write with for another band called Greyhounds Greyhounds Greyhounds.
Do you have any gigs or tours coming up?
Nothing booked yet, but keep an eye on my twitter and facebook, anything will be announced there.
Tell us more about the Illustrated Chapbooks and how they came about.
I didn’t want to make a CD, because they’re expensive and hard to sell and this was a small release, so I decided I wanted to make a lyric book. I approached my friend Gavin Day, a brilliant artist and graphic designer, with the idea, and he massively ran with it. We’ve ended up with something really beautiful, very limited edition, that really explores the songs more and gives them another life—they’re almost like mini graphic novels.
Do you play any instruments?
Guitar and mandolin, teaching myself piano.
Who are your influences?
On this EP, people like Jenny Lewis, Carly Rae Jepsen, Mountain Goats, Don Henley, Bruce Hornsby, The 1975—lush, melodic, vulnerable, quite ostentatious and risky at times. In general, Craig Finn of The Hold Steady is a real hero, as is Karine Polwart, and Counting Crows are forever my favourite band.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
Sometimes it’ll be a story I’ve heard, sometimes it’ll be an idea for a line, or a hook. It depends.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Still in Scotland, still making music.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
Writing, or cooking.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
Karine Polwart’s whole Traces album was a real kick up the arse at a time when I was feeling a bit fed up by everything.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
There used to be a phrase painted on the Amersham Arms in New Cross that said: “Be quiet during the quiet bits and loud during the loud bits”, so probably that.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Keep an open mind about everything, don’t cloister yourself in one genre, listen to as much as you possibly can, from everywhere. It all helps.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Enjoy Every Sandwich – Warren Zevon
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
There is very little to do in my hometown, however the view from Garth Hill out across mid-Wales is very lovely.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Capo! Tuner! Plectrum! Water! Another Plectrum!
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
Yes! I am @CmonHarris on just about everything.