We met Harry in our lovely colourful office, was charmed by him in an interview and then forced him to smile in photos. Modest despite his immense talent, he has an earthy, soulful voice that has something inexplicably distinctive about it. He’s also a genuinely decent guy. And we can guarantee you this because we made him repeat the interview and all he wanted in return was a pint. See? Decent.
Tell us about yourself?
So, I’m an undergraduate studying his final year at Bristol Uni, studying chemistry. Grew up in Sheffield but moved down to Bristol for my degree 3 years ago and yeah, love music.
Tell us about your music?
I started off playing guitar 13 years ago and it just started off from there. I had all the influences of Arctic Monkeys, just kicking around in the school playground. My Dad introduced me actually, he went to HMV and bought their CD - back when buying CDs was actually a thing - and put it on in our car and told us they were from Sheffield.
Next thing you know you’ve got a guitar in hand trying to be Alex Turner?
Literally. It was what every boy my age was doing. Even though we had no clue what we were singing about.
So when you’re not singing or working on music, what are you doing?
So it’s mainly music, but I also like watch films, Netflix, that kind of thing. I’m still watching Peaky Blinders and I’ve started watching Sex Education as well. I’ve been watching a lot of movies too. I watched Baby Driver the other week and I thought it was really good, apart from Kevin Spacey being in it. Been reading a book by David Lynch, who directed Twin Peaks. You know Twin Peaks? He’s wrote a book about meditation and how that’s helped him artistically, which is really cool. I’ve been getting back into climbing as well. So I’ve been indoor bouldering in Bristol too. I got into it in Sheffield because it’s big there.
Arctic Monkeys and bouldering? Summed up the Sheffield scene?
Yep, nailed it.
What’s your favourite song you’ve written?
Short Dungarees, it’s about my relationship with my girlfriend and her dealing with everyday stuff really, mental health stuff, but through my point of view. Lyrically, that’s probably my favourite, I’m not sure about musically, but when I play it to people they can all tell I really mean it.
Any other songs that you really like?
So there’s Short Dungarees and then there’s Dissolved, which is a song I’ve been recording with Dan recently. I wrote it when I first came to university about the transition between home life and university - probably a slightly negative tone in a kind of retrospective way. I think I just had those moments coming back home on the train and thinking ‘Oh, I haven't seen my mum or my dad for a few months’ or getting home and thinking ‘this is so weird’.
I remember last time we spoke you said about how you feel as a guy it’s hard to always have emotional chats that explore things like that.
Yeah, definitely. So many male musicians write about their emotions but it’s the type of thing if you bumped into that guy in the bar, there’s no way he’d tell you what he just wrote in a song. Or maybe even their closest friends. So like stuff I write, I pretty much wouldn’t tell most people I know but in a way I don’t want most people I know to know.
So, how does that work? Why is it okay to sing it but not talk it?
It’s weird. It’s so different cause when I’m going up on stage I’m thinking, shit, I need to properly crack this one. Because I’m nervous I’m not thinking too much about what emotions are coming across, I’m focused on just playing a good gig. It’s a more finished project and by then you’ve played the song so much that the meaning isn’t there so much.
That’s interesting. I guess a song changes when it’s played, like when particular songs get overplayed!
Yeah! It must change it, like Richard Ashcroft was saying people always come up to him and say how many good songs he’s made and he’s so famous and he’s like ‘they’re not my songs anymore, they’re the fans’ songs now’.
It can go wrong though - like with Mr. Brightside?
Mr. Brightside is a weird one because it doesn’t have the same popularity over in the US so The Killers must come over here and be like ‘what, why do you guys like this song so much? Why does everyone know the lyrics?! Why does your gran know the words to this song? Like what’s going on?!’ I bet they think it’s amazing though. I would.
(We laughed a lot at that and then eventually moved onto the next question) So who is the most influential person for your music?
I’d say currently, my girlfriend, she’s the person I talk to most about things.
You romantic, you.
I know right? Singing over a candle lit dinner, with my Spanish Guitar. She’s just like ‘mate what are you doing? We’re having a deliveroo, put the guitar away’. Na yeah, she’s my main inspiration but politics inspires me too - and other musicians. A band I’ve been listening to recently is Idles and the lyrics are so tongue in cheek, like ‘I kissed a guy and I liked it’ but it’s spinning ideals on their head and saying ‘it’s ok for men not to be masculine’ and talking about things like never seeing his father cry which is just so powerful. And behind all that it’s kinda punk.
So what’s the most powerful motivator for your music?
I just love music. I’d sing all the time if I could. It just feels part of my life.
What’s your favourite shower song?
Ahhh, like disco songs, “Hot Stuff”. (Laughing)
Do you feel like coming to Bristol has shaped your music tastes then?
Yeah, I think electronic music is currently such a scene but I wouldn’t say I’m into any hardcore dance music. Before coming to Bristol I was into Massive Attack and then I saw them two years ago at The Downs and it was pouring with rain but I didn’t care – I was watching Massive Attack. Primal Scream as well, really cool. Couldn’t get any better. And Skepta was supporting, cause why not.
Do you find it challenging to get out there as an artist in Bristol?
Yeah, but I find that most of the issues are on my end like not putting in as much push, space or time as I could do. Working in the creative industries doesn’t pay very well so you kinda gotta be doing something else at the same time, so it ends up at the end of the day deciding between playing guitar and sitting here and watching Netflix – it’s so depressing but often it’s so relatable.
What about making contacts? How is that?
You guys have been pretty good contacts! You’ve got to be so proactive to make contact initially, sending emails to promoters, but this has made it a lot easier.
Where do you want your music career to go then? Are you committed to music?
Yeah, I feel pretty committed. After my degree I’ll give it a crack and see what happens. My mum is very supportive as she passed on an opportunity to go to London and become an actress when she was younger. If you’re gonna try and make it you’ve got to be doing something else cause the price of living is mad. I just want to make enough doing what I love. There is enough money in the world for everyone to do that but unfortunately it’s in all the wrong places.
And what was the happiest moment of your career?
It’s weird calling it a career, but I guess I’ve got to commit to it and label it. The gig I played in November was probably a highlight at the White Rabbit. It was so good because a lot of my mates turned up and I just got such a good reaction off the crowd. But then I’ve had equally good highlights in my solo stuff and the stuff I’ve been doing with Dan now has been pretty awesome as well.
Do you ever miss being a frontman for a band though?
We played a lot of covers so I didn’t feel as personal about the songs but also I wasn’t playing guitar so I could get dancing, and you can fuck up and the rest of the band can catch you. Playing in a band, I love the camaraderie.
Ok, moving away from the music, when you’re feeling shit how do you pick yourself up?
Ooh, good question. I ring people, say I’ve been down or whatever. Or play guitar, it takes my mind off it and just is a way of me expressing how I feel without to get to a solution, it’s a de-stress. I watch TV, a bit of Peaky Blinders, and cooking! I do love cooking actually. I do love a korma, people hate on kormas so much but everyone really knows - they’re so good, so creamy. There’s that macho thing, you go to a curry house and order a Vindaloo cause you’re a big man and can handle spice. People need to understand that’s not what curry is about.
And last question! What’s your favourite piece of Art?
Jack Kerouac's ‘On the Road’. One of my plans is to go travelling in the US and that book sold it, it sold the United States. The landscape, the grandness of the whole continent, it’s so cool and just incredible. People shit on America - ‘Americans are so loud, Trump’s loud’ but it’s like, have you seen how cool it is in LA?! Or pictures of the Grand Canyon?! I mean maybe it’s not but at least on Instagram LA looks amazing. But Jack Kerouac was long before Instagram and he was still having a good time.
Enjoy that? You’ll like his music even more. Listen to Harry’s soundcloud HERE.
Harry has already collaborated with a creator and producer, Daniel Brashaw, but he’s up for other collaborations! Just let us know if you’ve got an idea in the making.