Former Indie Crush of the Week, Harp Samuels is appearing on our web pages again to give us an exclusive preview of his forthcoming album, ‘Breathe’. Having recently released the title track of the record, the Melbourne native has already given us a taste of what’s in store. The single is a distillation of his hallmark sound, in which he takes the soft croons of James Vincent McMorrow, the cinematic atmospherics of Sufjan Stevens, and the gut-wrenching storytelling of Bon Iver, to create a devastatingly tender ode to his late father. Here, we dig deeper into his upcoming sophomore full-length…
Tell us more about the story behind the album ‘Breathe’.
It’s a big one. I lost my Dad last year right when I was in the middle of promoting my debut album ‘Wanting.’ I decided to go home to Melbourne, and I was feeling a lot of tension/ grief and all kinds of stuff. I wanted to put those feelings somewhere so I turned to music and art, initially purely to process what I was going through.
How has your grieving manifested in the album?
The song ‘Closure in C’ (an homage to Canon in D) was played on my Dad’s piano, and the reason is that my family is going to sell it, so I wanted to write/ perform a piece on it as an act of closure.
Your side hustle is photography, have you incorporated that anywhere into the album?
Yes absolutely. I designed the single covers myself (yet to pick the main one), which feature my own multiple exposure photography – a style that I love.
I’ve been working on a short ﬁlm that works side by side with this musical project, and initially I was recording so I’d have music to use in the ﬁlm, but I got carried away and ended up making a record, which became a bigger deal than the ﬁlm that started the whole thing. It’s about tension, closure, new chapters, and our relationship to the eternal.
We’ve heard there’s a couple of Easter Eggs within the record, what can we expect?
It’s in alphabetical order. The track number (9) represents in completion. I self produced the project, which took hours and hours. The songs and project have been carefully named, and are designed to ﬂow as one 30 minute themed musical project.
Your last album ‘Wanting’ was rooted in folk. Why did you chose to put the guitar down for this album?
I wanted a more ambient, soundscape and distorted sound to express the meaning of what was happening. I had the album mixed at Sing Sing studios in Melbourne, in the SSL room, and with a lot of analogue. I personally played and chose each sound that features on the record, the vocoder plays a big role, as does synthesiser. I used distorted tones and sounds to express the tension involved with grief and change. I used ‘celestial’ type sounds a lot too, to symbolise the eternal/ afterlife, and there are two musical themes which repeat themselves in different ways over 4 of the tracks.
Listen to ‘Breathe’ now.
Harp Samuels ‘Breathe’ will be released later this year.
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