INTERVIEW: The Harriets To Unleash New Single ‘TRIP TO THE MOON’

Leeds is a city that has always had a buzzing music scene, producing the likes of Alt-J, The Cribs and Nightmares On Wax among many others. Rising up and comers The Harriets are an alternative pop and rock four-piece with the potential to reach the heights of the before mentioned artists, marrying a polished songwriting process with unmistakable three-part vocal harmonies to create a wholly unique and exhilarating sonic footprint. After releasing the joyously catchy ‘Cafe Disco’ back in May, the band are ready to release the second single from their debut album, Hopefuls, coming out tomorrow!

To me, their song Television sounds like a lost classic recording from CBGB’s era New York, which in my book is high praise indeed.

Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music.

Drawing comparisons to the likes of Big Star and The Lemon Twigs, the group are embarking on what is a sizeably impressive release campaign, already selling out their first ever London show, receiving airplay from BBC 6 Music and being Shortlisted for the Glastonbury Emerging Talent in the process. Comprised of Daniel Parker-Smith (guitar, vocals), Ben Schrodel (bass, vocals), Jess Womack (keys, vocals) and Ryan Bailey (drums), The Harriets are a band with an exciting edge, and having just finished recording their first full-length album (to be released on the 24th of July), we caught up with them to talk about their upcoming record and their journey into the industry.

Hi guys, thankyou so much for talking to us. So I’m excited to announce that you’re about to release your first full-length album, tell us a bit about the recording process and how you guys operate in studio.

No trouble at all, and we’re excited too – thanks for giving us the opportunity to talk!

The recording process takes place in Dan’s spare room most of the time – we’ve worked in professional studios before but we like doing it ourselves as it gives us no time restrictions and more scope to experiment. So that’s how we’ve done the album. We’ve met once weekly, sometimes twice weekly, to record and mix everything, and it’s taken about a year, so I think it’s fair to say we’ve taken a perfectionist attitude. It’s been a long, tough process but the end result more than makes up for it.

For those who are unfamiliar with your music and the band in general, what does your band name mean and how did you meet?

What it means, I honestly don’t know – it was just something we hit on. There’s a song we used to do called ‘Harriet Who?’ – have a listen, it’s on Spotify – so there’s some ironic link there because there’s not a Harriet in the band. But honestly, it’s not that deep – it’s just the name we ended up with. As for where we met, Dan and I started collaborating on our other songs after meeting at a party five or so years ago. I knew Ryan and Jess from elsewhere so they joined a bit later on.

I’ve already had the pleasure of hearing the album, which I must say is a joyous listen from start to finish. If collectively you all had to settle on the best record ever, what would it be and why?

It’s hard for us to agree on something collectively because we all like very different stuff I think (which actually is of musical benefit to the band because our influences overlap in interesting ways). This is also a famously hard question for one person, let alone four. Seeing as it’s me giving this interview and I’m very evangelical about what I like, I’m sure the others won’t begrudge me pushing an aggressive pro-Steely Dan/Sufjan Stevens agenda. If you asked someone else you might be hearing about the Smiths, Tom Petty or Tame Impala.

The record carries an unrelenting charm throughout which really adds a sense of enjoyable volatility, do you have a particular favourite or does each song fit together to represent a wider body of music?

Enjoyable volatility! I’m making a note of that.

I think we like them all. We tried to make a record where every song brought something a bit different to the table, but some common themes emerged, mainly in the lyrics. It’s only retrospectively that you realise you’ve been bouncing off each other more than you thought in the writing, and bits of different songs reflect or answer each other. Now that I look at it there’s definitely an overall theme of memory and escapism, but we weren’t deliberately aiming for that at the time.

You released a self-titled EP back in 2016, how has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?

Well the lineup has changed for a start – we didn’t have Jess and Ryan then and they bring a depth that we were miles away from on that first EP. Ryan is an amazing, unique, versatile drummer, and Jess is classically trained so has a mentality about how to play and voice things that the rest of us don’t have. We’ve become tighter too – we got a Saturday night residency at a bar playing two-hour covers gigs, which have made us a much more focused and powerful unit live.

You’ve had multiple plays on Radio 6 and a at the BBC Introducing Showcase, do you have any extensive plans for after the release of the album?

We’d like to carry on pushing the album as far as it can take us, hopefully to more BBC airplay, and ideally spark the interest of some labels! Other than that, just keep doing what we do – there are plenty of songs sitting in the chute which we’ve not had a chance to release yet, so we’ll maybe look at giving some of those the recording treatment.


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