Harry Hess | interview

This interview has been posted on the hmbreakdown.de website, originally written in German language. Many thanks to Gisela (from hmbreakdown.de) who exclusively translated this for us! So, here it is...

Most of you certainly know Harry Hess, lead singer of the Canadian hardrock band HAREM SCAREM. Nowhe has made his first solo album. Although this album does not at all sound like HAREM SCAREM, his rocky songs are more than worth being listened to. Just read why he made this album. But there are a few things more which I could learn about Harry.

"Just Another Day" is Harry's first solo album. Had you wished for a long timetomakesuchanalbum?
- In a way, yes, but it was for another reason that I made it. In the past years, I collected many songs which wouldn't have fit on a HAREM SCAREM album. This was probably so because we had decided to continue to make more hardrock music. So I finally had the idea to use these songs for my solo album because they were too good to be stuck in the drawer.

We would have missed a lot because the songs are really first class. But I wouldn't have expected anything else from Harry Hess. When did you write all these songs?
- Actually, I wrote them in the past 18 months. Some of them I wrote during the song writing session of the last HAREM SCAREM album. This is when I had the idea to make this album. The other songs I wrote only July last year.

As I already said, the sound of your solo album is very different from the HAREM SCAREM songs.They are all rock style songs but sometimes they go in the direction of pop. Are you also a pop fan and which artists do you like most in this area?
- I like a lot of main stream songs. Most of all, I prefer U2 or artists of the pop rock music. I am also a great fan of southern rock, like the EAGLES, or similar. Of course, I was mainly influenced by hard rock but in the past years I have begun liking also other music directions. My taste in music has grown and I am much more open for other kinds of music than I used to be in the beginning. This solo album is exactly what I find good for myself.

The most important thing is that songs are good, and then it doesn't matter from which direction they come.
- Well, some people told me already that the songs of "Just Another Day" are too soft. It is very difficult to satisfy them all. Some prefer loud guitars and others prefer emotional songs. HAREM SCAREM fans are very different. You cannot please everybody anyway. If I had made a bad hard rock album, nobody would have been pleased. The most important thing is how good the song writing is and I can say that I am more than pleased with the songs.

You have also produced all songs yourself. Was it easier for you to do this part as well since you alone know how the songs should sound in the end?
- I produce many other bands and I like this job very much. I could have worked with other producers and sometimes it is quite helpful to listen to other people's opinion. But then I have decided to make thissolo album really my own way, starting from the song writing to the recordings up to the production. The final result is exactly what I like.

On your album is "Sentimental Blvd", a previous HAREM SCAREM song but very different from the old version. Why did you take this song on your album?
- I found some demos of old material. Among them was also an old version of "Sentimental Blvd" which was onthe "Mood Swings" album. We have recorded this song about 10 years ago and at that time I did not sing this song but I wrote it. So I took this song and tried to record it in a 2003 fashion. It was quite funny to rummage in old demos and then to compose a song out of these old demos for my new solo album. It is not so much a rock song now but more a pop song with melodic rock elements.

I like this version of the song and even though it is about 10 years old now,it still has the necessary freshness. Another fact of the album is that some musician friends have supported you quite a lot. For example Eric Martin (ex-Mr. Big) and previous musicians from HAREM SCAREM. And also other well-known musicians. But they were not involved in writing the songs?
- No, the songs were all finished already. I found it great that Eric Martin offered to take on some backing vocals. I have known him for quite some time now from various tours. Also the others are good friends of mine. So it was not so hard to convince them to play a part in this album. They liked doing it and we had great fun working together.

But I think you won't tour with this album?
- No, because I had just wished for the songs which had actually just been lying in the drawer not to fall in oblivion.
The next thing we'll do is the new HAREM SCAREM album. We are planning to record the songs in summer. It is intended to publish the album this year. So we have a lot to do since time until then will pass quickly.

Let me wish you all the best for the upcoming recordings for the new HAREM SCAREM album and I very much look forward to listening to the new songs. Let's get in touch again then. The ones of you who cannot wait until then can have a look on the band's homepage and see how far work on the new album has progressed. You can find them under www.haremscarem.net

Interview by Gisela
Originally posted at hmbreakdown.de