Harry Hess | interview

Hess and Harem: Harem Scarem's frontman Harry Hess talks solo, the early years and what's comingfor Harem 2003.

The Solo Album

Hi Harry...Why right now for your solo debut?
It came down to having a bunch of songs that didn't fit the H.S direction, so it was really born out of that.

How long did the album take to write and then record?
I did it off and on for about a year but doing a lot of other tings in between.

Does the end result match your expectations?
Pretty much, there's always things you'd change listing back, but I can't complain.

You write great pop songs, have you ever or will you ever, offer your catalogue of songs for license to pop artists looking for material?
Funny you ask! I'm in the process of sending out material right now to some publishers and such. I'm very busy doing other bands and mixing that I never take advantage of having some of those songs.

The solo style sees your love of good pop/rock and a little of the modern poprock sound that Rubber was, will future solo albums be the soul outlet for this style, or can you see another outlet for this style?
I'm already getting a little tired of it, I think there will always be elements of it but maybe not so blatant next time.

Where does the subject matter of your song come from? They always seem so personal!
There is no rule, I just try to tell a story, or it's observation of things in my life and around me.

One issue that has been raised with this album and the last Harem album -running time. Is 35 minutes too short? Or ideally, what makes a good album length?
When you start to repeat yourself within a single recording! What's the point of a song "13" if it's justa crappier version of something else on the record? (I tend to hope for quality not quantity). Too many records these days have one good song on them and the rest is shit, but there are 14 pieces of shit on it, what a deal!!!!!!!!!

Sentimental BLVD sounds like the original 1990 track - is that right? Did youhave this versionin the archives and what came about for Darren to end up singing lead?
I found the two inch tapes looking for material for the Early Years release and It was just a lot of fun to hear it again. On the Hess release you here a combo of the original demo and new tracks. The original background vocals were there as is, with Darren and me already mixed together. (Very familiar if you know the Mood Swings version).
When we made Mood Swings I thought it would be cool to feature the fact that there were other people in the band that can sing, maybe like Queen.

The Early Years CD

Ok Harry, for those that don't know what happened - how'd the Early Years CD come into existence?
Well! I was made aware (from you) that someone was selling copies of our early demo on the internet for like $995.00 U.S for one copy. So the logical next step was to make it available to the fans at a reasonable rate.
So you can all thank Andrew or blame him, all depends on how you look at it.

Do you actually own copies of the original demo? You could place a copy a month on eBay and live off that for a while!!
Ya, I have two copies somewhere around, I wish I would have thought of it first.

Where did the 15 tracks come from - what source and years?
Eleven are the original demos we did to get our record deal and the rest are all demos for the first and 2nd records. I'm not sure what year exactly, but 89-93 I would guess.

But there are still others aren't there?
Maybe!!!!!!! ya there are still some other ones, probably another 10 or 15. (the not so early years).

Like why wasn't the monster ballad Don't Even Know I'm Alive featured on this CD?
I believe it's on the European version. (I borrowed my own lyric ten years later for my solo record). he he he!!!!!

Does that mean there will be a Volume 2, the middle years or something?!!
Sure! Why not.

How do you enjoy hearing the tracks now, these X amount of years later?
I cringe. It became evident how much we improved in a relatively short time from making those demos to our first record. Thank God.

The New Harem Scarem album

What point are you up to with the new Harem album?
We are done the writing, just in the process of recording right now and we will be finished sometime in June.

A couple of interesting quotes already from you - "More like WOTW and the debut" and also "If you likethe older albums you'll love it, we finally figured out how to do that style just right"
These quotes are true.

VERY interesting stuff, so Harry, what does that mean? LOL! What style is the new album and what can we expect compared with previous albums?
It's even more song driven than the last one and it's backed up with a "Hard Rock" production. It reminds me of songs from the first record with elements of Mood Swings with a W.O.T.W production. If that makes any sense.

When are you looking at completing the album and has a rough release month been set as yet?
I think it's August or September for sure.

And long term - what after that? Another Harry solo record or some other surprises?
I don't have any plans after finishing this record. I think I will just produce someone else and give the writing a bit of a break.

Do you still keep in contact with Darren much and what about Mike?
With Darren every now and then but with Mike being in L.A I don't get a chance to talk to him much. (Looking for a reunion?)

How about Jon Fiore? I've been trying to reach him for so long... used to bein contact. You guys made 2 cool albums together, I'd love to hear more...
I have lost touch with him as well. I definitely enjoyed making those two records with Jon.

Anything you would like to add Harry?
May the "Rock" be with you and whoever actually takes the time to listen to what I have to say for this long should win a prize or something, don't ya think?

Thanks for taking the time out to answer this lot!

Interview by Andrew McNeice
Originally posted at melodicrock.com