Harts won’t fly under the radar

Carol Bowditch interviewed Harts, ahead of his tour and meticulously crafted new EP, Offtime

You record all instruments in your music by yourself. Why do you choose to do this?
It’s definitely a longer process. Setting up all the gear and moving back and forth between it all during the recording stage is a pain in the ass. But I think it works out better for me to just do it all myself. I’m very precise on what I want out of the performance of the instrumental parts.  I guess each individual musician has their own artistic way of interpreting and playing something. I haven’t yet met anyone who can outplay me in my own style.

Was creating your debut EP a difficult process? How long have you been working towards achieving a finished product?
It’s funny, I think about this often. The EP took me about two weeks to make, but took about two years to be released. That’s the nature of the industry. Building enough buzz for people to care about it has been the long hard road. I didn’t want this record to fly under the radar. I’m proud of it, I love it and I believe others will love it too. I want it to get the full attention it deserves.

The track “Back to the Shore” was mixed by Lars Stalfors, how did you get in contact with him for this collaboration. Would you site the Mars Volta as a musical influence of yours?
Lars mixed the whole EP after hearing some of my initial demos of the songs back in 2011. I’m not really sure how he found me to be honest. I would describe The Mars Volta more of a musical inspiration rather than an influence on my own music, but yeah I love them.

Just hours after your songs are posted on social media/music websites, they receive thousands of plays. Are you excited about this? Are you ok with people accessing your music free of charge?
Man! It’s the best. I posted The Music like last week its already got about 10,000 plays. It’s exciting stuff. Yeah, I think streaming is great and I do it all the time. I don’t think it should take away from people actually buying the music though. Most people know by now that streaming MP3 quality sounds so bad compared to the actual CD quality, so I’d think people would want to buy songs to listen to them properly. Yeah?

hartsguitarYour paisley patterned Fender is really quite beautiful. Is there a story behind it? Do you think that a musician or bands on-stage “look” is important?
Yeah it’s the best guitar I own. I fell into the trap of caring for it too much though, so I’m scared to play it at gigs. I used to play it out, but my guitars get so damaged all the time, from knocks in flight cases, hitting them on things on small stages, and generally just beating the shit out of them onstage. So I felt I didn’t want to gig this one. But thank you! I’ll probably start playing with it again now that I think about it. Its only a guitar.

I caught a gig that you played and I was curious that you had a washcloth attached to your mic. I later found out that it was to stop you from being electrocuted?! Have you had many on stage dramas before or have your performances been pretty smooth sailing?
Ha! yeah, that was a huge put off at that show. I build/modified a bunch of my guitars that I use on stage. And because i’m such a noob at it, often the “earthing” of them and the electronics are pretty much wrong. So on some stages when I touch something metal while holding the strings (my lips on the mic), I get a tiny electric shock. It hasn’t been harmful yet, just really annoying. But its about time I get a person who knows what they’re doing to do it do my guitars.  Other than that it’s been pretty smooth sailing actually.

Harts is quite the live performer and you may even be able to catch a glimpse of that paisley git-box if you head along to one of his Australian dates:


carol bowditch
Interview by Carol Bowditch