Kid Harpoon has quickly become one of my favorite guitar acts, and not only for his musicianship, but for his honesty which comes out through his lyrics and in his live performances. Recently, I asked him to answer some questions in order to get a deeper insight into his life and creative process. Check it out:
What is your very favorite thing about music?
Its quite hard for me to pick one thing about music that I like. It is infinitely great on a number of levels. On a personal level, as a listener it influences my moods or ideas and has had a profound impact on my way of life. As an artist it acts as a way for me to express myself on a public level, and also to excercise myself spiritually. On a grand level, it has the power to lead the voice of political activists, and to embrace and unite cultures. I can't really say I think about this a lot when I play my guitar and sing though, it's just what I do. Bob Marley summed it up better when he said that "the one good thing about music is when it hits you, you feel no pain."
What are your favorite bands? What bands are doing things that excite you right now?
I think these are two quite different questions. I'm not really surehow to answer either. I listen to a lot of music and it would be a huge and boring list of names for me to write and probably for you to read. Here are a few things I can remember listening to today (22/05/06) though: "Solomon Song" Kurt Weill (performed by Marianne Faithfull), "Paranoid Android" Radiohead, "Say it ain't so" Weezer,"Piano Phase" Steve Reich, "Cold Brains" Beck, "Money for Nothing"Dire Straits.
What are some of the major themes that emerge in your music and lyric writing?
There are themes within my music, and a number of different styles which I hop amongst. Subconciously, I think I have a sense of how I want chords to change and melodies to work, I generally try to either work with or against this. Sometimes a song may need to take a necessary direction or maybe it just needs to get lost for a while. I guess that's part of trying to understand my own style though, which is the spiritual side to music.
Lyrically, this is similar and the themes are much more noticeable. Usally other people spot them better than me. I personally like to play with imagery a lot, I think it's amazing that words can make you see things. The natural world really fascinates me. Colours, Water, Animals and Relationships. Things that we see everyday which are so intense to think about.
Are your lyrics more personal or imaginative?
A bit of both really. I think they can work well together, which is what fashion is about I suppose. It's a way of being imaginative with your public personality. I think the same applies to music and words.
You seem to have an awful lot of fun performing, and your lyrics convey a serious attempt at having fun with words and ideas. Would you say this is true?
"A serious attempt at having fun with words and ideas". That's the best thing anyone's ever said about me. I hope it is true. I talk to my Mum a lot about writing and she always says that the only way to get on with writing is to play with the words. Otherwise they won't play with you.
How do you describe your music to people? How do other people describe your music?
I'm really bad with this question. I'd probably just hand them a flyer for a gig and hope for the best. If people try and describe it to me I usually just nod and agree.
What do you feel are the key elements of a good or great song, at least for yourself?
I guess there's no manual to it, but a good friend said to me recently that he gets on well with music that has personality. Whether that's within a warm pop song or an obscure classical piece I don't think it matters as long as it works.
How do you see your own music progressing or evolving?
I think only time can tell. I've been playing guitar and singing since I can remember and I won't ever stop. That's about all I know for sure. I don't think I'm fit to do anything else properly, and don't really want to. As for where the journey will take me I don't know, I think that's the best thing about it.
How do you get inspiration to write a song, and what does the songwriting/recording process look like for you?
For the last four months I've been writing daily and have around 100 songs written and recorded on my laptop. All of varying quality and stages of development. I think inspiration is almost like a moment of enlightenment, and I like to write a lot so that when it happens I can maximize the experience.
Do you prefer performing/touring or writing/recording?
Both are really hard work and yet amazing when they happen. I couldn't just hide away and write all the time without sharing with anyone, butI couldn't be a touring monkey either. I couldn't think of one without the other.
What is the purpose of music to you?
This interview has been intense and it's been a pleasure to answer these questions. I'm proud that someone thinks I'm fit to put forward answers. I don't really understand the higher power of music any more than the next person though, and I use music in all the good and bad ways it is and has always been used. To get laid, get paid, and explore my soul.
I'm a pretty huge fan of breakfast. I think eating is a great way to start the day, and I'm very thankful that I can...so what is the ultimate breakfast food for you?
Anything at the moment as I've only got 4p to my name. However, full fat fry-up is standard.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Yeah, I'd love to give some shout outs to Tom the Man, Larrikin Love, Statik, Mystery Jets, Fearney C, Brik a Brak, Nambucca, and FROG. They've all got MySpace sites and are all doing amazing things. Check'em all out. Thanks for the questions Joe, it's been a pleasure. See you at a gig soon.
Be sure to check out Kid Harpoon's upcoming single release, "Riverside", on June 26th!
Until then, here is a demo track of his that's got a phenomenal sound to it:
Download>>Kid Harpoon - Running Through Tunnels (Bayston Rd).mp3
Check out Kid Harpoon's Website and MySpace page, as well.