Australian’s own Prince of shred, Harts first power-slid into the that title with his 2014 debut album Daydreamer. A few years later, the dude has clearly become comfortable with the burden of the crown, and this is evident in his follow-up album Smoke Fire Hope Desire, out now.
The record is a confident step forward into uncharted territory for Harts who took the ‘all in’ approach, using plenty of layers, textures and effects. He’s even gone as far as to assemble a small guard to ensure the people get a proper show. We caught up with Harts just before he unveiled the record to see how he feels about it all.
Harts: It’s feels good. I’m looking forward to people hearing it for the first time, I’m looking forward to hearing their thoughts and opinions, I love looking at all that kind of stuff. And I’m just looking forward to spreading the message and the enjoyment through my music.
Music Feeds: Where will you be looking for feedback on Smoke Fire Hope Desire? Reviews, or social media?
H: I don’t really look too much at reviews and thing like that, I mainly kind of look at what my fanbase is saying. That gives me encouragement because it’s always really positive. So that really helps out, I get confidence in what I’m doing so that keeps me going on.
MF: What has the fanbase said about the singles we’ve heard so far?
H: Good – I think so? [Laughs] From the shows that I’ve played so far, Peculiar is turning into a bit of a hit which is cool – people sing the chorus and stuff like that. It’s encouraging to see that people like what I’m doing. I’m experimenting with more complex arrangements for songs but still keeping that hook still there and keeping that rock attitude still in the music.
I think that people are really moving with me in a way and accepting it as a development that I’m going through and I get that encouragement from fans, and especially from radio who are playing my stuff now and people like you who want to talk to me about it – things like that.
The exposure and the publicity is building and so is the fan acceptance for what I’m doing. And the music industry acceptance for one because that’s something I’ve been fighting a long time for. But now it’s all coming together.
Music Feeds: I can say that out of all the interviews I do, when I told my flatmate I was interviewing you, he lost it. From the outside looking in it seems like things have really gone ‘next level’ for lack of a better term, are you feeling that?
H: [Laughs] That’s what I’m saying! As a musician, you don’t always know if people really like what you’re doing. If you just stop playing shows, which I haven’t been doing too much off, you don’t really get the feedback. Now, as you said, it’s been ramped up a lot and I’m seeing a lot more feedback from people who are discovering my music.
Someone sent me a link to this Kanye West forum and they were talking about me. Three or four pages worth of just ‘who the hell’s this guy, where did he come from?’ And this was a pretty hardcore hip hop community. So it’s developing in areas that are more diverse than I even imagined.
MF: You were touring so much in the recent past, when did you start working on the album?
H: The record was done in about December through April, and I was touring real heavily then so on any off chance I was at home I was working on it. I did Peculiar, Deeper The Hole and All Rise three months earlier because I had to write new material to showcase to label meets in the US.
I had this gap where we were talking to a lot of different labels, trying to get people on board to help and they just want to hear new material, so I wrote these to show the direction I wanted to go so these were actually done early with no intention of an album.
MF: That’s a tight turnaround.
H: So it’s a very tight turnaround but that’s what I like. I like working spontaneously. I went through an experience earlier in my career, if I can say, where I held onto music for way too long and it should have been out earlier, and that scared me in a way.
So as long as I feel as though I’m finished with it, I like to put it out there and move on. That said, I’ve already got an album in the works for next year!
MF: You have some shows after the album drops. How will you be bringing Smoke Fire Hope Desire to the people?
H: For this tour it’ll be the first time I have a live bass player. It’ll be a three piece, I’ve got a drummer and the bassist also plays keys. We’re still rehearsing all that stuff and working out what songs can translate live. It’s def more of a show now than a gig.
It’s not just song, song, song there’s a lot more room for improv, a lot more of a group performance because I’m not so tethered to the electronics. So the pressure’s off me to do everything myself. That was a huge pressure with the last few years.
That’s not to say I won’t play all the instruments I usually play. I still want to show people that this is not fake in any way – I actually do play everything. I really only have 1 week left, actually, but we’ve been rehearsing and I’m confident we can do that – I’m looking forward to it, man!
‘Smoke Fire Hope Desire’ is out now. Hart’s national tour continues this week. See remianing dates here.
Gallery: Harts – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney 17/09/16 / Photos By Maria Boyadgis