Jen chats to Harts (aka Darren Hart) about his Aussie Tour, his new EP and his Splendour announcement. Snap up tickets to his Aussie tour quick as Melbourne has already sold out and he has announced a new show on the 20th of June. For more details go to his Facebook page here.
Find out why these people are raving about his music.
“He reminds me of how I was at that age” – Prince
“…Harts should be No 1 everywhere, including other planets.”
– Paul Lester, The Guardian
“A one man music making machine”
– Richard Kingsmill, Triple J
“Not only will I buy his album, I will go see his concerts. Looking forward to it.”
– Andre Cymone (Prince, Adam Ant, Jody Watley)
Check out his new single Breakthrough here.
Harts, Congrats on your Splendour announcement. Has it been a goal of yours to play at Splendour?
Yes Definitely, I was not sure if I was going to be there this year so it was a nice surprise and it is going to be great.
I saw the article in the paper by Mikey Cahill about the announcement in the Herald Sun, that must of made you feel pretty good! Yeah it sure did, I did not know when that article was coming out, so it a bit of a surprise last minute but he has been a big supporter of mine and it is good to have that support from him.
I’ve read so many more positive critiques on you. That stand out one for me what Prince said about you that is pretty sweet. How great was that for you when he is one of your inspirations and idols?
Yes probably one of the biggest inspiration to me. It was amazing, for him to say that, to meet him, to play with him and things like that, but I got the chance to do. Yes that came out because he flew me to Paisley Park in the US last year to do some recording and jamming with him. It was a bit of a shock when he got in touch with me, he let me know that he really like my music. Then when I got to making and spend some time with him and stuff like that he really taught me a lot. I think he saw a lot of himself in me, he was helping, kind of mentoring me with some stuff that I was going through musically at the time and he mentioned that in an interview afterwards, he was talking about me and he said that I reminded him of when he was my age. It was amazing to get that kind of support from someone that I’d grew up listening to and being influenced by.
So how did he hear your music did he see you on you Tube or something like that?
yeah that’s exactly right! I don’t know what drove him to it or how he found it but he saw some of my live videos on you Tube and he liked the way I was playing. Then one day he just got in touch.
Not bad for someone that does everything himself, writing, play all the instruments, recording, producing and mixing all in your bedroom studio. Is it a large bedroom? Is there room for your actual bed? (Both laughing)
ha ha, it got to big so I had to actually move it out of my bedroom into a spare bedroom so now all gear and my drum kit and stuff like that. It is still super cramped and there is no way you could fit a bed in there. (Laughing)
Where does your inspiration come from when writing your music?
It can come from a lot of different places. Musically it comes from the music that I like the music that I grew up listening to. That inspired me to actually start playing music. Like 70s funk and 70s rock, 60s blues, it is really hard to pinpoint and influence because one day I pick up a guitar and just play a riff and develop a song around that riff. Another day I’d be playing the keyboard and some chords come to mind and build a song around those chords. Sometimes I am just driving in my car humming a melody and lyrics and a song just kind of builds around that. I don’t really have a method of having influence to make music, it just happens where ever I am whatever I’m doing.
Do you have times when you’re not switched into that or are you always thinking about music?
Yeah I would say I’m always switched into that, I can be doing something far removed from music, like riding my bike or going for a run or anything else that has nothing to do with music sometimes I get ideas. Sometimes I wake up with ideas from a dream. It is really weird comes from different moments. If I tried to sit down right now and come up with a good song really probably couldn’t, is kind of the spur of the moment thing.
What instruments have you learnt to play?
I started with drums, damaged on to keyboard, guitar, bass, and I sing so those instruments.
You have supported Delta Riggs, Sneaky Sound System, Pseudo Echo and Rod Stewart, any other bands I have missed?
Not that I can think of, I’ve done some pretty big shows, I have just been so busy I can’t remember them all. (Laughing)
How did the crowds react to your one man show when they were waiting for these bands?
I think they were a little surprised, particularly the shows that no one knows who I am. So like Rod Stewart, people came to see him and don’t often pay attention to the support band. So I take that and I try and put on a show that they can ignore. The fact that it is a one man band although now I have a drummer play with me on stage with me and he helps me out. It is really just me playing all the instruments, I try and put on a really good performance and make people pay attention to what I’m doing and get drawn in by the performance. Like I hit them with some really catchy songs with good melodies and well written music that they can remember when they go home that night. It is almost showcasing in a way when you are supporting, you want to win new fans and people to jump on your kind of project, I tend to change my set list when I am supporting, I want my impact to be strong but when I am doing my own shows, I play songs from my albums that are not necessarily the most entertaining live but people still want to hear them. I don’t want to sacrificing what I do but I play with my heart and soul and buy into the performance and really put on the best kind of show.
I read your facebook comments, and you have many loyal fans, you received plenty of positive comments from your slot at Grooving the Moo and had a massive crowd, Can you tell us how you got chosen as the local act and any funny stories that happened?
They just approached me. The thing with most of these festivals is that is really great that booking agents know about me and are getting in touch. People are slowly starting to gravitate towards my music and getting drawn in. I think it is mostly curiosity, to see what the hype is about because there is a lot of hype at the moment. I am not ignoring the fact that I have turned into a bit of a hype artist at the moment. But I think a lot of it is justified to people as they really enjoy see me live and the music that I’m putting out. It is kind of building on its own as well and people are gravitating towards me like that.
The video of you at the corner hotel was so good on your facebook page, I am sorry to have missed that show, I go there a lot! Do you have a fav venue to play at?
There used to be a venue that I played locally called The Sound Bar at Hoppers Crossing, it was a tiny place but we used to reverse and play there but that has closed down now, that was my favorite venue. I am trying to think what my second favorite venue would be, actually I really like The Toff that Ive played there numerous times. I have not played there recently and apart from that I really like The Corner Hotel, I’ve only played there once now but I think would be my favorite in Melbourne. I probably like The Corner Hotel because I seen so many bands there. The sound there is really great but I just wish that they would move that pole in the middle!
haha! yes! Although that pole has saved me a few times from the crazy circle pits!
Is it a decision that you made that you don’t want band members or did it just feel right to be a solo artist?
I never consciously made the decision to be a solo artist, when I was at school and just getting out of school I played in a few bands but it was not very efficient trying to organize time with people, everyone had such busy schedules and things like that and when I want to make music I had to wait for everyone to be free for example weekends. I was getting little bit tired of that mentality of being on hold until people were ready. I started recording and learning how to record, on my own and about a year after that it just felt right to be a solo artist and do everything myself because I was happy with it. I was happy with the recordings I was doing, I was happy with being able to play the insurance myself and it felt better to be a solo artist because I felt that at that time not many people were doing that and still now there’s not many people doing what I’m doing and it is in an unique thing to do that and I want to push that as much as I could. I think I decided after that to be a solo artists as when I was writing songs in my bedroom I didn’t know what I want to do at all. It was just a natural kind of thing for me to do. Now have a drummer on stage as I think it adds to the live performance. That is something that I always thought about when I was doing solo shows as I used to play with a drum machine and it wasn’t quite powerful so if there was anything that I could add to make the experience better it was to get a drummer so I did.
Your single “Breakthrough” is a real catchy tune with a great message, is this what we can expect for the rest of the EP?
Yeah pretty much there is a lot of rock on this EP, more than I’ve done in the past, on my last album, Breakthrough is the kind of bridge between the funk and the rock side that I like to write in between, kind of being the bridge between the old kind of punk that I was doing and the new rock direction that I’m kind of going in. The EP is full of that and reflects that. and there is some real strong funk like breakthrough in the song 78 on there and there is also some straight up bluesy rock like the last track on the EP, The next thing. It does have the same kind of vibe around it and I wanted to make an a EP or record that was cohesive and coherent in its sonic Sound and its message and content that they all tied together really well in that funk rock hybrid.
Will the EP be sold online with preorder options?
Yes, we are working that out now, and it will be available on ITunes, JB HiFi, Spotify etc.
Pretty much everywhere you can buy music it will be available.
Last question, Can you actually sprint 100 metres in 10.7 seconds? That is so fast!
Yes I can! Probably not now but that was when I was fit and training every day and I was really serious about it. Athletics is kind of my family thing, my mum did it, my dad it, my brother does it. Some people might think it is 10.07 not 10.70.
Well it is still fast! Well thanks for the chat, I look forward to seeing you at Splendour this year, and at your tour coming up.
Well the Melbourne show has just sold out so we have a second one on sale now, it is great as it is still 2 months out and it has sold out.
interviewed by Jen