Myglobalmind Webzine interview with Harry Hess (First Signal, Harem Scarem)(Vocals) conducted on September 02, 2010
Interviewed by Denys (Site Founder/Senior Staff Writer) Myglobalmind Webzine
Myglobalmind: Hey Harry!!! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for your fans and readers of our webzine.
Myglobalmind: First and foremost welcome back to the scene!!! We we’re all very sad to hear the split of your former band Harem Scarem. Is good to have you back making music with your new project First Signal. How does it feel?
Harry: Great!! The response has been extremely positive to the record and my evolvement so I am happy about that…
Myglobalmind: Congratulations on the new debut from First Signal a cooperation with Dennis Ward, how did you guys hook up to work on this exciting project?
Harry: We meet through Frontiers records. The label got me involved after about two years of being away from the Melodic Rock scene and Dennis was the perfect choice with regards to handling the production.
Myglobalmind: The songwriting was always something of a big focus on your past efforts, talk a little about the writing for the new record? Names you worked with on First Signal?
Harry: I was not involved with the writing of this record I was brought in to sing after the majority of the songs were compiled.
Myglobalmind: Some of the melodies and song structures on First Signal do have some similarities to Harem Scarem’s classic sound, but I also hear AOR vibes as well as Melodic Rock hooks everywhere. Is this the sound you we’re trying to re-capture?
Harry: I knew it was going to be more of an AOR record when I signed on to do it but it wasn’t for me to recapture anything rather than to do a great job with the songs I was given and sing them the best I could.
Myglobalmind: Die hard fans of Harem always wanted the band to go back to a more focus approach on melodies circa “Mood Swings” era, you have definitely retouched back on more emphasis on melodies on this new release. Can you talk about the contrast in styles from early Harem Scarem to later era Harem to First Signal now?
Harry: We always tried to move forward as a band, it was never interesting for us to go back or stand still. First Signal does sound like it goes back but that was the whole reason behind making it.
Myglobalmind: How was it like working with Dennis Ward? I know you are a producer also, was it hard sending your mixes away to Germany to let Dennis do his thing?
Harry: It was great, I never had to worry about anything except singing and that was a change for me. I was never worried about how it was gonna sound, I knew I was in good hands.
Myglobalmind: I know the plan is to give First Signal a test run to see how well is received, personally having a chance to listen to it I am hoping you guys decide to return with another record and keep pushing the envelope, what are your thoughts?
Harry: Yes, I would be happy to do another one, I was curious to see what peoples reaction was gonna be.
Myglobalmind: Also contributions on the new record come from your good friend Darren Smith and former band mate, you guys go back since before Harem Scarem, a band called “Blind Vengeance”, talk about the early years, how did that come about? Then eventually you guys went on to form the classic Harem Scarem lineup correct?
Harry: Yes, we have know each other a long time growing up in the same area… I think Darren is a great singer and was the obvious choice to get the big backing vocal sound… We did have one other drummer before Darren in Harem Scarem but from the 1st record on it was him.
Myglobalmind: Many fans in the Melodic Rock genre always have considered and respected your great voice. Songs like “Goodbye To The Good Time” and “Crazy” display your awesome voice in full force. How do you develop such great vocal range?
Harry: Thank you!!!! I don’t sing high naturally so I really had to force myself and push it beyond what was considered easy or comfortable for me. I know my voice better now than ever so it is possible for me to sing some pretty high stuff while also making the lower register feel believable. My goal is to make it sound seamless and emotional ( and try to stay in tune ).
Myglobalmind: You have spoken before about the split between Harem Scarem, you have stated that the time was right for all parties involved after 20 years to move on, that after the contract with the label ended maybe you felt the music was a bit too repetitive in spots to re-sign a new record deal? Was there ever any hostility between the band about moving on?
Harry: Not for me, it’s no secret that H.S was a lot of work for me personally so if I didn’t have a problem with it I’m not sure anyone else would have. I still work with Pete almost daily and with Creighton a fair bit as well. Barry is basically out of the music biz so I don’t work with him but I consider all of them to be good friends.
Myglobalmind: I know you have been involved with Universal Music Publishing doing songwriting with other artists, anything in the works to look forward to?
Harry: Yes, I have a co-write with a band called ” My Darkest Days ” a great Canadian band produced by Chad from Nickelback, two songs on a recent Die Mannequin record signed to Warner. I just finished producing the new ” Brian Melo ” record who is an ex Canadian Idol winner ( I really like this record )… And I wrote a Song with an ex American Idol contestant Baylie Brown in Nashville who is signed to Universal South in America. Working on X Factor stuff in Europe as well.
Myglobalmind: What do you think about the current music market today? We know some markets back then like Asia and Europe we’re always a success for bands such as Harem Scarem, now a days how has that change?
Harry: It’s more of a global market than ever these days and I believe that there are still a lot of opportunities for people in the music business but it is a lot harder than ever!!!!!
Myglobalmind: What motivates you as a singer/songwriter/producer to keep on doing what you do?
Harry: I really don’t know how to do anything else, I’ve spent my whole life doing music and I couldn’t get another job if I tried, fortunately I don’t have to… When it’s good there is nothing better but when it’s bad there is nothing worse….
Myglobalmind: How important would it be for you to take First Signal or other future project on the road? I know in 2007 the band missed out on the chance to play the Melodicrockfest in Indiana because of travel constraints. Is touring something you would like to push forward in the future for this project?
Harry: I will eventually find a reason and opportunity to do something live again but I’m not sure what that would be at the moment.
Myglobalmind: What stands out as big career achievements for you in the all the years in the scene? Particular venues, performances, people?
Harry: Signing our first record deal was cool as well as playing our first sold out tour in japan.
Myglobalmind: What’s playing in your CD player/mp3 player? What do you listen to on your personal time?
Harry: I’m always listening to the stuff that I am working on so whenever I’m in the car or at home I don’t really listen to music… I don’t even like music!!!!!!!
Myglobalmind: Harry congratulations once again on a great record with First Signal, your voice sounds amazing as usual. Look forward to hearing more in the future. Keep rocking. Final words to the fans?
Harry: As usual, thanks to the fans and everyone who has supported me over the years.
Please visit: http://www.frontiers.it/news/10396/
Webzine Review for First Signal featuring Harry Hess – First Signal