Harper Bloom Interview

by the partae
Harper Bloom Interview

Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?

I am based in a tiny apartment in Brunswick in Melbourne at the moment. The music scene is usually very lively, Sydney Road is the main hub for music in Brunswick which is very close to where I live. There are heaps of bars that are very supportive of local bands and artists and they are always looking for people to play. No matter if you’re a solo artist or in a full swing band- there will be a venue accommodating and an audience ready!!

How did you first start playing music?

I started when I was quite young, like 5 or 6, as my Dad bought me a guitar and took me to lessons and made me learn Bob Dylan songs! I always had a guitar around and would play covers to friends and write my own songs. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago where I actually performed in public on a stage though. I did my first open mic in 2018 in New York and I just kept on performing since then.

What’s been happening recently?

I have recently released my second single this month so that’s been exciting. Aside from that, I have just been using this down time to keep writing and to fill up a book of songs I am really proud of- as I plan to record a second EP soon. I have also been rehearsing with my band so that when life goes back to normal, we are stage ready!

Your new single ‘Walk My Way’ received instant Triple J airplay and was added to Unearthed playlists in the the first week of release, Kingsmill even giving you a rare five-star review – how have things been for you since?

I have been really humbled by the response to be honest. I guess when you’ve been sitting on a song for a while you forget how good it felt when you first wrote it. I wrote it in Feb or March last year. I do remember when I first wrote the chorus, I had butterflies in my stomach – so that must be your body saying ooo this is exciting haha.

Things have been really exciting since its release and the support from Triple J. I have had a lot of lovely people messaging me and emailing me saying they’ve heard the song on triple J and that they really like it which is awesome. It seems to make people feel happy and care free so I am glad it has that effect on people.

What influenced the sound and songwriting for this track?

To be honest, I am not entirely sure what influenced the sound. I just started playing this chord progression and then fiddling around with the fingerstyle pattern and it just sounded fun and upbeat. Then I started strumming and the chorus just came out of my mouth fully formed. At the time, I was reading a bit of poetry about social class in 1950s America and I think that influenced the storyline of the verses. I liked the idea of chasing someone that you feel is superior to you or unattainable, whether that be due to wealth, looks or gender. You feel like they don’t see you, but really they have felt just as strongly about you the whole time. I think it’s a nice idea!!

Where and when did you record?

I recorded the single with Benjamin McCarthy in his Carlton home studio. We recorded it in June/July last year. So, I had it tucked away for almost a year before it was eventually released!

You have a forthcoming EP on the way ‘Faith, Sex and Skin’ what can we expect?

Yes, it is coming out next month which is really exciting! The majority of the EP is quite uplifting and upbeat, there is one slower song which is quite stripped back. It has some really nice strings in it to accompany the guitar. All the other songs are built up with percussion and subtle synth around a raw acoustic sound. Each song has its own story and message in it.

What is the predominant theme of the EP?

I would say the EP is all about self-acceptance and kindness. It’s also about acknowledging we are not perfect but there are little acts of selflessness that we can do each day to live happier and healthier lives as a whole human race. I also think all the songs touch on the beauty of being vulnerable and that taking risks holds many rewards.

What influenced the EP?

My own life experiences have definitely influenced the songs on the EP. I also think my writing has been influenced by travelling and watching different cultures and the way that different people interact. Also, my writing has been influenced by books and movies that have resonated with me, such as The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind and Jack Kerouac novels. My sound has been influenced by contemporary artists such as Thelma Plum, Gordi and Vance Joy as well as iconic artists such as Bob Dylan and The Beatles and Neil Diamond.

What equipment did you use to record?

I used my old Ibanez guitar for all the recordings. It’s a bit beaten and worn but it still has a nice earthy tone.

What do you have planned for this EP?

I would love to do a little launch tour around Victoria and New South Wales, but we are just going to have to wait and see what the restrictions allow. There will at least be a launch show at The Old Bar with my full band after the release, but I will have to keep my fingers crossed that it will be sooner rather than later!

Who are you listening to at the moment?

Oooo there so many great tracks coming out at the moment. I have been listening too Spacey Jane – they just put out a debut album which is really upbeat and fun. I have also been enjoying Ball Park Music – Day and Age and Noah Dillon – Mathew McConaughey. Lots of great new Aussie music!

What do you like to do away from music?

I use to be a very beachy person and spent most of my time surfing or ocean swimming. However, since moving to Melbourne, I have become a bit more of an indoor person – really enjoying just sitting at the library and reading or finding quirky little cafes and bars with my partner. Maybe I have just become lazier haha!

What’s planned for the remainder of 2020?

I am just going to be rehearsing a lot with my band to get our live show as tight as possible. I will be performing as much as I possibly can in this current climate! I will also be recording a few acoustic sessions with the Shoelace Creative team which I will post up on YouTube and socials. Then I will be recording my second EP in August and begin planning its release. So, I should be keeping quite busy!

Favourite food and place to hangout?

Great question! I really love Black Cat on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. It’s a really nice bar with a relaxing vibe and comfy couches. Favourite food, I’d have to go for Kway Teow from Asian Kitchen Guy on Sydney Road- very yummmm and very cheap.

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