Almost 4 years after our first interview, Galway, Ireland’s HARVESTER are back with their brand new quality album “Harmonic Ruptures”, released digitally and on 12” via our friend label Distro-y Records. Formed in 2012 through a mutual love of BLACK SABBATH and Guinness, HARVESTER draw influence from the great classic rockers and newer bands HIGH ON FIRE and TORCHE. “Harmonic Ruptures” marks their second LP and was mastered by James Plotkin (BOTCH, SUMAC). sat down with the band to find out more about the acclaimed record, what’s up in Galway, dabbling into different dirty rock pools, touring and more.
Artwork by Emmett Connell.
Hey there guys! What’s up? It’s been nearly 4 years since we last talked, can you believe it? How have you been since our last interview?
Yeah a lot has happened in the last few years, some of the guys of had kids, others got married, grown up stuff! We did a small bit of tourin for our last release and we spent a good bit of time writing and recording our new album Harmonic Ruptures. We’re just rehearsing this week to do some gigs with MASTODON which should be fun.
Great! So, let’s start off with the new record as it is still as fresh as a daisy. Tell us more about the recording process of ‘Harmonic Ruptures’. How did you team up with James Plotkin and what did he bring to the record?
Harmonic Ruptures was recorded over a few sessions in a studio called The Hive where we recorded The Blind Summit Recordings. I live in Edinburgh and the lads live In Ireland so it had to be done in fragments to get everything done properly. There was a lot of flying back to Edinburgh at 6am and going straight to work which fucking sucked. James Plotkin mastered the last recording and he was very easy to work with and did a great job. He just did the new SUMAC album which sounds huge.
Awesome. Are there plans to team up with some labels to help you out with the physical release of the record?
Yup, we just agreed with an Irish label called Distroy to release the album on vinyl. Distroy is a great label that has been putting out mostly diy/crust bands for the last few years. It should hopefully be out before the end of the year and I think it may be on coloured vinyl. Check out their site here.
Great news! I know Alex and he’s doing great job with the label. We’ve done a couple of cool features here on IDIOTEQ together.
Back to your work, I really love the natural flow of the record and your songwriting capabilities on ‘Harmonic Ruptures’. What is your opinion on the recent developments within the genre of stoner rock and sludgy hard rock you have adopted in your work? Is there still a place for some experimentation and a chance to reveal some new grounds?
Thanks, we tried to work more on the structure of songs this time with the listener in mind. I think there is a lot of great music in stoner rock at the moment. After the recording I really got into the last ELDER album and I also loved the last DOOMRIDERS LP. There was a vast amount of influences that we took from while writing from Motown to film music. We know we can write riffs but the main thing is to surprise the listener and give them something interesting to listen to.
I think there is a tonne of room to experiment to introduce new sounds into the genre and I think we would have been far more inclined to do that if I lived in the same country as the guys. It’s not something you want to rush into, it takes a good bit of time to get where you are goin to make it sound genuine. We didn’t have much time together to write and record these songs so we kept them simple in approach and production. There is also a threshold of how much time a band will spend working on an idea before it gets worn out.
I love the artwork for the record. Did you have a certain concept or theme for both the record and its visual embodiment?
Yeah we are really happy with the artwork that Emmet came up with. We had some loose ideas about splitting earth that relates to the title but we were blown away by the images that he sent us back. It gives the album a great accompaniment and he has more cool ideas for the vinyl release.
Themes that come up on the album would be the dilution/devaluing of communication and abundance of noise in life and the need to separate yourself from collective thinking. It touches on forms of disconnection from society and certain things in life that become all consuming because of impulsively following momentum. Fun stuff like that!
Many of the bands and artists I interview believe that art can and even should be used as a tool for social or political change. What does it mean to HARVESTER? What’s your view on the purpose of your work?
I think music can be a great way to spread a social or political message but I think music that doesn’t do that isn’t any less relevant. We’re not a political band, we have our own individual views on politics but we are not interested in incorporating a direct message in the music. I respect bands that do that now and in the past but that is not what this band is about. This band mainly came about to play music that is influenced by bands we love like THIN LIZZY, SABBATH, NEUROSIS etc. No one in our city was playing this style of music when we started, so we just started playing for ourselves. The purpose of our work? We’re just trying to write music that we like and give people something interesting to listen to. We don’t have an agenda.
Ok guys, you’ve just played a couple of gigs with MASTODON! How was the experience?
Yeah it was cool to play with them again, they were absolutely on fire both nights we played with them. The band and crew are all really friendly and approachable which makes the whole experience a lot easier. We had a good response from their crowd and a decent amount of people watching us. It wasn’t that much of a jump as it was in 2013 as they were our first big gigs as a band which felt very weird to play. I think we enjoyed it a bit more as we were much better prepared and I think we were playing a stronger set. It is still a bit weird to talk to them, it feels like you’re a kid hanging out with the Easter bunny but you get used to it after a while. Bill Kelliher has been very cool to us every time we met him.
Do you find touring more comfortable than working in a studio? How do you experience playing single shows and being on a road?
I like both. I really enjoy the studio as you get a chance to layer parts and really build something good for the listener. It’s good craic to try to achieve good tones and performances in the studio. Live, it’s a compromise, you’re at the will of other factors and you’re more reliant on everyone being on the same page. If a gig is bad I’m not going to be any good to anyone for a few hours, it’ll bother me for a bit. There is an “Ah fuck it, it’s grand” attitude in Ireland that I just can’t apply to music.
I like touring and I would do it all year if I could, you’ll have conversations in a van that you wouldn’t have anywhere else in a million years. We haven’t gone to Europe with HARVESTER but I always have a good time on the mainland for the few tours I’ve had in other bands. I think we have gotten better this year at playing gigs. We are in a routine now and have been playing pretty well. The most recent Belfast was probably the best we have played so far, music wise.
When and where can we catch you guys next?
We’re doing a small tour of Ireland with a Scottish band called DVNE at the end October.
Here are the dates:
Thurs 27 Oct, Sally Longs, Galway
Fri 28 Oct, The Hut, Dublin
Sat 29 Oct, Fred Zeppelins, Cork
Sun 30 Oct, Dolans, Siege of Limerick
Are you engaged with other bands and musical projects we should know about?
Ken is in a band called GUMMIDGE, they have a new album that will probably be out by the time you read this. They have a SHELLAC / YOUNG WIDOWS type sound. Bryan was in a few bands but I’m not sure if any of them are active at the moment. I have some stuff written for another band that will come out next year.
What kind of future do you see for HARVESTER?
We’ll be gigging on this album for the next year or so, hopefully playing gigs on mainland Europe. The album will be released on vinyl via Distroy Records before the end of the year. So just gigging for the next while :)
Haha, cool! :)
Ok, so lastly, what makes Galway a great place to be? :)
It’s probably because it’s one of the smaller cities in Ireland so the music scene is bit more varied whilst being fairly welcoming. I don’t live there currently but from what I have seen in the heavy music/punk/ noise side of things is less younger (16- 23) bands playing gigs which is a shame. There was a healthy punk scene a few years ago but that seems to have died off recently. There are also great bigger bands that have played recently. MUTOID MAN, BATTLES, and TORCHE have all been over in the last few years. Galway is more of a bohemian chilled out place compared to Dublin or Belfast.
Ok, so lastly, going beyond music, how do you think the recent Brexit situation could affect the Irish society and your closest environment in particular?
I think the Brexit result was really disappointing, it was a victory for xenophobia and ignorance. It could be good for Ireland in terms of jobs as the UK will be passed over by large companies and it will create more jobs in Ireland. The leaders of the leave campaign were racists and bigots who had no plan what would happen afterwards. You can see there has been a rise in hate crimes since the result which is sickening. There were people who voted leave, that were privately racist nationalist assholes that are in favour of restricting the free movement of people and have no empathy for the refugee crisis that is happening in Europe.
For myself in Edinburgh, I don’t think I’ll be affected that much. I have an Irish passport, I work for myself.
Alright buddy, thanks a lot for your thoughts and taking some time with us. It’s been a pleasure having you here. Feel free to add your final words and take care!
Cool thanks, for all you your help. Cheers!