Earlier this month, we saw the emerging Melbourne project, Harris, drop his debut EP ‘Ok Kombucha’ to the world. A step from his usual presence as frontman of Fan Girl, Harris delivers an emotive exploration of a more personal style, interweaving unique sounds that take us into a new world. Filled with the nostalgia of one thousand listens upon its first, and a sincerity that is sparked by some of the most experienced artists, ‘OK Kombucha’ holds incredible power in its beautiful delivery!
We had a chat with Harris, and let him spill all the details of ‘OK Kombucha’!
You recently released your debut EP, ‘Ok Kombucha’, (and we love it)! What was it like undertaking the process of making an EP and looking at your music as a body of work, rather than singles?
Oh, thank you so much! I’d be lying if I said that the process was super cultivated and conceptualised. I imagine when I make a Harris LP that will be more the goal. In reality, the process was that I had lots and lots of songs, but I liked these five the best and felt like they showed different sides of the project but were all cohesive enough to sit together. I also like the idea that they would all be strong enough songs to potentially sit alone as singles. That being said, I think the last song 'Satellites' would be a pretty wild single to put out, but I think it’s probably one of the best songs I’ve ever written.
The EP itself is such a comforting yet vulnerable journey! Where did you derive most of your inspiration from, and how do you feel about opening up in such a public space- is opening up something that is still daunting to you?
Weirdly, I think I’ve always felt pretty comfortable with ‘opening up’ when it came to songwriting. It came pretty naturally to me, even as a 10-year-old, which was when I started writing songs. I guess I thought if you can’t be vulnerable or way too honest in a song, where can you be? One of the earliest songs I remember writing was about me having to see a psychologist because I couldn’t be alone by myself in a room. I had watched Edward Scissorhands by myself one day and it absolutely freaked me out. So I guess vulnerability has always been a strength of mine, it was more the quality of the songwriting that I had to work on!
Many people know your voice from the band Fan Girl! What made you branch off to try out a personal EP? Was it more about trying new sounds, sharing your own stories, or something else?
Harris only really started as a project during a period when Fan Girl was taking time off after our friend and founding member Jack passed away. I really wanted to keep writing and releasing music, and thought I might as well give it a go by myself. So I guess that’s where it started initially. There’s also a very different writing process between Fan Girl and Harris. Vince writes all the music and I write the vocal melodies and lyrics. It’s a bit more collaborative than that, but that’s a simplified explanation. Whereas, in Harris everything comes from me, and then the collaboration will come later on in the process with producers and with my band. In both projects, the stories are from me, but I think Fan Girl definitely has a lyrical style in which the narratives are general in a pop vagueness relatable esoteric sort of way, if that makes sense. Perhaps this makes the songs feel less personal, but that’s not the case. All the songs come from what I know personally, I don’t really know how to write any other way. I’ve tried.
Equally as important, who were some of your top influences for this EP- whether that be on a musical or a personal level?
Musically: To name but a few…Phoebe Bridgers, Elliott Smith, Wilco, The 1975, Fountains of Wayne and Marika Hackman.
Personally: To name but a few…Really nice espresso coffee with oat milk, my dog Keiko, films by Yorgos Lanthimos, walking my girlfriend to work, the French children’s book ‘Le Petit Prince’ and Carlton Gardens.
The track 'Satellites’ is especially moving and emotional, as well as it being an impressive closer to the EP. When writing and putting this track together, did you already have it in mind as the final track, or did that organically happen after the recording period?
'Satellites' actually started completely different from how it turned out in the end. The demo was more acoustic guitar indie rock, think the bends era-Radiohead vibe. But I brought it to Vince because I thought it had the potential to be something more and we both agreed that it would interesting to deconstruct it and build it back up from scratch. Which is a real Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Wilco), the mentality of songwriting and production that Vince and I talk about a lot. This inspired the sparse and intense final incarnation of the song, which I agree lends itself to being a ‘closing track’, but that was definitely a decision made after.
After the whole process and now the release, which of the tracks has remained your favourite and why?
My favourite song on the record actually changes weekly. I think maybe 'Post Madonna' is my favourite song, maybe because it’s almost like the music I like to listen to. However, I do think 'Satellites' is one of the best songs I’ve ever written. Since the EP has been out lots of people have told me that they have a favourite song, and it’s always a different one. So that’s really nice to hear.
What is the main thing you want others to get out of this EP?
I guess when I listen to an EP or an album I want to find different layers on each listen. So I hope people find something they like or find interesting each time they listen to it. Maybe a catchy chorus the first time, a quirky lyric the next, a riff that makes them want to learn bass on the one after that. Maybe a sense of escapism as well.