July 2, 2019
Tune-In Tuesdays #25: Getting Dark Enough to Dance with Harper and the Moths
Harper and the MothsSource: Harper and the Moths
Harper and the Moths are a vibrant, soulful Ariz-based dance rock band who are releasing their debut album “Dark Enough to Dance,” this Friday.
Yesterday, we spoke to Harper Lines to learn more about the record as well as his personal experience in the music industry.
How long have you been making music for? Growing up, did you know you wanted to be in the industry?
I started my first band when I was 14, a freshman in high school.
At that time, I didn’t know [I wanted to be in the industry], but I knew it was something I needed to do to be apart of that community.
Your discography is brimming with bright, vibrant tracks such as, “Your Love,” “No Thanks,” and covers of classic hits, “West End Girls,” and “Take on Me.” Who would you say are your biggest influences, in terms of sound?
If we go retro, Prince, David Bowie, and Billy Idol were huge influences for me growing up. That rock ‘n roll with a little bit of soul influence.
I love Other Mother Brother, Arcade Fire, there’s a bunch of ’em.
On this record, we had worked on doing more of a lo-fi sound, with our first EP having more of a rock-pop-soul sound.
With the release of your debut album, “Dark Enough to Dance,” on July 5th, how are you feeling? Are you excited? Nervous?
Dark Enough to Dance by Harper and the Moths coverSource: Harper and the Moths
I am really excited! We had been testing this new material out for the past five months, so I’m excited for everyone to see and experience this new record.
We had also been working on some cover tunes to switch up the set, so you never really get the same performance. We have a new backup singer for this performance, as well, and we’ve got our buddy Danny on horns – he plays on two songs on the record, too.
Could you tell us a little more about the inspiration behind the album?
About a year and a half ago, we knew we were going to do a full-length.
We started writing songs for it, and we knew we needed to take a step back. We were so used to writing singles all the time, and this being our first full-length, it was a milestone.
We cut out performances altogether to really spend time fleshing out the writing process. Out of that, we wrote about 50 or so songs.
Through that process, the drummer, bassist, and myself, discovered our new writing style. We had the departure of the previous guitarist and keyboard player.
It gave us the opportunity to breathe new life into the project, ’cause we had been doing Harper and the Moths for going on six years. That helped us flex our own writing muscles as a pre-piece.
Architecturally and sound wise, it’s very different. We knew we needed two backup singers on the whole record if we really wanted to have that lush, new wave vibe.
In the press release, it touches upon how music was your outlet after the end of a relationship – yet, each track is so electric and moving. What inspired you to go for more of an upbeat sound?
I’ve been told that I write really great songs about depression and heartache – really poppy songs about depression and heartache [laughs].
We tried to touch on that and make a really dancey record that plays on that new wave darkness. We wanted to make that feel really fresh but also positive at the same time – something people could dance to, but still have that emotional impact, lyrically.
Melodically, it kinda makes you were through all that.
What went into making “Dark Enough to Dance,” production wise?
For pre-production, it was mainly myself, the drummer Eddie, and the bass player Dave.
We do a lot of individual writing. We have recording software and our little home studios, so we’d flesh out ideas, send ’em to each other, and chip away to see if anything’s there.
It’s a lot more productive for us that way, rather than going to a rehearsal space and playing live. It lets us really flesh out any ideas that we have; working with melodies, rhythm, whatever.
We did that for awhile with about 30 or 40 different ideas, and then we kept writing before we went into the studio to actually start working together on this album.
Recording the record, we did all the instruments in Phoenix at Premier Studios. Then we did the lead vocals in Big Bear, with our buddies Eric and Chris, the two producers on the record. We came back to Phoenix to do all of the horns and back up vocals.
I think we had a really good, harmonious mix with it, because the producers were really aware of what we were doing. We sent them all the demo stuff and pre-production stuff before we started recording, so they were into the vibe of it having a live record sound mixed with a lot of digital production.
I think we found a really good blend with it, actually.
Which track on the album are you most excited about? Are there any songs that are particularly meaningful to you?
I like “WYFYHE.” I think it has a lot of specialties to make it a sing-along pop song.
I also really like, “Ecstasy,” “Pure Love,” and “Dark Magic.” Those are probably my favorites.
What do you hope listeners take away from the album?
In my mind, I always picture this club in the heart of the city’s downtown. The individual is going out to meet up with friends and they wander into this club where they find this band they’ve never heard of before.
Then you leave that night, reinvigorated and reborn.
That was my idea. If we could do that with this record, then we’ve achieved our goal.
Is there anything you would change about “Dark Enough to Dance?”
Not a damn thing, no. I’m really happy with it right now.
What did you learn from creating the album that you will use going forward in your music career?
Patience in the process. Allowing yourself the time and flexibility to experience something fully and have that be a conduit of your creativity – instead of putting pressure on yourself to put out something at a certain time or have those expectations ahead of it.
Sometimes that pressure works well for people, but not for others.
For me, it’s about allowing myself to go through that process and keep pushing to make it the best that it can be.
What’s next for Harper and the Moths? Do you plan on going on tour?
We do, if people listen to the record enough [laughs]. We’d love to.
The next thing is playing a lot of little local sets, a few regional shows in the southwest. We’re going to try to get on a few big festival dates.
We’re going to keep releasing videos, as well.
“Your Love” by Harper and the Moths music videoSource: Harper and the Moths – Your Love (360° Music Video) | Harper and the Moths
For the next six months, we really want to keep pushing this record to as many ears as possible.
What advice would you give to anyone out there who might also be going through a tough time – whether it’s a breakup, the loss of a love one, and so on?
It kinda goes along with anyone or anything you’re doing in life.
Don’t feel required to do something or required to follow that programming.
What would you say to any aspiring musicians out there looking to dip their toes in the dance-pop industry?
Don’t try and steal our sound [laughs].
I’d say have fun. Life is really too short. Don’t push yourself unless you’re enjoying it the whole time.
Go on tours, meet new people, spend the night on floors, live in a 15-passenger van. Do all that. That’s fun.
The second you start saying, “What’s the next step?” it’s like any good relationship; it dies the moment you’re too focused on the future, instead of appreciating the present.
Do you have any final thoughts or additional comments to share?
We are going to be pushing really hard this year. We’ll have a few new videos coming out for this record, we’re going to try do some regional tours and what not.
Be on the lookout! I want everyone to give this record a spin and I hope it resonates with you. We had a blast making it and I think it’s something special here.
Harper and the MothsSource: Harper and the Moths
Be sure to checkout Harper and the Moths’ debut album “Dark Enough to Dance” when it premiers across all streaming platforms on July 5th!
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