Harker Moon is a set of reunited and like-minded musical school friends hailing from Kentish Town in North London. Hal Briggs (bass), Ben Phillips (drums), Joe Caplin (keys), Olly Jay (lead guitar) and Tommy Down (vocalist and rhythm guitarist) used their proximity to Camden to cut their teeth in some world-famous small venues while also listening to the visiting acts. We caught up with the band to find out more about their formation and debut single ‘Muma Says’.
We would describe [our music] as soul rock, and we have crossed into funk with a few songs.
First up, tell us bit about yourselves - what led you all to forming Harker Moon?
A few of us went to school together and were actually all in separate bands with one or two members of Harker Moon, before we decided to all join forces after university.
Luckily we were actually friends prior to forming the band; friends who played music separately; so creating a band just seemed logical.
Who did your take inspiration from?
We seemed to have a large variety of tastes within the band. I think a lot of us listened to bands like Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys and the Black Keys growing up. Olly (guitar) seems to be really into Vulfpeck at the moment and Joes (keys) has been listening to a lot of Bonobo.
We all seem to have an appreciation of soul music; I know that Ben digs some of the drum grooves in Bill Withers tracks such as ‘Use Me Up’ and Hal seems to admire the fluid bass playing of James Jamerson in tracks such as ‘I Heard it Through the Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye. Tommy has always liked the shuffled nature of singers such as Al Green and the roar emotion in Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding’s voices. We all seem to bring a different way of thinking to the band; which we think is healthy.
Why the name ‘Harker Moon’?
We actually had a teacher at our school called Reverend Harker who was a memorable character. So we decide to name the band Harker. We then found out there was another band called Harker, so had to re-advise the name. We decided on ‘Moon’, as on the night we picked the name, the moon was the largest it had been for 400 years.
You’re based near Camden, what impact did that have on your formation and development?
Being based near Camden we had a plethora of live venues near us. This made it relatively easy to get gigs in the area, through the rough demos we had made at the time.
Playing live so early after forming the band was a huge asset as this not only forced us to get comfortable with performing live, it was also a great experience to be able to share our music with our friends and get their opinion on our music - while we were literally writing it and changing it.
How would you describe your musical style?
We would describe it as soul rock, and we have crossed into funk with a few songs.
Tell us about your debut single ‘Muma Says’. What’s it about?
At its root, ‘Muma Says’ is about hope and has a clear cut message about cherishing the one you love. The songs about real life events. The happy and nostalgic themes of the song echo the temperamental world we live in, but are intended to leave the listener feeling hopeful for the future.
When did you write it and where did you record it?
We wrote it about four months ago and we recorded it at the Strong Rooms. The Vaccines were actually recording in the studio below us the day we were there.
How does ‘Muma Says’ represent your style?
We think it represents how we appreciate considered striped back moments in songs as well as slightly rockier, wall of sound moments in songs; like at the end of the song.
What are your hopes for ‘Muma Says’?
We hope that the people who listen to it, enjoy it, share it with their friends and come to gigs. We actually have one on the 30th of November at the “Fiddlers Elbow”, so come along if your interested - details on Facebook here.
What are your plans for 2019?
We plan to release a lot more music, write fresh material and hopefully play a few festivals.
Finally, if you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
When you’re arranging a song, listen to the greats and draw from them. See how they did it, then put your unique spin on it and a lot of the time; less is more.
Listen to ‘Muma Says’ on SoundCloud below. For news and tour dates go to harkermoon.com.