Q: There’s a bit of a Black Flag meets Black Sabbath vibe with a modern, fuzzy twist. Who are the band’s biggest influences – both musically and lyrically?
HARKER: That’s what we were aiming for! Biggest influences for us is a tough one to pin down as all of us are not so much musically similar haha! Tony (Guitarist) is into his 90s indie fuzz bands such as Pixies, Magnapop etc, Phoebe (Bassist / Vocals) is a 00s punker through and through and loves stuff like Saves The Day, Descendents etc.. me and Matt (Drummer) I would say are into the more heavier side of things.. He’s a big Touche Amore fan, where as I’m happy with anything that’s either big riffage or fast beats… also dabble in some weird stuff too, I just like to keep the mind open !!
That’s not to say we don’t agree on everything though! There’s some cross influences like Against Me, Jimmy Eat World, Fugazi.. it all makes up for an immense mixing pot of influences which for us is super important, trying to stay fresh when it comes to writing and amalgamating into something you wouldn’t hear every day.
I’m glad you’ve got some of the more darker vibes! This time around was the first album we decided we wanted to not play down our more heavier influences. Our previous record ‘No Discordance’ sounds great, but for me, did lack a little bit that love of Dischord records bands & more out of step heavier influence that we’ve been trying to translate into our music for a while.
Q: ‘The Beast Must Die’ is based on the idea of ‘Mono-consciousness’ by English writer Colin Wilson. Can you elaborate a little more on this fascinating concept?
HARKER: Colin Wilson was a firm believer of the idea of ‘Faculty X’ – a sort of heightened awareness of a reality beyond immediate perception, connecting with all things physical and psychological leading to a more fulfilling human existence – I understand the idea behind this for skeptics could be a little farfetched, but in terms of ‘Faculty X’ to me, it’s more about living your life with meaning and being in tune with the world around you. ‘Mono- consciousness’ can be seen as the opposite of this, only caring for oneself, disregarding anything that isn’t the set immediately in front of you. Humans can be active, compassionate and empathetic – but only when the sense of self is kept in check.
Q: What has been one of the highlights of your music career so far?
HARKER: So many to pick it’s hard to choose just one! We’ve been very fortunate over the years to work with some great people and tour some amazing places.
For me personally, one of the biggest highlights was touring Japan for the final leg of our last albums tour in 2019. Such an incredible touring experience, and the attitude towards live music is totally different out there. People come for the first band, and stick around right until the end – and music fans go off when it comes to watching bands play! Singing along, crowd surfing and just a real fan to artist connection you rarely get in the UK. I had been to Japan prior to our tour out there, so it was incredible to see outside of the ‘tourist’ hotspots and hanging out with real people too – some of whom I now regard as close friends (despite being on opposite sides of the world!)
The other would be selling out of the first pressing of our debut full length ‘No Discordance’ – it was a major milestone for us, and to know that there’s people out there genuinely enjoying our music is the best feeling. I’ll never take that for granted, ever.
Q: Your new album ‘Axiom’ lyrically addresses the apathy of modern living. What life experiences inspired the band to write about such a topic?
HARKER: There’s a lot of problems in the UK right now, with a lot focusing around the now decade long rule of the conservative party. It’s frightening to say this, but my generation, and ones before us have now been programmed into believing apathy is the social normality and through this, crooked politicians get away with a lot.
For me, one of the biggest life changing moments for me was the vote passing to leave the EU. It made me realize a lot of this country is screwed up, and with misinformation so easily spread amongst areas of inequality – it’s created this sector of society that thinks it’s now acceptable to cause pain and suffering to your neighbour based on their characteristics such as race, income, gender. It all stems from political parties that will stop at nothing to get votes, to keep them in power and to reap the benefits.
‘Axiom’ lyrically is built around the idea of this apathy, and ways that we could escape it and try to wake up to this corruption that is slowly bleeding into our every day lives unnoticed.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about how the band formed and what is was like pulling it together?
HARKER: So, Harker was formed in 2014 and was very different back then! I met our guitarist Tony through recording his previous band, and I was looking for a ‘backing band’ for my acoustic outfit.. this then slowly kind of morphed via an endless rotation of member changes into the heavier – more loud/fuzz based band we are today!
Matt and Phoebe joined just prior to recording our first full length, and this was when I also switched from playing acoustic guitar to electric guitar. We haven’t looked back since. It’s been a real progression, and it’s certainly been difficult finding the sound we’ve wanted – but ‘Axiom’ I would describe as the sound we’ve been aiming for since forming in 2014.
Q: What does the band enjoy doing when you’re not making music?
HARKER: We’re all pretty busy people ha! Phoebe is the artistic one of the group, drawing up most of our artwork and also screen-prints designs too. Tony is a big horror fan, combined with a love for anything guitar pedal related – he brings the noise so he spends a lot of time finding ways to break our ears. Matt is also an avid film watcher, and I believe is the head of the Jim Carey fanclub (this might not be true, but he does love the guy). In my spare time, I run a tape label, meditate and read a lot – particularly topics on spirituality and the occult. I also write music as Ambiance Fork to keep the musical cogs from freezing up.
Q: What can Harker fans expect to see and hear from you in the near future?
HARKER: Once we’re all vaccinated and rested, we’ll be heading back out on the road. We also have plans for some filmed live sessions, as well as getting our heads down to write more new material. It’s been a long year, just excited to get back out there!
Interviewed by Taylor Berry