Harry Hess, the powerhouse vocalist behind Harem Scarem, one of Canada’s most acclaimed hard rock outfits, is back with a vengeance singing for First Signal. The new studio project finds him paired with Dennis Ward and a dream team of other songwriters and players. We had the honor of having Harry take a few moments to answer some questions for The Rock and Roll Report!
Q: Like many other fans of Harem Scarem, I was really disappointed to hear the band broke up. What were some of the reasons for ending the many productive years with Harem Scarem to open up this exciting new chapter with First Signal?
A: I felt we were starting to repeat ourselves on our last few records, but, more importantly, it came down to dividing my time between H.S and making other peoples records, and not having enough time to do both properly. I also just signed a publishing deal with Universal Music worldwide as a writer, so I knew that would really limit my time for other things.
Q: There is an all-star list of songwriters on board for this First Signal project – how did you manage to put together such a fantastic team?
A: I have to give credit to Serafino at Frontiers [Records] and also Dennis Ward for putting all this together, and I was just brought in on the project.
Q: Who came up with the name First Signal, and what relevance does it have?
A: The name was in place when I got involved, or so it seemed.
Q: Who are your favorite artists, and who has had the biggest influence on your style?
A: In the early days it was Queen, Def Leopard, Boston, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden, but I also listened to whatever was on the radio.
Q: As an accomplished veteran of the music biz, I’d like to get your perspective on how it has evolved over the past few decades…
A: More of a dismantling than evolution. Ever since Harem Scarem started all we heard was, “Wow, I can’t believe how bad things are this year,” and that has continued for over twenty years now. I love technology, but it has made it difficult for new artists to create a solid foundation to build from.
A: Our first sold-out shows in Japan were pretty cool, and too many lows to mention! [laughs]
Q: What are some of your favorite moments with First Signal so far?
A: I went out to L.A. to shoot a video for “This City“, which was fun.
Q: Do you see continued collaboration with First Signal, or would you consider completing another solo record?
A: I am planning on doing another solo record soon, but I would definitely make another First Signal record as well.
Q: Now, just for fun, let us know the first thoughts that come to mind when you hear the following:
American Idol: Hope I get a song on one of their records.
Canadian rock: With our population we have a pretty high output of talent in all genres.
Frontiers Records: The last of the melodic labels!
President Obama: Inherited a mess.
MP3: Not a fan.
Autotune: A lot of people wouldn’t be making records without it.
Facebook: I’m trying to fight joining it as we speak.
Bacon: Tempting, but will eventually be our demise. On second thought, that is my answer for all of the above.
To keep up with all the latest from Harry Hess: www.myspace.com/harryhess