Photo by Blackbird Photography
Fresh off the back of releasing their debut record in 2017, Harbour Sharks have moved into the New Year with some major momentum and a whole host of lofty ambitions. We had a chat with Jack Morris and Rob Rees to discuss their thoughts on the past year as well as their plans for the future…
First things first – who are Harbour Sharks?
Jack: We are a four piece from Kingston, London who formed in 2015. We consist of Jack (vocals), Rob (guitar), Tom (bass) and Rich (drums).
How would you describe your sound to anyone who’s not familiar with your music?
Rob: Loud, groovy metal with hardcore and pop punk overtones.
2017 was a big year for you guys, with your debut album A History of Violence being released. How well was the record received?
Rob: Pretty well. All of the reviews have been very positive, bar the one token disgruntled reviewer who hated it. Our fans have been digging it and we’ve played some stonking shows off the back of History.
Jack: I was actually looking forward to having some more constructive criticism – guess I’ll just have to settle with the overwhelming good response!
What was the recording process like?
Rob: It was very intense, but a brilliant experience from start to finish. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as I have than when we were recording the album. We started with a day and half of drum tracking, which Richard smashed out like nobody’s business. We then moved into Jack’s house with our producer, Toni, and his studio to record the rest. Recording at Jack’s house was fantastic because didn’t have to stick to regular studio hours, so we could lay tracks down when we were feeling creative even if it was one in the morning. Also Jack has a PS4 and Star Wars Battlefront.
Jack: As a DIY band, we had a limited amount of time and finances but luckily the process was generally smooth. We enlisted the help of our good friend and engineer Antonio Hanna of Freefall Studios who as a producer got the best out of us to perfect the songs. We had some intense long days, initially with recording drums which was more or less non-stop for 14 hours. To also avoid paying for studio hire when it came to recording guitars, bass and vocals, we set up a studio in my front room. Unfortunately we couldn’t finish vocals as the neighbours weren’t too happy with the volume, so they got postponed for a couple of months.
Were you excited for the record to come out, or more relieved that everyone could finally get the chance to hear it?
Rob: A bit of both, really. I think we were also a bit nervous about it coming out as we didn’t want everyone to hate it!
Jack: It was certainly a bit of both. Excited for people to hear the album in its entirety and relief to get it out as we’d been sitting on it for almost a year. It’s been a personal goal of mine to release an album, but to also have the opportunity to express what I’d been going through whilst writing it was cathartic. It’s been the perfect outlet for me to talk about issues I hadn’t had the strength to talk about before.
You’ve been honing your craft as a live band a lot of the past 12 months. How far do you think you’ve come in that short space of time?
Rob: Pretty far, I’d say. We’ve got our live shows down to a fine art now, although there’s still work to be done. We’re definitely ready to take the show across the country (and further) and see what new audiences think of the sweatiest and loudest thirty minutes we have to offer.
Jack: We’ve immensely enjoyed the gigs we’ve played and the people we’ve met in the last 12 months. There’s always room for improvement and this year we’re going to focus on our stage production a bit more. We do like being a raw live band that doesn’t have to worry or rely on lights, banners, confetti etc. but we shall see how we can step it up.
Do any of you have any weird and wonderful pre-gig rituals?
Rob: Nothing that weird or wonderful. Typically it involves KFC and beer.
Jack: From the moment I wake up I think about the gig and things to say and what to do when I’m finally on stage. As far as pre-gig rituals go, not really. I just try to drink enough water in the hour before set time to ensure my vocals are at their best. If we’re far from home we do enjoy a services stop to spend about £50 on fast food.
What other up and coming bands are you big on at the moment?
Rob: Employed to Serve’s latest album was absolutely fantastic and I’m definitely expecting big things for them. Likewise with Vanity UK.
Jack: The last couple months I’ve mostly been listening to Code Orange, Employed to Serve, Venom Prison and Jamie Lenman.
Photo by Conor Prentice
If you could put together a dream tour with you guys and three other bands, who would they be and why?
Rob: It would have to be Slipknot, A Day to Remember and Every Time I Die. I mean, just imagine that line-up without Harbour Sharks opening the show!
Jack: I agree!
What piece of advice do you wish that you could give to your younger selves?
Rob: Don’t waste your time on people who suck. Also see Motorhead a few more times.
Jack: Don’t give up, keep writing and practicing and look after yourself.
What do you most want to achieve in 2018?
Rob: We want to take History to bigger audiences across the UK and Europe, so there’s going to be a lot of touring. We’re also going to start working on new music, so watch this space.
Jack: There’s many things we want to achieve this year but if I can only pick one then I’d narrow it down to playing a major festival, either Download or Bloodstock.
To bring this to a close – describe Harbour Sharks in 3 words…
Rob: Loud, sweaty, hilarious.
Watch the recent video for ‘The Killer Inside Me’ here…
Be sure to also check out Harbour Sharks’ debut album on Spotify, and keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook page to be the first to know the dates for their upcoming tour this April…
Interview & Words: Shaun Brown