Ahead of their headlining show at Highbury Garage, an afternoon with… The Hara
Words: Shannon Eacups
Josh Taylor (vocalist), Zack Breen (guitarist) and Jack Kennedy (drummer) make up Manchester rock trio, The Hara. A band whose captivating style and intriguing sound has everyone turning heads and asking the very question, ‘who is The Hara?’. Whether it’s the theatrical display of ‘Animals’, the electric rock’n’roll energy of ‘Tramp Brain’, or the anthemic stadium rock styling of ‘Domino’ these guys have something for everyone. Now gather round, grab a drink and dim the lights while we take a deep dive into the minds of the most exciting band at the moment.
Before the interview has already begun they’re already excited about kicking off their tour in Blackpool with the hope of some luscious, heat-ridden weather instead of the icy cold afternoon that graced their presence.
I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview today ahead of your busy touring schedule. So let’s cut to the chase: for those who don’t know, who is ‘The Hara’?
Josh: That’s us three. Three top blokes. We make music, we jam. We give the show to the people, we give the people what they want – that’s our motto. Y’know the people want it, we provide it. Whether that be rock n roll, whether that be a good time, we’ve got it.
You guys have such a diverse sound I have to ask, who are your influences?
Zack: We’ve got loads of influences. It’s always a difficult question to answer because it changes all the time. I think we’ve got our bands or artists who we love and musicians who have inspired us throughout the course of us being musicians but as a collective I think we’re inspired by loads of different people not necessarily just artists. I think Bring Me The Horizon, Limp Bizkit, all those bands. My mind goes blank when I’m asked these kinds of questions.
Josh: We don’t put no boundaries [on our music].
Zack: We take from it and just absorb as much as we can.
‘We give the show to the people, we give the people what they want … Whether that be rock n roll, whether that be a good time, we’ve got it.’
What’s your favourite track from the new EP, ‘We All Wear Black’?
Josh: ‘We All Wear Black’, the lead track, I really love that I think it’s a good middle road.
Zack: I agree with that. I think ‘We All Wear Black’, maybe not for the obvious reasons because it’s our last song we’ve gotta release before it all kicks off. It’s got this point in time now where after tomorrow, midnight tonight, that’s it now lads that’s it!
Jack: I like ‘Black Soul Ceremony’.
Josh: ‘The Fool And The Thief’ is really good though. They’re all class!
For those of us heading down to your London show April 7 what can we expect? Any surprises up your sleeves?
Josh: Not really… it’s a brand new set that we’ve never done in terms of how we’re running the set. We’ve got a lot of added musical elements within the set that we’ve never tried before but expect the usual crazy, theatrical show that we always try and give. We’re changing it up a little bit but it’s going to be just as crazy as we always are. Obviously you’ll hear ‘We All Wear Black’.
Since you’re heading out on tour, what does ‘A day in the life of The Hara on tour’ look like?
Jack: It’s very chilled out in the van. We all keep to ourselves and play games and then when we get to the venue our ADHD kicks in and we start going a bit nuts, and then there’s usually a lull just before the show and then it’s hectic and then we all crash and die. Not literally, though.
Zack: It’s a roller-coaster of emotion.
No wild partying or anything?
Josh: When we’ve got a day off, or it’s the last show, we go a bit mental, but if we’ve got a show the next day we’ve gotta be good.
Of course, I mean you don’t want to do a show hungover or anything…
Josh: Oh, I couldn’t think of anything worse in fact. Zack tried that once.
Zack: It was years ago, and I’ve never done it since, and I will never do it again. It’s nowhere near as glamorous as you think it is. Horrible.
‘We told Paddy that we were going to fly like an aeroplane but instead we went on the roof and got the golf kit out.’
Go on lads, every band has at least one – tell us your wildest tour story?
Jack: Well, for public consumption: zero.
Josh: [Inspired by a memory] Oh, I know. The whole Ireland thing… we can tell part of that story. We went to Ireland for two weeks and we stayed at this guy’s – well, it wasn’t his – he was like the caretaker of this really… I don’t know what it was. It was this mad, crazy asylum thing and he let us stay there and me and Jack just got bored one day, so we ended up exploring and there’s all these secret staircases – they used to have servants in this place so they had servant staircases so we went down and found this wardrobe which had a golf set in it. We told Paddy that we were going to fly like an aeroplane, but instead we went on the roof and got the golf kit out and started knocking golf balls as far as we could. It was a big open field but on the other side, there’s like a main road, LOL. Someone basically grassed us up because there were these flats that overlooked the house and the police came out of nowhere and they were like, ‘We’ve had reports that you guys were shooting golf balls into the road’ and we were like ‘Nah, we’re not. We can’t even fire it that far just in the field,’ and they were like ‘oh fair enough’. Then we told them we had a show in Dublin, and they were like ‘ah cool’, and we’re like ‘you should come’ and they’re like ‘yeah might do’, and then they went off. It was great fun, I loved it! I don’t think we hit them on the main road, though maybe we did.
As most of our readers are BIMM students – including yourselves once – what advice would you give to bands who are just starting out?
Zack: I’d say get on social media, get online. I think a lot of bands, especially in my experience at university, everybody wants to be super cool all the time and I think a lot of bands in university circuits shy away from making use of the tools that are at their disposal. Be it social media, maybe they might feel there’s a sort of taboo behind it, for example, like TikTok. A lot of bands miss the mark. They miss a big obvious way to get bigger, quicker and easier by just not wanting to move space and thinking they’re the bees knees so I think that social media is king. And if you’re not on it you need to get on it and build a fanbase. You gotta get on it and sell your soul. Play the game and stop trying to be cool. That’s what I say.
You guys are from Manchester, did you find for what you were doing there was already a scene or did you kinda have to create that scene?
Josh: I mean I think that’s all bollocks really like we’ve never been a Manchester band. I just don’t think that’s a thing anymore like you have to be a scene in your city to grow like there’s so many different ways of doing it and I think now with this whole social media thing you can be anywhere in the world and literally be the biggest artist in the world without even playing a show – it’s that easy. Or you can be massive by just doing videos in your basement now like I don’t think you need to live in London but we definitely have had to go there for certain reasons like studios and writing sessions there is a lot of people for that side of things like the writing and the making of music down in London that we’ve had to make a few trips but I’ve never felt like ‘oh we have to live there to be successful‘.
Final question: on your Instagram you have these promo reels for ‘We All Wear Black’ – how did you come up with this idea? They’re very quirky and exciting!
Josh: I think an idea just popped into my head which made total sense. The lyric is ‘We All Wear Black’, so I said to the lads, ‘Why don’t we just do a jump on it, and then we’re all wearing black’ and I think we did like two [takes]. We did a video in the studio, then we did one outside, and the one outside got like 100,000 views and we’re like ‘okay this works’. Then we did the one in the dress, and I think that’s on like half a billion [views] now and it got to the point where I was just like texting everyone, like, ‘right, I’m going to get a Batman costume now’. It was just the case of thinking of every occasion and costume that had worked with black.
As we wrap up the questions the professional nature disperses and Jack has a confession to make…
Jack: I’ve got a toe that’s backwards.
This is soon followed with utter chaos as Josh proceeds to point out his nose looks like an arrow and shortly thereafter the roles were reversed and the interviewer became the interviewee…
Zack: I’ve got a question for you! What’s your favourite Lamb Of God song?
As cliché as it is: ‘Laid To Rest‘.
Josh: Bet you can’t play that, Zack.
Zack: What, ‘Laid To Rest’? Probably can.
And as we say our final goodbyes before the boys finish packing the last few bits before commencing on their UK tour a sudden realisation hits. This is their life now and there’s no going back, long gone is the nine to five hustle, you can only hope it’s worth it in the long haul, and if The Hara are making it work then it’s proof that anyone can make it work. Take their advice and run with it because at the end of the day what do you really have to lose?
‘We All Wear Black’ is out now via Scruff Of The Neck Records and all major streaming platforms.
‘The Hara’ are now on tour across the UK get your tickets here: theharaband.com
Don’t forget to check out the official music video for their latest single ‘We All Wear Black’ below:
Where to find out more?
Facebook The Hara
Youtube THE HARA