Many Harem Scarem fans were waiting for a return of their Canadian faves and now Harry Hess is back with First Signal. Time to learn a bit more about First Signal and what else keeps Harry Hess busy these days.
When Harem Scarem disbanded many fans hoped for a reunion. Now you are back with First Signal. If I got it right you wanted to produce more, when did you decided to come back?
Yes, I'm very busy with producing, engineering and mixing along with signing a publishing deal with Universal so I really wasn't able to dedicate the time to Harem Scarem.
I guess, Serafino Perugio was the one who got you and Dennis Ward together, right?
Yes, Serafino got in touch with me and asked if I would be interested in singing on a rock record and I was ready to do something in the rock style again after a few years away from it.
There were different song writers involved, so how much influence did you have? Just the vocal lines?
I didn't write on the record at all, I was just asked to be the singer, but I did like the songs that were being presented so I was happy to be involved.
You are a song writer yourself, so can we expect another solo album?
I think so. I just need to find the time to record something for myself, but I'm also debating just putting something new together with other musicians.
Back to First Signal... There is a video for This City. Please tell us about the video shoot!
Well, I shot the video in LA and right before we started there was an earthquake so I'm on the top of a large building surrounded by even larger buildings... I don't look very comfortable, do I?
Would you like to do another video clip? Which tune would you choose?
Yes, I would rather not be in it though!!!!! I think Naked Desire would be cool...
As a producer / song writer you worked with different artists, how important is it for you, for your own music, to work with other people?
I really enjoy staying fresh and excited about the music I'm working on since it is hard work to make a record. I find that when I'm with new people in a not so predictable situation I seem to do good work and enjoy myself a lot. Writing can be tough with new artists, but when it works out the rewards are amazing..
You also produced, mixed, co-wrote for Canadian Idol winner Brian Melo. Many musicians are against casting shows... So, was it just a job? Or do you see something positive in casting shows like Canadian Idol?
I really don't have any strong feelings about the shows themselves either way, because some great talents have been discovered and some not so great singers have ended up making records as well. The songs are the most important thing, so if the record has good songs I'm happy to be a part of the process. The Brian Melo record is something I'm pretty proud of as a producer so I'm glad we got to work together, but we wouldn't have if it wasn't for Idol. That being said I've also made records with some contestants that had no business recording!!!
If a show like that would have existed when you started, do you think you would have give it a try?
Hmmm, I'm not sure I would. It really depends on what you are trying to do as an artist. For Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood I think it was perfect, because it was the only way they ever would have been noticed.
There are two sides to of a coin... Technology made recordings, etc easier, but it also gave us MP3s - which isn't a bad thing -, but it had a negative effect on the market. Playing live becomes more essential again. So, will we get the chance to see you on stage again?
No plans at the moment, but it will happen at some point, yes that is a threat!!!!!
Do you think that special packages or other additional advantages would help selling CDs? Or do we all have to learn to life with this development?
I've always said that we just need to include a twenty dollar bill inside every CD package to get sales going again.
Hope you don't mind I ask one question about Harem Scarem... I heard that some Harem Scarem albums will be re-released as well as previously Japan-only releases will be made available. Is it true? Can you tell us a bit more about it?
I am not aware of any Japan only releases, but the labels wouldn't have to ask my permission to do so… I did hear that our Warner catalog was being released in the U.S. shortly...
What are your plans for the rest of 2010? Studio work?
Yes, I'm finishing up a record here in Canada, then I start another for Sony in Belgium the 1st week of October and also a writing in the U. K. around that time.
Looks like Harry Hess is really busy making / producing music, but I hope he finds time to do a solo album and hit the road again. Meanwhile enjoy First Signal!