Congratulations on the new album – it very much seems like a culmination of everything you’ve been working towards with your previous three albums – how do you feel about the record now that it’s about to be presented to the public? “I couldn’t be more excited to release it. It was always intended to be a companion album to (last year’s) True Crime with more acoustic and cover tracks. However, it really took on a life of its own and got pretty diabolical. It’s very heavy emotionally. I’m hoping people feel that”.
I have to say I certainly did! Will the Covid-19 crisis have much bearing on your promotion for the album? Did you have many live shows planned in support of the launch? “We only have time to do four or five live gigs a year. With all this going on, I don’t know that we’ll get to do any this year. Which sucks of course. We are getting ready to shoot our first music video for the album. Videos are a blast to me and I really plan to expand on promotion through that medium”.
The sound on Blood Kiss seems a lot more focused stylistically – was that a conscious move during the writing process, or just an organic evolution of the way you write for Harnish? “Over the past five years I’ve recorded most of what I consider my best songs. So on Blood Kiss I really started experimenting with my “b” tracks and new material. It took me back to some of the electronic/industrial styles I loved in my youth. My producer, Adam Woods, of Oakwood Studios, has really helped me go in new and exciting directions. On Blood Kiss, it all just came together in this horror-inspired collection of nastiness”.
Who are your biggest influences (a) as a singer, (b) as a player and (c) as a songwriter? “Singer/Songwriter is a toss up between Ronnie James Dio and Glenn Danzig. As a player…Tony Iommi has a guitar style that speaks to my soul”.
Take us track-by-track through the album – give us a thought or two on the writing and recording of each track:
Musica Mortuorum: “When all was said and done the album needed an intro track to tie it all together. Hence Musica Mortuorum was born. It’s a straight up nod to the Evil Dead“.
Blood Kiss: “I made a terrible demo recording of this song maybe fifteen years ago under a different title. I always thought it had great potential. When it was finished, I was like… holy shit… that’s Blood Kiss“.
Move Inside: “We start filming on the music video for this next week. We went all out with an Exorcist style set. It’s going to be straight out of hell”.
This Is My Life: “This is probably the most depressing song I’ve ever written. I’ve never felt anything to this extreme, but it’s definitely based on the worst of my fears and insecurities. It has brought a few tears with early screeners… I couldn’t ask for a more positive review”.
Black Snake Moan: “It’s a Blind Lemon Jefferson cover…but it was Samuel L Jackson’s version in the movie that inspired me. One of the greatest scenes ever. I love my metal mixed with blues and I just had to lay down a metal version of this”.
The Night Hag: “The Night Hag is a breath-stealing female demon. I didn’t even know about Covid-19 at the time, but now the lyrics make me think of everything that has happened with the pandemic”.
Deep: “This is a cover of the first Danzig song I heard. It was on the X-Files soundtrack and it was love at first listen. I was like… who is this demonic southern bad ass singing? Adam kind of mapped out a way to make it straight rock and less electronic, then Weird (Paul Brown, drums) just steps in a lays down that fucking crazy beat”.
Kiss The Ghost: “This is another one I revisited from about fifteen – twenty years ago. We didn’t change much on it. I was very close to my grandparents and when they all had passed away it really weighed on me. It’s all about those feelings of love that ultimately come with grief and loss”.
Of Yesterday: “It’s just a straight up romance track. It’s a little fun, a little seductive. Probably the only glimmer of light on this dark musical tome”.
Childeater: “I had a rough draft of this in my mind and we just fleshed it out in the studio. It’s a horror album and this song obviously has roots in Hansel and Gretel. But man it turned out wicked… we joked that it feels like a Satanic Disney song. In the middle of recording…Adam is like ‘this song needs cello’. The next thing I know he’s adding real cello…not crappy synth cello. And damn, it took it to a whole new level of evil”.
Jesus, Mary and the Holy Ghost: “Just like Deep with Danzig, this was the first Dio song I heard. I was instantly hooked and worked back through his catalogue of masterpieces. I did a little guitar on it, but mostly just got to scream all those badass lyrics. Weird on the drums and Adam’s lead guitar…just WOW. Bad to the mother-fucking bone. I couldn’t have got this done without them two”.
A Long Time In The Dark: “It’s about the temptations in life and how they lead us astray. I love my children so much and I want them to look back and know I was true. I am petrified of that day when I’ll leave them for the other side…so I just faced it head-on, the best way I know how, with music. It will be a tear-jerker they can play at my funeral”.
Lonesome Town: “This Ricky Nelson cover was a late addition, but ended up being the perfect way to cap off such an emotionally heavy album. I strayed from the original and wrote a third verse which ties back to True Crime. Like a heavy metal Easter Egg”.
Hypotheticals now; when the Coronavirus fog lifts, and in an ideal world, with money or record label interference not a problem answer this question: there is going to be a hell of a lot of touring going on – what would be an ideal package tour for Harnish to step on to best get their music out to the right audience? “I think we’d fit right in opening up for Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. I think that crowd would get us. Maybe the twins of evil could be triplets?”
Anything else you’d like to say to the readers of Sentinel Daily about the new album? “It’s been a crazy year and hard for many people. For someone to take the time to listen to this album, or even one song is truly humbling. Dark and heavy albums like this have gotten me through rough times in the past… I just hope this album does that for someone out there. And one last bit of bad news…Paul Brown, who has been a key part of recording and live shows is leaving the band. He’s got a career opportunity and we wish him the best. He’s been the heart of soul of the band since In Dark Water… Matt Duvall, who has also been shredding with us since our first live shows is hanging up the guitar for now. To tell you how important Matt and Paul have been is impossible to put in words. I love them both and wish them the best”.
Thanks for your time!
Blood Kiss will be released on May 18th.