Music | Nai Harvest Interview at Beacons Festival 2014

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How did you find your set on the Noisey stage earlier?

Sick yeah, it was good. It’s the first time we’ve played a festival of this size. We’ve never done a camping festival before. We’ve done city festivals like Southsea and Tramlines but we’ve never done a camping festival, this is our first one.

How does it differ from city festivals?

I like it cos it’s like a fun weekend. I prefer it. You feel part of something which is kind of nice. I like festivals because it’s not just you playing. There’s so many bands and you get to see all of your mates, that’s the best thing about it really. As soon as we’ve done this we’ll go and get a few beers.

This is a festival in Yorkshire. Do you celebrate being from this county?

Yeah we love it. We proper love being a Sheffield band. I live in Manchester now, but I miss Sheffield every time I go home. Like every time I come home I’m like “Yes, I’m back!” Even if at some point in the future we move to London, we’ll always say we are a Sheffield band.

What is special about people and music from Yorkshire?

Everyone’s nicer. Evryone helps each other out. I think in general the music scene loves Yorkshire bands, I don’t know why, it’s just a thing. Leeds is doing really fucking well for good venues and stuff like this. I mean Sheffield’s got so many good bands but not enough good venues, so hopefully they’ll get a few more going. I don’t really hear that much out of Wakefield and that. Manchester is always good. I know it’s not Yorkshire but it’s in the North. Liverpool’s great, too.

What do you think of the way that the Beacons lineup plays electronic music and DJs alongside punk?

I don’t mind it, cos I’m just going to get fucked and listen to dance music. I’ve got to say, the lineup isn’t as good as the past two years. They might do more punk next year, I don’t know, but I don’t really mind. Half the bands that we are going to see today we have either seen before or have played with, so we’re just doing a round of all the boys really, all the ‘mates’ bands.

Tell me a bit about your new split EP with Playlounge, ‘Flower.’

We were friends with Playlounge for a while and we floated this idea of doing a split with some rfriends. Dunno really, it just happened. We’re both flowery bands I guess, so Darren from Dog Knights suggested that we do a flower vinyl, and we were like ‘can you even do that?’ and apparently you can, so we did it. It’s cool. It’s a new single from each of us. They had just put their album out and we had put our 7” out, so we wanted to realease it around that time, so we could follow it up quite quickly with a single. And then we just cover one another’s songs.

Did you start out by doing covers when you formed the band?

Aww no. Nah. I don’t think we’ve ever played a cover live, ever.

How did you find covering their song, then?

Laurie from Playlounge sent me a video of him playing it really slowly so I just watched his hands, he didn’t bother writing it out. I just watched him and figured it out. I did the same thing, I replied to Laurie with a video of us playing ‘Floor’. It’s kind of weird covering somebody else’s song, especially when it’s like your mates. It’s more pressure. We covered a Teenage Fanclub song recently, and I felt less pressure covering them than I did Playlounge, cos they’re our mates and if we did it shit they’d be like ‘yeah that was shit lads.’ We wanted to do our mates justice, it’s quite weird.

What do you like most about the early 90s American sound?

I don’t know how I got into it. My dad listened to Oasis, and I probably got into through going to Manchester more and being part of it. The 90s were just really good for music. We’re not trying to like do it again, we’re not like a revival band, we just wanted to take a bit of influence from it and do it.

Do you ever feel like you are pressured into being original?

We never intentionally copy anything,  we write whatever we want and it just comes out the way it is. I don’t think particularly we are a 90s band. Maybe the guitars and that’s it. I don’t think the vocals and the structures of the songs are 90s. I think just the effects and the fuzz pedals. We’re like a punk/emo band, and we’ve just got a load of fuzz pedals. I went a bit mad and bought loads of pedals.

Herbert Read once said that a Yorkshireman’s best talent was to mask his emotions, yet you’re an emo band.

My dad’s a southerner, so I don’t know. I don’t think our songs are overly emotional, they’re not really personal. None of the songs are about anything that really happened to me properly. So maybe I am a proper Yorkshireman, maybe I do mask my emotions a bit. Because everyone goes ‘ah, Nai Harvest; emotional songs.’ But not really, they don’t mean anything to me – not in a bad way! I’m a bit of a fantasiser, so all the lyrics are detatched. I don’t listen back to a song and say ‘bloody hell, that was a hard time of my life’ because that is not what any of the songs are about. They’re just more about fantasy situations and like dreams and weird shit like that.

Does that mean you are working more towards a sound than a concept?

Yeah. I want all our songs to be like a dream. They’re not real. These things never happened, but they very well could happen to you. Or situations like cutting your arms off and pulling your eyes out. A bit acid dreamy. Not the drugs, though. I just have weird dreams and write about them.

You are a duo. Was that always the plan?

A year or two ago we floated the idea of getting a few more members. But we get each other now, and we know what we want. It’s too hard to introduce another person to the band. It’s too far now. It’s just pointless. Guitar amps don’t argue back, so we’ll buy loads more amps and loads more shit, but we don’t need more members. It would ruin the balance we have. It’s our band. It wouldn’t feel organic. I’m open to the idea of starting another band in the future with more members, but this band, til the day we die, will always just be the two of us.

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