We caught up with comedic duo Harry and Chris ahead of their UK tour to discuss how they started, inspirations and exactly what makes them tick.
What ignited your creativity when you were starting out?
We used to do a paper round from the same newsagent as teenagers which gave us a lot of time with the wind in our hair and ideas in our satchels. Chris used to write about girls and Harry wrote about being a nerd, and we’d like to think we’ve come a long way since then.
Where was your most challenging place to perform and why?
We recently gigged in Walton-on-thames as part of our tour which was a lovely venue and audience but Harry struggled slightly because he had got back from Singapore the day before so was 8 hours out of kilter. So much so he started doing Chris’s parts of the song which works surprisingly well until it requires any actual tuneful singing and then we had to start again. In general we’ve not had any major horror stories yet – our stuff is pretty all-age friendly so tends to translate okay into different environments.
How did you two meet? Do you remember the moment?
Chris first remembers Harry as the Year 6 National Kwik-Cricket champion who brought honour and glory to our local primary school, Harry to his shame doesn’t think he remembers Chris until a couple of years later in secondary school as the cool guy in bands in the year above. In reality our lives were intertwined from a young age so it was only a matter of time before we progressed from a teenage Dizzee Rascal/Alex Turner tribute act to a fully-fledged comedy-rap-jazz-duo.
What would you say to young creatives who are trying to find a focus and an audience for their creative energy?
Have fun with it. So many of our ideas came from trying to make each other laugh and I think that’s infectious. On a practical level it’s great to get out there on the open mic scene and try stuff out, but if you can be driven by the love of what you do it makes it a lot easier to keep going when things seem tricky.
Harry, how do you practice thinking in rhyme on the spot? Do you have any techniques or tricks, or is it just consistent practice?
It’s a lot of practice! I used to have long pun-offs with my dad in the car when I was young which honed that particular way of thinking and then it was a case of rapping to myself in the shower and seeing how long I could go for. That combined with a stint doing rap battles with Don’t Flop (UK-based battle league) threw me in at the deep end, so compared to that at least with Chris it’s equally fun when it goes wrong and when it goes well.
Is there anyone who really inspires you?
Tonnes of people. Coming from very different worlds we’ve really enjoyed getting involved in the comedy circuit and getting to know other performers, of the top of our heads Rob Auton is amazing, as is Rose Matafeo, Flo and Joan, and the Kagools were personal faves of our from the fringe last year, all doing very different things but inspiring for different reasons. the most obvious inspiration long term has been flight of the Conchords.
When writing a song what comes first, words or melody? And how does it develop?
It used to be one then the other, but recently it’s become a much more collaborative process. We’ll try and come up with a chorus together and then throw ideas back and forth for verses. It’s Harry writing this so I’m happy to admit Chris holds pretty much all the musical talent but it’s become much more of a two-way thing as times gone on and it’s all the better for it!
(Image courtesy of The Harry and Chris Show 2)
Harry and Chris will be performing ‘The Harry & Chris Show 2’ at Leeds Student Union in 5th December. For more information and tickets please visit www.harryandchris.com/