- An Interview with Harry Stafford Jammerzine Exclusive 32:00
Harry Stafford has just dropped his new album titled ‘Gothic Urban Blues’ today and, in addition to the review, we have an exclusive interview with the man himself. This is a real treat because, as you will see in the interview, Harry is an astute expert on all things music, you get a glimpse of the personality that writes and records such varied and signature songs.
Speaking of signature songs, ‘Gothic Urban Blues’ is ten tracks of pure musical evolution. Harry has found his sound the way that icons such as Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen have. That brilliant mix of piano, jazz/rock/pop and original hooks that only Harry can piece together in the way they are displayed on ‘Gothic Urban Blues’. I say this not only as a collective of tracks that an album is but on the singular level. Each song can stand on its own as a single. That’s where the musical magic happens.
As of March 27, the ‘Gothic Urban Blues’ LP is available everywhere, including iTunes and Spotify. It is also available for pre-order on vinyl and CD via the artist’s Bandcamp (the physical release will occur closer to summer). The launch performance by Harry Stafford and Guitar Shaped Hammers will be announced at a later date.
Check out our review of Harry Stafford’s track ‘Painted Ocean’ HERE.
Check out our review of Harry Stafford’s track ‘She Just Blew Me Away’ HERE.
About Harry Stafford & ‘Gothic Urban Blues’
Manchester-based indie music stalwart Harry Stafford presents his new album ‘Gothic Urban Blues’ via Black Lagoon Records, previewed by singles ‘She Just Blew Me Away’ and ‘Painted Ocean’, a smokey, barroom piano-blues lament that is “a message that riffs on a sublime ‘painted’ ocean, which, while once was a heaving beautiful living thing, is now a dump!” says Harry Stafford.
This is an album about the Metropolis, the naked city, the urban sprawl and the need to get back to the ripped back streets when you’re far away. If there are a million stories in the naked city, here are a few to keep you warm.
Mixed and engineered by Ding Archer (The Fall, PJ Harvey) at his 6Db Studio in Salford, this album was co-produced by Archer and Harry Stafford and was Inspired by the musings of such jazz and blues stalwarts as Mose Allison and Hoagy Carmichael.
Harry Stafford is best known as founder, guitarist, and vocalist of post-punk gothic rockers Inca Babies. His band Guitar Shaped Hammers includes drummer Rob Haynes (The Membranes, Inca Babies), trumpeter Kevin Davy (Lamb, Cymande), guitarist Andy Mills, and Vincent O’Brien on Weisseborn slide guitar.
Formed in the early 1980s, Inca Babies released four albums and multiple singles and Peel sessions. Much of his musical career has been spent with Inca Babies, playing across Europe and the world but in 2015, after 35 years with Inca Babies, Stafford decided to release untamed solo material that echoes his love of blues piano and barroom ballads.
The new album ‘Gothic Urban Blues’ and debut solo album ‘Guitar Shaped Hammers’ (2017), are the inevitable result, reflecting a multitude of ideas around a driving yet lilting punk-piano blues. The idea was for Stafford to leave his noisy electric guitar behind – abandoning everything he held and cherished – to make some new music with a piano and a head full of ideas.
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The new album features a more defined sound of a band finding its stride. The band is hereforth called Guitar Shaped Hammers to reflect this cohesion of musical unity – with more guitars from Vincent O’Brien, and an additional layered sonic blast from Nick Brown (The Membranes). With intense percussion from Rob Haynes and a truly masterful trumpet contribution from jazz supremo Kevin Davy, the result is very much the soundtrack of a basement radio station stumbling across a new genre they’ve tagged Gothic Urban Blues.
“It was important to reassemble these musicians again as there was a lot of ground we hadn’t covered. I had about fourteen songs and selected ten to be on the record. They were songs I had been playing around the bars of Manchester in order to hone into a neat arrangement,” says Harry Stafford.
“I rehearsed with Rob and Vincent and we laid down a foundation, allowing Nick and Kevin to add their unique elements. Their parts were there to compete and yet complement each other. Kevin is a hugely in-demand jazz musician, who graces the funk of Cymande and the smooth grooves of Lamb, not to mention his jazz workshops in London. I wanted Kevin to radiate his love of Miles Davis and send a wave of goosebumps and steely soul through the spine of this sound. Nick, with a guitar born of jagged punk and sinister drones, was to create a brittle edge to balance the beauty.”