Exclusive Interview: Harrison discusses latest single, new label and early influences
Born and raised in the UK, Harrison has accomplished a lot within the music industry as a raw, talented vocalist and DJ still only in his early 20s. He earned his stripes with early in his career with tracks such as ‘Sally‘ with Hardwell, ‘Holding Up The World‘ with Steve Aoki and ‘Never Rave Again‘ with Laidback Luke.
Since then, Harrison has cranked it up a notch after the success of his Armada, Spinnin’ and Revealed Recordings releases with an imprint of his own; Outlaw Records. Having shared studio time with a prestigious list of artists, Harrison is taking his valuable experience and turning it into the enterprising experiment that is Outlaw Records.
Harrison’s poignant, raw vocals, on ‘Blinding My Vision’ lay out an ambitious path of future bass that merges with his vocal flair. Steering away from his well-known EDM sound, Harrison is expanding his horizons and exploring a new path with his music. We sat down with the talented musician to talk about his latest single and plans for the future and his label.
Hi Harrison! Let’s talk about your latest single, ‘Blinding My Vision.’ What was your inspiration for creating this track?
“I was inspired to make something completely different to what I did before. The big room sound for me isn’t as big as it used to be, so when I was launching my label this year with this being the first song, I needed to make sure that it was a direction that I wanted to go in. Something with emotion but also with power. I really love this song I think it’s very different to what most DJ/ producers are making. On one hand is not necessarily as poppy as a lot of things that are out there being released but I wanted to make something credible, yet still popular music with a unique drop.”
Talk to us about your vocals, did you always have a talent for singing? Was this something that you pursued as a youngster?
“I didn’t ever see myself doing this for a job. Sure, singing made me happy and so did performing but I never realised I was any good at it until much later. In fact, I still I can’t necessarily believe how far I’ve come or that when I was 18 years old, I would end up with records with the likes of David Guetta, Hardwell and Steve Aoki; it’s all been a massive blur for me and a crazy journey.”
How do you feel your sound has evolved over the years? How would you define your style now compared to what it was in the past?
“I definitely feel it is different now to how I started. I really feel like I’m making music now that are real songs, whereas some of my earlier stuff was less emotive, filled with these bombastic drops, which was obviously effective for festivals and nightclubs at three in the morning, but I feel like there is a lot more artistry personally with the music I’m making for myself now, and for my own label, Outlaw Records.”
Tell us about your new Outlaw imprint and how you think it will contribute to the music industry?
“There are a lot of record labels that are factories, and by that I mean five songs have to be released every week with none of those getting the same level of attention. If you are the main artist, obviously all of the budget and promotion goes towards you, therefore leaving the other four tracks or featured artists with less of a chance, whereas at outlaw we are taking our time with every single track, because we believe in everything we are planning to put out and that level of quality. We take our time with music videos, all different visual assets and we only release music that we think is as good as it can be, not just releasing for hell of it. Creativity is a really big thing for me and not just being a sheep, not being told what I can and can’t release – hence the reason why we went with the name outlaw!”
What was your aim for branding out with this on your own, and what is your vision for the label?
“I definitely don’t feel like I’m on my own. I have some really big industry people who are on my team, with vast knowledge of playlists and managements with huge divisions. My aim is hopefully to have something really big one-day and to create something amazing, I will just keep striving to succeed with the support of those around me. At the moment one of my dreams is to have my label as a stage host at a major festival by 2019.”
Growing up in the UK, how did the music scene there influence you? Who were the acts you looked up to?
“I definitely feel like the UK has one of the best music industries. A lot of major artists come from here; The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Sting, Adele, Ed Sheeran, The Prodigy, Calvin Harris – the list goes on! I definitely feel like I love all types of music and all of this shapes the artist that I am today, coming from the UK and growing up with artist like this. It means I really care about lyrics and the feelings of the music.”
Your track ‘Sally’ with Hardwell hit the #1 spot in the Netherlands. What was it about that track that made it so big, do you think?
“I think the promotion on track really helped. We did a television promo the night before and performed at his United We Are Show in a sold-out arena 2 days in a row. Plus, the fact the song is catchy, made it have the success that was also in his year when he was number one DJ in the world.”
You have worked with people like Laidback Luke and Steve Aoki – What did you learn from those guys, and what has been the best advice you’ve been given?
“Luke & Thomas Gold were artists where I actually had a chance to enter into the studio – rather than with guys like Aoki who are, understandably, so busy with world tours and major promo, so somethings these things have to be completed via Skype and email, that is why the internet is so great! But going into the studio with those guys was an amazing experience for me, I learnt so much from trusting your instincts, to growing in terms of my personal processes of working and getting the best out of my vocals.”
How do you think the dance music scene has changed over the course of the past 5 or 10 years?
“For me, the dance music scene will always be a changing one, but I definitely feel like the modern-day rock stars are DJs, more so right now than ever before. I think club music was big before, especially with holidays party islands like an Ibiza being rammed for the last 30 years, you see festivals today selling out in 4 hours like Tomorrowland. So, I can see that the dance music industry is much bigger and now dance songs are all over the radio, there seem to be so many subscribers and playlists now that most of the biggest streamed songs in the world are of that pop/dance music hybrid.”
What is planned for you during the rest of 2018?
“To playing some brand new countries, continue touring around the world to some amazing venues in countries that I’ve already played in like Japan, Asia and Europe. I also want to release tracks around every six weeks for the rest of the year on my new label Outlaw Records.”
Check out the video for the latest masterpiece by Harrison below: