Local Focus: Harry & The Hendersons

By Andy McCall, Music Editor

Hey!  So you’re a Glasgow based band, but you just formed last year right?  So you’re still pretty fresh to the Glasgow scene.  Could you give a quick band biography? Tell us a little bit about your sound and your influences?

We formed just over a year and a half ago myself, Harry and Megan just the three of us started making demo’s (putting harmonies on songs harry had wrote previously) mostly for fun at our friend Iain’s home studio and around the same time my sister was looking for bands to present to electric honey (as part of her course) to be considered to possibly release some music. We never really thought we had a shot but we gave her the demos anyways and within a couple of days we were asked to meet Ken Mclusckey formerly of the Bluebells and see if we wanted to work together. We decided that we would release a double A side single choosing two of the very few songs we had called Give me Proof and New York’s Lost Island Of Lepers. So we hastily put together a band mostly using friends we knew in other bands. The band line up became me(Stuart Neil) on vocals and acoustic guitar my  brother Andrew Neil on lead guitar and vocals, Megan Airlie on vocals, Harry Mulvenna on vocals, Michael Pryce on drums, Jack Richardson on Bass and Joss Kelly on Piano. We recorded the singles in two days at La chunky studios in the west end. After we recorded the singles we did a bit of writing and practising and made our debut gig a month or so later at Stereo we got a good reaction which lead on to a great creative period for the band we then recruited Robbie Henderson and Rachel Wilson on trumpet and sax to fill out our live sound. We played a few smaller gigs in and around Glasgow at venues like Buff Club and Chai Ovna . We then went on to play a string of shows at Edinburgh fringe which was an amazing experience playing sometimes 2/3 shows a day at the Tron Kirk to a few hundred people every time. Our sound happened fairly naturally we all have similar tastes in music, The Band, The Eagles but as everything happened in such a short space of time we just kind of ended up with the sound we have we never intended or thought out being a folk band that’s just what people described us as after the singles came out. Recently Andrew and Megan have left to pursue their own musical projects and we wish them the best of luck. Bastards!  However Vincent Deighan a close friend of the band has came in to take over vocals ukulele and guitar duties.  the new line up will debut at King Tuts on the 6th of January.


For country/folk band, how have you found assimilating yourself into the Glasgow music scene?

Due to the nature of how the band was formed and what’s happened since we haven’t really done much to fit or become part of the scene most of the gigs we have done have been offered to us through Electric Honey, however we have a small loyal following and hope to start getting the name and the music out there now in the new year to build

You have an extensive line-up.  You may be the first band local focus has interviewed with more than 5 members!  What inspired you to become a bigger band?  Does everyone have a say in the writing process? And does that have its draw backs – has there ever been a bust up about whether to have a sax or a guitar solo?

To be honest we never really intended for it to be a large band it just kind of turned out that way. The trumpet and sax are only on certain songs that we felt needed something extra to make it larger sounding when playing live.  The main songwriters are the singers we usually bring in an idea for a song or semi finished song and everyone jams until they have parts then we all discuss things like structure or where certain parts should go. everyone does get a say but generally the songwriter leads the way on arrangement however we do employ a majority rules format when it comes to its a sax solo or a guitar solo.


You also have been gigging quite prolifically since the summer.  How has that been?  Do you have a specific gig that sticks out in your memory?


Yes, it was mostly gigs through in Edinburgh for the Fringe.   We played the closing night of the PBH free fringe in the Jam House which is Jools Hollands venue which was a great experience the sound was excellent and we played alongside a rock band from India called Thermol and a Quarter who we later found out were in the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine India.


I believe the band is also working on a new EP.  Could you tell us a little bit about that?  What it’s influences are, any themes behind the songs? 

Yes we’ve got a few finishing touches to put on it but its sounding great so far we have been working with Spad at La Chunky, who really understands what we are trying to do. So it makes it easy and exciting time in the studio.  One theme that seems to keep appearing in our song writing is our collective lack of money.


What’s your favourite venue to play in Glasgow?

Stereo.  We played there a few times and it just always seems to have a great sound.  Plus the stage fits us all which is a nice change!


And finally, other than the EP release, what’s planned in the near future for Harry & The Hendersons? 

Well we are headlining a gig on the 6th of January in King Tuts and will be announcing more gigs next year to release the EP and promote it.


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