Who are you and what are you doing here? (What is your name, what is the band and what is your role in the band?)
My name is Jack and I play bass in alternative/ambient rock quintet, harlequin.
How did the band start?
The band has been through a few lineup changes over the last couple of years. We had a few singers come and go – all great people but sometimes things don’t work out. Our new singer Stephen came along at the end of last year – since then things have picked up considerably.
Unfortunately earlier this year we lost our drummer Luke who had been with the band since the start. Luke played drums on our EP, which we’ll release on 5 September. He wanted to venture off to Canada to look at trees and mountains and sleep outside and whatever else he is doing over there. We were really lucky to have an awesome drummer named Jordan join the band after we’d recorded the EP.
So I guess technically we’ve been around since early 2012 but we’ve only really solidified the lineup as of May 2014.
How would you describe your band?
We have been through a bit of genre change since 2012 – we’ve evolved from more post-hardcore/heavy rock music to a more ambient and epic sound. We still like to throw some heavy moments in there but now they’re kind of combined with a lighter, more post-rock/ambient sound. We’re lucky to have two guitar players with very different styles, who can bounce ideas off each other really well. It’s nice to be in a band with two guitarists who are happy to share the lead roles knowing that they both add their own unique sound.
If you had to choose one song you’ve written that best defines your band which one would it be?
I think we would all answer this differently, but I would have to say ‘Rachunek’. We finished writing that song when we were an instrumental band, and it was the first song Stephen recorded vocals for when he joined. If I was going to pick a song off the EP it’d have to be ‘The Apologist’. It’s got nice ambient parts, some great drum work, and big, soaring vocals at the end layered over a really chunky guitar sound. It’s heaps of fun to play and hopefully puts a smile on people’s faced when they hear and see it live.
In this day and age where anyone is pretty much able to pick up an instrument, what would you say sets your band apart from the rest?
I think it’s sad that’s what people think. It’s fun, but also incredibly hard work being in a band. I think that’s why there are so many average two-piece pop rock bands and one person ‘DIY’ electronic artists flooding the scene at the moment. That’s my opinion anyway.
I’d say the thing that sets us apart is our influences. The couple of bands we all have a massive mutual appreciation for are ones that were never really thrown in people’s faces or commercially popular, at least in Australia. Oceana, Decoder, Polyenso and HRVRD are all big influences on us, and the way we incorporate those influences into our sound is definitely the thing that sets us apart.
Where are people able to hear your songs?
Live would be the best way! Our debut EP will be available on Bandcamp, iTunes and online streaming services like Spotify from 5 September. The lead track from our EP, ‘The Fatalist’ is available for purchase now – check it out at harlequinband.bandcamp.com or on iTunes. We’ll also have CDs for sale at our shows.
Are you playing any shows anytime soon (if you live outside of Australia, do you have any plans for a trip down under)?
We’re embarking on our first east coast tour this September to launch our EP, Univers Parallèle. We’ll be playing at Black Bear Lodge in Brisbane on Friday 5 September, The Reverence Hotel in Melbourne on Saturday 6 September and The Landsdowne Hotel in Sydney on 7 September. It’s going to be a fun few days.
Once we get back from those shows, we’ll be playing at The Zoo in Brisbane on 20 September. We’ve also been lucky enough to be added to a bill for our good friends Aerials’ single launch on 18 October at The New Globe Theatre. It’s going to be a massive night full of great bands – we can’t wait.
What is your proudest moment/greatest achievement as a band?
Though it was with our old members, our first show together back in 2012. It was loud and half of us probably had too much to drink and couldn’t hear each other, but man it was fun. I think once our EP is released and we play these interstate shows together, that will be our proudest moment. I think a first interstate tour for any band is something to look forward to and be proud of, even if it’s just our parents that come along to the shows. That time our single got played on Triple M was a bit of a head-trip too!
Tell us 3 bands that we should be listening to/be keeping an eye out for?
Polyenso – they are amazing! These guys deserve way more credit and attention than what they currently get.
Teal – Super nice dudes from Sydney – they have such a big, unique, engaging sound. They also gave us a slot on the Brisbane leg of their tour so we’re really grateful. Go check them out!
HRVRD – If the guitar tones and his voice don’t pull you in, then I’m not sure what will.
Anything Else you’d like to add?
Massive thanks to everyone who has come to our shows, played our stuff on their radio/podcast and supported us in any way shape or form.
Thanks also to all of our friends, girlfriends and families that have always been positive about what we do, even though we’ll probably be poor forever.
See you at a show!