The Edge caught up with Harry Radford and his guitarist Lloyd Alexander before their recent show at the Joiners in support of Harry’s newly released solo EP Pressure Makes Diamonds. We discussed, among other things, the future of Harry’s work with Scottish post-hardcore band Yashin, what music they listen to on tour and Lloyd’s love of Justin Bieber.
How long have you been thinking about recording a solo record?
Harry: I was in Sweden, recording with my producer and we were writing songs for other artists and one day I said to him, can I just record something for me, without any restrictions or anything like that. That song ended up being ‘Gallery,’ one of the ones on the new record. After I recorded it, I wanted to keep it, and that sparked off the whole process.
How did the other guys in Yashin feel about you doing some solo work?
H: Some were more supportive than others at first, but they saw that, at the end of the day, you have to do what makes you happy.
Lloyd: I think that they actually came around quite quickly when they realised it wouldn’t affect the work they were doing with Yashin. At the beginning there were a few difficulties though.
H: Yeah, it’s all okay now though. They understand that it’s what I want to do, so it’s all good.
Are you happy with the reception you’ve had for your solo work so far?
H: It’s mostly been what I expected. If anything I was expecting it to be more negative than it was, people have either loved it or hated it, and I think that’s better than getting mediocre reviews. There are people who’re going to listen to it and immediately hear that it’s not like Yashin and dismiss it , and that’s fine to have that opinion. But personally, I love all kinds of music from hip hop to metal and I tried to bring that across on the record. Some rock magazines embraced it and some didn’t.
L: I think that’s what we were looking for really. You don’t want everyone to like something, because if they do, it never really gets the push it needs. It’s the debate that pushes the project and gets people talking about it, so we like to embrace that conflict.
What sort of music do you guys enjoy listening to at the moment?
H: It’s a complete mix for me, I listen to Fall Out Boy, Of Mice and Men, Sleeping With Sirens and other bands like that, but also, I love pop music, especially Katy Perry! Anybody who says they don’t like Katy Perry’s music is just trying too hard to be cool. Her music is written by some of the greatest songwriters in the world, who probably write for some of every rock fan’s favourite bands.
L: Yeah, it’s true! The guy who writes a lot of Justin Bieber’s songs also writes for Bon Jovi and Bullet for My Valentine. I love pop music, I went to see Justin Bieber and I’m not ashamed! [laughs]It was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, visually and sonically!
If you could tour with any band or artist who would you pick?
H: That’s hard. I feel like we could fit in on quite a lot of tours. We could tour with You Me At Six and All Time Low or we could tour with more pop type acts like Lana Del Rey.
L: I think we should tour with Bieber! The fan base we’d get from that would be insane.
H: I think you’ve got a little man crush on him! [laughs]
Have you ever had a very intense fan experience?
H: Well, I have fans that write me letters telling me about how my music has helped them and things like that. They send me razor blades sometimes, letting me know that my music has helped them stop self harming. That can be hard for me sometimes, as I’ve never done anything like that myself, but it’s really great that my music’s been able to help people like that.
How’s your work with Yashin going at the moment?
H: Well, Yashin are demoing now. We’ve got fifteen songs ready. For me, Yashin’s album and touring schedule will come first, but then I would like to try and record a full solo album at some point. I’m touring with Yashin in October, we’re doing mainland Europe, so that’s the next step for me after this tour’s over.