The Harpoons Interview by Ruth Bailey



Saturday evening and you’re sat in a lounge room with a bunch of other kids watching a movie or, even better, listening to some old school records while your oldies are gathered outside around enjoying a brew – hands in the air if you relate to this type of scenario from your childhood?

No doubt many of us had parents who would get their friends around to entertain from time to time. And I’ll bet, like my parents’ friends, they would often have a hoard of their own children in tow, meaning these kids would be excellent comrades to enjoy some of the best Saturday barbeques possible, where lifelong friendships were forged over Goonies viewing in the living room.

That’s the sort of scene I’m imagining for The Harpoons – a four piece from Melbourne, Australia who have been knocking about since first getting to know each other over the course of those Saturday evenings. The story goes that their parents would play in bands together back in the day, and in one of those funny ‘life imitates art’ moments – it’s no surprise to learn that years on, brothers Henry and Jack Madin have hung on tight to that ‘youthful exuberance’ and are now jamming with their fellow playmates, Bec Rigby and Martin King.

And so this talented quartet, who used to muck about in each other’s backyards as their parents jammed nearby are now making music to rival the likes of Sasquatch and the funkalicious Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, albeit with a tinge of unique pop sensibility thrown in for good measure.

“The Harpoons is like a big family – as individuals we all have a lot of things going on and The Harpoons is a way for us to – mostly have as fun a time, to do our music.”

So says Henry, who has taken time out from #universitylyfe to speak with Cyclic Defrost, which he does from the disused jail yard located adjacent to the RMIT campus. Dodging flying soccer balls as he chats, Harry confides that RMIT is the perfect spot for him and Martin to collaborate, as they are both now in their Honours year of a very cool sounding Fine Arts degree majoring in a modern hybrid course: Sound Art.

“It’s great that Marty and I both study because we can constantly challenge each other, for example we might ask each other – what does this decision affect in our production? And, Sound Art is a lot of instrumentation building and installation works, so it’s fun to dig down, coming up with new ideas and refining them, plus we both have different ways of working.”

While they’re currently swept up in the press and industry support surrounding the release of their debut LP, Falling for you, the actual recording of the is beginning to feel like a long time ago for Henry.

“We actually recorded the songs two years ago. It’s got a new freshness, I mean when you’re making it you’re so in it, so deep – like I did an interview before and I was placed ‘on hold’ and our music was playing over the phone so I mean there is always new ways to experience it, like that.” Henry explains with a laugh. “But it’s a bit like that. We finished it long enough ago that we’re already making new stuff and we’re excited to get new releases out as well.”

The band worked with Melburnian based producer, Nick Huggins on the album’s ten tracks which integrate the harmonies and vocal stylings of Bec Rigby and Martin King. Catapulting off of their live show and performance aesthetic, the album brings together soulful melodies supported by both analogue and digital drums with the brothers sharing song writing credits on the tracks.

“It was a lot of different ideas that came together partly through performing together and recording together,” Henry recalls.

“We have a sort of social way of recording – because Martin and I both have our own studios that we can, sort of, hang out in and do takes in, so in a way it isn’t that person in a glass box kind of way of recording. It was a super collaborative process, it did take a long time with a lot of trial and error.”

Renowned for their live shows, the group will continue playing throughout the summer, with Henry saying it’s exciting to be so well received in towns and cities outside of Melbourne.

“We’re always surprised by the face in the crowd who becomes the person that will talk to you after the show is over, because we branch into so many styles – we don’t even know, who that might be, but we try to put together a show that is musically interesting and don’t want to lock ourselves in and we’re down to try new stuff, which is what we do best.”

The Harpoons have just released their debut album Falling For You (Two Bright Lakes/ Remote Control)
You can catch them live in:
Sydney – Wednesday 12th November @ GoodGod
Brisbane – Friday 14th November @ D I V E @ The Brightside,
Melbourne Music Week – 20th of November – Toff In Town


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I find myself in a 'looping state of mind' more often than not.