A Conversation With Harper Finn

October 2, 2020
Harper Finn

Bending the boundaries of pop Harper Finn is an artist evolving with every release. His latest single ‘Dance Away These Days’ is an energetic and atmospheric anthem about taking time to enjoy the little things. Featuring production from 5x Grammy winner Cole MGN and Tobias Kuhn, the track is a standout moment for Harper.

We caught up with him to chat about the meaning of the song, how it all came together and his musical influences.

Check out the interview below.

‘Dance Away These Days’ is a pretty fitting mantra to have for a COVID affected music industry. What is the meaning behind the track?

It’s a song about not second-guessing yourself. In a year that’s been plagued with negativity and disappointment, I hope this track helps you channel that frustration into the joy of dancing and singing the way you want to. 

You’ve worked with 5x Grammy winner Cole MGN and Tobias Kuhn on the song, what was that experience like?

It was a really different way of starting and finishing a track but I loved it. I started the song with Tobias and we put down the vocals and synths but left it in that form for a while. After living with the song for a few months I wanted to speed it up and add drums. Cole MGN came in and did all the drum production which was surreal. He lives in LA so we were just emailing back and forth. When I got the first version he did I was told I was “visibly ecstatic” as I listened to it.  

‘Dance First. Think Later’ strikes a chord when watching your video, where did the idea for the music video come from? 

It came from the start of the film ‘Black Swan’ which starts with a blacked-out stage and a single spotlight with ballet dancers moving in and out of the light. It had a melancholy feel to it which I thought matched the feeling of the song. The dance came out of how I was moving to the music naturally. Those ‘whip’ sounds you hear in the chorus became the centrepiece for the whole routine, the move you see in the video was dubbed the ‘jumping lawnmower.’

There is a distinct 80s feel to the video and song, were you trying to capture a certain idea or mood with the release?

I just wanted the song to have pace, and be a song you could expel a lot of energy to. To me, the pre-chorus heading into the chorus sounds like a slingshot being pulled back….Once the chorus hits, you’re screaming down a speed tunnel not slowing down till the last “dance away these days” fades out in the background.

You’ve released an array of tracks which cover a unique range of styles, tell me about some of your musical influences?

My Mum was very influential in my early musical discoveries turning me on to a lot of 90’s hip hop and bands like Mercury Rev and the Jesus and Mary Chain. As I got older Tame Impala and Rosalia became staples on my playlists as well as plenty of Beatles and Beach Boys music. 

You played the song at your Tuning Fork gig before lockdown, what was that reception like? Have you been teasing any other upcoming releases at live shows?

It was great considering no one knew the song! It’s always a positive sign when you see people dancing and moving to a song they’ve never heard. And yeah I always test unreleased songs in front of a crowd, it’s a perfect opportunity to see if you need to make any changes to the songwriting for it to really ‘work’ live.

What does the rest of 2020 have in store for you?

I’ll be releasing more music before the end of the year and another Auckland show for sure! I’m also playing at Rhythm & Vines which will be an appropriate way to say cya to 2020.  

You can listen to ‘Dance Away These Days’ below.

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