"You take a moment and you explore it in so much depth that all the emotions become heightened in the world of the song."
Since the release of his debut single, ‘Back Around’ in 2017, Harry Strange has been on an upwards trajectory. Twenty-two years old and London-based, Strange takes influence from artists such as SG Lewis, Ben Howard, and Mura Masa to carve out a uniquely atmospheric mix of bedroom pop and stripped-back acoustics. FUZZY caught up for a chat ahead of the release of his second EP, Something, Hold On, to discuss millennial culture, the contemporary state of pop music, and Tinder.
FUZZY: Your new five-track EP came out on the 24th of July. Congrats! Can you tell me about that?
The EP is called Something, Hold On. I was less focused on wanting to have a specific sound; I more just wanted to create songs that I enjoy playing. It came together well, the five tracks are all different sounding, but I think they offer more of what I want to be doing as a musician.
FUZZY: What themes did you try to explore and how did they compare to your back catalogue?
I think it's more honest. My favourite song is the final track on the EP, which is called ‘Unknown but Somehow You'll Find Your Own Space’; that surrounds the idea that you haven't got control of things, you have to embrace that and how everything will eventually fall into place. I think this EP is much more confident and open.
FUZZY: Do you think this is going to lead onto any other projects, maybe an album?
I would love to do an album, but I cannot afford any of that just yet. I think this EP is more of me showing a different side; not changing the sound but just proving that there are other things that I'd want to have a try at.
FUZZY: I suppose a lot of bands do lots of EPs before they do an album to create a name for themselves, so it's really refreshing when they finally put out their debut record because if you've followed someone from day one then it's a full-circle thing.
For sure. I wouldn't want to drop an album that gets forgotten quickly, whereas with a couple of EPs you can build and build whilst hopefully finding some new followers, rather than instantly dropping a finished project. It's more of a working product.
FUZZY: Your tracks seem to explore things that are relevant to young people: uni culture, one-night stands, etc. How important is it to write about these topics?
I wish I could be like oh, I'll rub out politics, but I personally don't feel comfortable writing about something I don't know well, so I don't know why I'd write about anything different to the life I was living whilst at university. I always feel like a lot of the songs are about times when emotions are really heightened. That’s what you're meant to be doing in songwriting. You take a moment and you explore it in so much depth that all the emotions become heightened in the world of the song. It mirrors being drunk, all the emotions are so intense. It pairs well with writing music. I found that really beautiful and interesting to explore.
FUZZY: In particular, the Crying at the Party EP was based around being a student. How did you manage to juggle studying with releasing things?
When I've got nothing to do, I'm not productive, but when I've got loads of things to do, I find myself going harder at what I've got to do. It was really nice to compartmentalise my brain so that my actual degree wasn't just a bunch of learning. At uni, you have to do everything yourself so having this other project as a priority helped to keep my mind focused after three years of too much drinking.
FUZZY: You’ve been described as a slice of pop genius…
That's my Tinder bio now!
FUZZY: The world of indie-pop is thriving right now. How do you feel about the contemporary music scene and what do you think its future looks like?
I'll do deep dives on Spotify and it's mental how many people are actually doing it. There are millions. It's daunting but I think that whole bedroom pop thing, it's all care-free, fun and because it’s through Spotify you can just put it up. That’s so powerful. Anyone can actually release anything, it's all people at home like fuck, let's make some music and put it up. I think that’s so authentic. These artists that are very homegrown, so invested in their own projects, that’s what people are much more into now.
FUZZY: You've spoken of musical influences such as Clairo and SG Lewis. Any other musical influences?
I have different areas of artists I love. There are artists whose live presence I love, like Flume and Mura Masa. Their shows are explosive, there's so much energy. Then you have the songwriters like Clairo, who sound so delicate with their words. I suppose I'm a mixture between the two. I love the songwriting element but also to think about how it's going to come across live and that energy when you play to a crowd.
FUZZY: Finally: If you had to listen to just one track for the rest of your life, what are you listening to?
Something with a good memory attached to it. What about a Christmas song? It might have to be ‘Keep Your Head Up’ by Ben Howard. It needs to be optimistic, light-hearted, road trip vibes.
Words by Eleanor Noyce.
24th July 2020.