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Interview: Ross Harding Reveals 'A Thousand Snakes' Ahead of UK Relocation

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Transcending Boundaries: Ross Harding Unveils 'A Thousand Snakes' Ahead of UK Relocation: An Underground Press Interview.

By Underground Press

Published Wednesday, 13 March 2024 08:23

Music aficionados and lovers of soul-stirring melodies, we are thrilled to welcome the incomparable Ross Harding to the halls of Underground Press. A force to be reckoned with in the realm of rock and blues, Ross Harding is not just an artist; he's a maestro of emotion, a weaver of sonic tales that resonate deep within the soul. With a storied career marked by electrifying performances and genre-defying compositions, Ross Harding stands on the precipice of greatness, poised to unleash his latest masterpiece upon the world.

Today, we have the distinct privilege of delving into the mind and music of this extraordinary talent as we explore his latest single and music video, 'A Thousand Snakes,' his journey through the ever-evolving music industry, and the boundless horizons that await him as he prepares to embark on a new chapter in his musical odyssey. So, without further ado, let's dive headfirst into the captivating world of Ross Harding.

Q: Since your EP releases 'Rest & Resurrection' and 'Chapter II' in 2022, as well as the Maxi-Single 'Everything Is Black' in 2023, you've garnered attention both locally and internationally. How do you navigate the balance between staying true to your roots in South Africa while also expanding your audience and career opportunities abroad, particularly with your upcoming relocation to the UK?

"Hello everyone. Firstly, a massive thank you for the opportunity to write to you, and for the epic introduction. When it comes to my musical identity, it's never been a very clear-cut thing. I have so many influences, styles, and places where I take inspiration from, which makes it difficult to place where 'I belong.' I can't say that I've ever thought about myself as a 'South African' when I've been writing music, creating, or performing. Looking abroad is a way to really expand. I've dreamed of being able to live and work in the UK, especially London, so this is a massive thing for me. Some of the absolute greats hail from the UK, and I'm just going to do my best to use that immense global influence to carve my own path."

Q: Reflecting on your previous releases, how do you feel your music has evolved leading up to 'A Thousand Snakes'? Are there any themes or stylistic elements that carry over from your earlier work, or is this new release exploring uncharted territory for you?

"Over the last few years, my music has dived into blues, heavy rock, classic rock, and grunge elements, in various forms. I've really wanted to get that across - full band, raw, electric guitars, loud amplifiers, blended with melody and a kind of blues ethos. I feel that "A Thousand Snakes" is also cut from that cloth. However, it was originally inspired by something far more traditionally delta blues, although this version of the song was further removed from that inspiration, for a few reasons. For example, playing it live, and initially performing as a trio all influenced its sound. So much so that there is a "Deluxe Version" of this song on the way, which delved into acoustic elements, and really got into those roots influences. I actually made a call to go deeper into that creative area with the music that I recorded for the upcoming year - leaning a bit further away from the heavy blues rock style, and more into a stripped-back, acoustic blues realm almost, which I think has its own magic."

Q: You've mentioned that 'A Thousand Snakes' draws inspiration from the raw essence of old Delta Blues. How do you infuse your own style into this traditional genre, and what do you hope listeners will take away from the experience of this song?

"The old blues has such an enchanting appeal to me. Simple music that is primal at its core, tribal, trance-like, and evokes feelings of magic, hypnosis. It's mesmerizing. That's really the bluesy core and essence of "A Thousand Snakes," and that's what it feels like to me. To be honest, at times the blues connection in my music might seem a little further removed than what purists would like, but I feel like most of my music has that blues essence at its foundation. I guess I'd like people to feel that when they're listening to my music - something moving that takes them away from everyday life, and entices them to feel something deeper."

Q: Speaking of your relocation to the UK, what prompted this move, and how do you anticipate it will impact your music and artistic journey moving forward?

"It's all about expansion, adventure, opportunity, and experiences for me and my family. The world is a big place, and one of my goals has always been to share my music with the world. Musically, I know that this move gives me a much greater stage. The UK, and London especially, has so much rich history in the world of music, that it's hard not to be inspired just by that. Led Zeppelin, one of the greatest rock bands in history, and a personal favourite, comes from London, with so many other incredibly influential bands and artists. The UK is a central place for music globally, having massive influence all over the globe, and being a part of that world is exciting and inspiring."

Q: You've had the opportunity to share the stage with notable artists like Dan Patlansky and Albert Frost. How have these experiences influenced your own approach to performing and crafting music, and are there any memorable moments from these collaborations that you'd like to share?

"I've gotten to know both Dan and Albert on a more personal level over the years. Extremely talented musicians who are also just awesome people. A little while ago I shared the stage with Albert, Andre Kriel, and my friend Jay Ulrich at an impromptu performance that was insane. Nothing rehearsed - just a completely organic blues jam that turned epic. It's brilliant to be able to share the stage with musicians like that and gain that type of experience. I've been a massive fan of Dan's for a very long time, so working closely with him has been incredible to me. He's just the most gnarly guitarist and one helluva musician, performer, and songwriter, with an endless well of knowledge on the guitar and blues. I'm supporting him on a few of his UK shows in April, while he tours his new album (which is brilliant, by the way)."

Q: Given your experience as both a solo artist and a band member, do you prefer one mode of performance over the other? How do you find the creative dynamics differ between the two contexts?

"There is a different kind of magic in each of those musical presentations. I've always loved the band dynamic - with live, loud guitar amps, drums, bass guitar, and vocals. There aren't many things more exhilarating to me than that. Performing music live in that way can be potent and intense. That being said, an unplugged performance with a full band can also be really beautiful. Think Nirvana Unplugged, or my current favourite, Joe Bonamassa's "An Acoustic Evening Live From The Vienna Opera House". As an aside, Bonamassa has a Midas touch though it seems, and is the bar for me. That level of brilliance is almost unfathomable. Coming back - on the other side is the breath and space of performing solo. That has a very different kind of charm. It can still be massive, like when I've performed solo on big stages, where an acoustic guitar and vocal can set a mesmerizing, poignant atmosphere that hits very differently to a live band. I love all of those environments for different reasons."

Q: Your music often delves into themes of struggle, resilience, and personal reflection. Can you share with us how your own experiences and philosophies shape the lyrical content and emotional depth of your songs?

"I've always written about things that interest me or move me. Lyrics are just as important to me as the music, being a lover of the written word. I've drawn inspiration from all sorts of places, ranging from the occult, to folklore, philosophy, ghost stories, religion, love, personal experiences, the blues itself, and even politics (to a lesser, more metaphorical extent). I think I've developed a lyrical / writing style in the same way I've shaped my own musical style. At times it has messages, usually in a metaphor, or could be telling a story. Even when there is a definite message or meaning, I tend to err on the subtle side because I prefer things being open to interpretation. Songs become far more personal to listeners that way. Perhaps that is the emotional depth you are describing. I try to write lyrics that move me like the music or paint a picture that perhaps the music can't do alone."

Q: Given the dynamic shifts and challenges within the modern music industry, how have you adjusted your strategy for creating and disseminating music? Have you encountered any unforeseen advantages or insights during this period of transformation?

"The industry is changing daily. I don't think there really are any rules right now. It's a game of adjustment, risk-taking, and perseverance now. I've come up in the industry during a time when all these changes and challenges are the norm, so I don't really have anything else to compare it to. I just do my best to make the best music I can, and then take whatever steps I must after that to share it with the world."

Q: Looking ahead, what can fans anticipate from Ross Harding in the coming months and beyond? Are there any upcoming projects, collaborations, or performances that you're particularly excited about?

"A few things to mention here that I am excited about. I've completed recording an album's worth of songs that will be released throughout 2024. So far the working title for this body of work is "The Blood & The Blues". The tunes will be released from April / May. Then there are UK and European performances that will be announced soon, starting in April in the UK, where I am honoured to be supporting Dan Patlansky."

Q: As an artist with a wealth of experience, what advice would you offer to aspiring artists who are just starting their journey in the industry, especially those based in South Africa?

"Honestly, I think any advice I could give would only be my opinion, so I hope this is useful to people. I believe in honing your ability as a musician, get good at your thing. Make the best music you can for you. Make art. There is a difference between being an artist and being a businessperson / entrepreneur who makes music. You will need to develop a series of skills: live performance, music creation, business acumen, and entrepreneurship, resilience, and tenacity, and a whole range of other important skills, especially as an independent artist. A massively important aspect for me is sobriety. I got sober about 4 years ago, and it changed my life. I think besides keeping my mind and body healthy, it gives me an edge, because I am way sharper when it comes to making decisions in business. I am more equipped to deal with life, generally, than when I was drinking and drugging all the time. The music industry can swallow you, so better go into it with all your wits about you."

Q: Finally, with ‘A Thousand Snakes' on the horizon and your career continuing to evolve, what legacy do you hope to leave through your music, both locally and on a global scale?

"I think that will unfold over time. I hope that people are moved by my music. Maybe I am somehow, through it, at shows, and various ways, able to influence people in some kind of positive way. Perhaps just to take them away from the realities of day-to-day life. I would love it if more people started playing the guitar, and especially became interested in playing, and listening to blues music. I'm passionate about that. If I can, as an artist / musician / performer, influence people in that way, I would be in awe, and grateful.

As our time with Ross Harding draws to a close, we find ourselves both enchanted and inspired by the depth of his passion, the richness of his artistry, and the unwavering authenticity that defines his musical journey. As he sets his sights on new horizons and ventures forth into uncharted territory, we have no doubt that his star will continue to rise, illuminating the hearts and minds of listeners around the globe. We extend our deepest gratitude to Ross for sharing his time, his music, and his boundless creativity with us today. May his path be paved with success, his melodies resonate far and wide, and his legacy endure for generations to come."

Ross Harding Commentary

"The original idea for A Thousand Snakes was inspired by the old delta blues. A detuned guitar part that was rooted in those bluesy tones, embellished with my own style. There is something dark and sinister lurking there. The core of the song is about struggle, somewhat. Maybe about our struggles in life as people, maybe something very personal, I can’t say for sure. I seem to go towards these themes often because I think our existence as people ultimately is about struggle in different forms that shape us. Sometimes, unfortunately, it creates broken people, lost people, and sometimes it creates enlightened, more resilient beings, the latter being my hope for all. My music usually takes on this kind of darker form because that’s what resonates with me. That’s what moves my soul in music generally. I don’t always think that dark element is negative. I think there is something much deeper. Philosophically, when we consider the most poignant times in our lives, they are seldom 'happy,'  and that doesn’t mean those times weren’t good. There are emotions in this world far greater."

Updated on:
>> Wednesday, 13 March 2024 08:23

Blues Rock, Ross Harding

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Ross Harding

Ross Harding

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  • Blues Rock

About Ross Harding

Beginning in 2017, Ross Harding founded 'Black Harbour Blues', achieving local and global success through performances and recordings. Notable gigs included headlining 'White Mountain Festival' and sharing stages with acts like Biffy Clyro. He toured Italy and performed across South Africa.
In 2018, Ross co-hosted a sold-out ‘House of Blues’ show with top South African Blues musicians. He supported major artists and fronted Fear Of Falling. His EPs 'Rest & Resurrection' and 'Chapter II', followed by 'Everything Is Black', gained global recognition.
In January 2024, Ross announced his relocation to the UK in March 2024 as his business moves to London. His upcoming single 'A Thousand Snakes', releasing on 15th March 2024, delves into delta blues, resonating with his soulful musical expression.


Ross Harding - A Thousand Snakes

About 'A Thousand Snakes'

South African/UK Rock and Blues Singer-Songwriter Ross Harding is poised to captivate audiences worldwide with his new single and music video, 'A Thousand Snakes', set for release on Friday, March 15th. Drawing inspiration from the raw essence of old Delta Blues, this promises a haunting journey through themes of struggle and resilience. With a detuned guitar rooted in bluesy tones, Ross infuses his own style, creating a dark and sinister atmosphere that resonates with the depths of the soul. Through personal reflection and philosophical insight, 'A Thousand Snakes' delves into the complexities of human existence, offering listeners an immersive experience that transcends musical boundaries. Don't miss the unveiling of Ross Harding's evocative new single and music video. Prepare to be enthralled.