INTERVIEW: THE KITE STRING TANGLE
Playing a humungous outdoor stage in a fairground setting at SXSW as the sun sets is not too shabby for your first gig outside of Australia. That was the story for Brisbane’s 24 year old The Kite String Tangle, or Danny Harley as he’s known to his friends. I discovered the magic of Harley when I heard Given The Chance and fell in love with his use of the Ride On Time sample what feels like a long time ago.
‘I remember you guys did a review and put it on my wall saying “ride on time”. You gave me a scare with that so I’m clearing that sample!’ he laughs, not at all pissed off that my ears have cost him money. Apparently I was the first blogger to mention it – either I have great ears, or I’m old. One of the few times I’ve been happy about being a child of the 80s and having first hand experience of Black Box. Gen Y-er Harley had never heard the original. Bless him. He can’t even remember how this track came about. He was pissed for two weeks solid in Airlie Beach and came back with the track, but no idea who or what it’s about. ‘I like to be relatable, but I don’t like to write about myself. I write fictional lyrics in first person. It’s just the style I’ve gravitated towards.’
RB:So that was your first gig outside of Oz. How the hell was it?
Harley: Ridiculous – look at that stage. Same productions as Falls Festival [huge NYE camping event in Oz]. I’ve never been to America. We did the red eye flight so I’m pretty wired.
RB: How’s the USA treating you and are you remembering your dollar tips!?
Harley: (laughs) I think I have an angry…um what do you call those guys with bags at hotels? Bell boys! Oh yeah. I have an angry one of those. I didn’t realise it was a dollar a bag. But my lawyer has given me the lowdown so I should be ok now.
RB: Tell me about labels. You’ve just been signed haven’t you? How comes you didn’t go with Future Classic? (our fave)
Harley: A month ago I signed an ANZ deal Warner. It was a toss up between the two. I love Future Classic but I didn’t want to get caught up in the bedroom producer scene. At the time, with my team, it just felt right to sign with Warner. I don’t know why. It seems crazy. I’m great friends with the Future Classic people so maybe we’ll work together in some capacity in the future.
RB: It’s been a bit of an explosion for you really. How did it all happen so fast?
Harley: I don’t know! I didn’t have any tricks or anything. I released another track before (Given The Chance) in a similar way and it didn’t take. I did a tour off it and no one came. The guy from Indie Shuffle came to my show in Sydney. There was hardly anyone else there. And then off the back of it being blogged it ended up on Triple J like a month later and stayed there for months and ended up in the hottest 100. It’s been the gift that keeps giving!
RB: Speaking of Aussie radio, I think have got it so right…
Harley: Really? I think they have it so wrong. I like the structure of US radio where there are a million options. Oz is so dominated by Triple J. I’m not going to slag off stations in Brissy but….
RB: What about FBi!? (I’m obsessed with Sydney’s community station)
Harley: Yeah FBi is great! It’s one of the only community stations that’s programmed. The rest are run by some crack addict who’s is like I’m gonna play you 4 hours of some hill billy shit.
RB: If the Aussie Music Scene is a family, who are you related to?
RB: So who are your Aussie musical heroes? No accadacca?
Harley: No, I’m not that guy. Pretty much everyone I’ve mentioned. I was into rock and punk until about 5 or 6 years ago. My biggest influences and the bands I like the most are my peers. Which is awesome as I get to play with them. I like live electronic stuff.
RB: You’re a really talented vocalist. Is that what comes first when you write songs?
Harley: No the opposite! I was never a singer until a year or so ago. I’m so glad I started singing though. I love it. It’s a new world. I was originally a guitarist, but now I never play guitar. So weird!
RB: Any EP’s or tours coming up?
Harley: I have an EP coming out in July and I’m aiming for an album next Feb. In the last month I locked in a European and US booking agent. We’re in the process of putting the rest of the year. It’s gonna be busy.
With a voice like that hell yeah it’s going to be a busy year. We’ll keep you posted on The Kite String Tangle news.