How long have you been making music?
I started learning classical guitar aged 12, eventually graduating from Leeds College of Music with a BPA Hons. However during this time I experimented with other styles from rock, blues and pop to folk and light jazz. I wanted to emulate the artists I listened to like Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, The Police, Bruce Springsteen and Prince.
Aged 15 I began playing in bands with my mates and that’s when I really started writing music. As my theory and technique developed, so did my writing style and now I find myself merging multiple styles into my own sound.
What inspired your latest album?
Having written since I was 15, I had never managed to find the time to put an album together. I was always playing for other artists and bands. While I love this side of my career, there was a need to do something for myself. So, back in 2009, I bought a new computer, Logic, some microphones and an interface, set up in the back room and started working out how to record, produce and arrange my own material. So it was not a particular subject that inspired me, simply the drive to move to the position I wanted to be in. The final product was Harmonics.
What process do you go through to create your music?
The initial stage is when I improvise a chordal pattern or riff on the guitar. Once I have some harmonic structure, I sing a vocal melody over the top, improvising words as I go. If it has potential, I’ll decide on a theme for the lyrics and get writing. Sometimes a song can take 30 minutes to finish, at other times you can't quite get it, so you come back weeks or even months later at which point it just clicks.
If I am confident with the song, I’ll start arranging and producing demos. Once the core idea is there, I head to the studio, lay down the drums and build the final track on top of that. This is done between a pro studio and home. To save money and time I will play most of the instruments myself. If I use other musicians, I make sure they are the best I know. That way I can just give them an idea of the sound I want and let them do what they see fit.
How would you describe your sound?
Harmonics leans towards the pop, rock, acoustic sound but, as in the music of Sting, Jeff Buckley and John Mayer, there are undertones of classical and jazz harmony. During live performances we escalate these ideas, allowing the musicians’ ability and experience to take the music places you wouldn’t normally expect from this type of band. If you like live music it’s definitely worth checking out.
What would your dream collaboration be?
It has to be sharing a stage with my childhood idols. To play guitar and sing alongside Mark Knopfler would be an honour. I recorded guitars at his 'British Grove' studios in Chiswick for Hayley Westenra but unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to meet him. Rocking out with Bruce Springsteen is a must, of course, and, if I had to pick a modern icon, it would be John Mayer. He is an amazing writer and musician who has successfully merged supreme guitar work with great songs.
Where can we catch you performing next?
Our next major gigs will be:
• Harmonics album launch at The Spice of Life on 18 March
• Regent Street Apple Store on 27 March, at which we will be giving a lecture on the creation of Harmonics plus an exclusive band acoustic performance of the album.
• Beverley Minster with Jonathan Ansell in aid of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign on 31 March.
Listen to AJ Moore's single Moving On here