the harpoons shoot through pop and soul
Everyone wants to be friends with these guys and their tunes.
Photography Briony Wright
It's hard to understand why the Harpoons are constantly being heralded as an 'up-and-coming' band when they have been playing together for several years and have been friends for pretty much forever. Perhaps it's because their sound is so fresh, sweeping across many genres to create an addictive, contemporary sound with an old soul. Meeting at an age when Playstation consoles were an important part of life, Bec Rigby, Martin King and brothers Jack and Henry Madin create music with an element unique to very old friends. It is seemingly effortless in an honest, rich way that makes you want to be friends with them, too. i-D talks to the Harpoons about marimbas, music videos and being mates.
How did you guys meet?
Henry: Our parents knew each other. Marty, I remember I met you when you came over to our house to play Crash Bandicoot when we were eight.
Martin: Yeah I remember being quite impressed with Jack's skill at playing Crash Bandicoot 3.
Henry: Actually our latest demos have been very Crash Bandicoot-inspired. They've got lots of really hard percussion sounds.
Bec: But less nonsense fake language.
So this is what you're recording at the moment?
Henry: We're just starting to record our second album. We're working on some demos at the moment and it's exciting.
Martin: There's a lot of marimba. Henry's a secret virtuoso at the marimba.
Henry: I think it's an extension of what we were going for in the last album. Short pop songs, but a lot more texture this time.
Bec: Lots of fun.
What's the strangest rumour you've heard about the Harpoons?
Jack: Well when we first started mucking around with music we were doing more garage rock, and the other day I heard that there was a rumour that we broke up because Henry and I wanted to go disco. And it was funny because it was kind of true, but just wrong on so many levels.
Bec: There's also the rumour that we're a new band, but that's completely false, we've been around for about seven years.
Henry: Yeah we always seem to get categorised as 'up-and-coming'.
Do you ever get categorised as a certain genre?
Martin: No. I think the best genre call we've been described as is that we're RnB and RnB. Like Beyonce RnB and old-school RnB, like Aretha Franklin or Etta James. I think that's a funny quote rather than it representing our music but it kind of does relate to our first album. We've never really tried to define ourselves with a genre though.
Bec: Except for when you wanted to make a garage rock band.
Do you think that music videos are important?
Martin: I think they have become important. And I think it's a shame, because it means that there are a lot of average music videos out there because of the pressure to make one, it's not enough to make just music. When they're good though, they're so good but it's rare.
Jack: Now it's not even that you just need good music videos, you need a whole social media scene as well. But that can also be a positive thing, like all of those artists who are Soundcloud famous.
Bec: I think it all comes down to the music though. Like with FKA Twigs, it's all about the artistry of the video that goes with the music. It's the whole package.
Henry: I think audio gives so much to the visual. No matter what they throw together, the music will pull it together.
What has been the biggest milestone for you guys so far?
Jack: I think getting Marty to join the band.
Martin: At the time I was in a couple of other bands.
Henry: We used to get people from the crowd to come up and drum for us.
What has been one of the best moments?
Henry: Golden Plains was the best, because it was when we realised we were being recognised for what we were doing.
Bec: Definitely Meredith for me. It really is an honour to play there.
Henry: I love these other festivals too, like New Years Evie or Camp Nong. They're so fun because they're small and have this great atmosphere and everyone's friends.
Bec: One of the best times is having all of our best friends coming together, it's such a nice feeling to know that your mates actually like your music, too.
What's next for the Harpoons?
Martin: We're four demos deep into our new album, so we've still got a way to go.
Bec: In the meantime we might do a three-hour concept album (laughs).
Martin: We'll also be playing at a new festival called I'm New Here.
Is there anywhere you would like to play in the future?
Bec: We'd love a rich Japanese entrepreneur to really like our music and then set up a Japanese tour for us.
Henry: Yeah but we do like the idea of relocating at some point, just staying somewhere for awhile and trying to work with producers.
Watch the super sweet new video for Never Stop Loving You here.
Text Erin McConchie
Photography Briony Wright