Interview: Curtis Harding on stepping up in studio with Danger Mouse & Sam Cohen on Face Your Fear

With Face Your FearCurtis Harding has relished in thriving studio sessions with Danger Mouse and Sam Cohen, bringing blistering musical influences to life with a flair fans will recognise from 2014’s Soul Power album, but coupled with a new sense of vigour that Harding has injected as a result of continuous shows and honing of his craft.

Catching up prior to the album’s release, Harding explained how the process of making Face Your Fear brought him closer together with producer Danger Mouse.

“I’ve known Danger for over a decade,” he says. “I’ve never actually worked with him on a musical project; it was amazing that for our first time to actually work together, was on some stuff that I was doing. I was definitely soaking it up; I was a sponge! Sam Cohen as well, the other genius of Danger was to bring Sam Cohen in, who I hadn’t known or worked with before. Just for him to know that we would mesh like that, it was amazing. He’s just brilliant.”

Anticipating a heavy tour cycle for Face Your Fear in the US and abroad as 2017 approaches its final months, Harding has been working hard on bringing the album to the heights it needs to, to satisfy his live expectations.

“I enjoy the creative process,” Harding enthuses. “I figure out how it’s going to come across, even visually, and my next thing is to make the live show more aesthetically pleasing. I’m a very visual person and I feel like if you can marry the music and the imagery of some sort, it just adds to not just the aesthetics of the show, but the feeling of it. Different colours will set different moods. That’s my next thing. This is great to now that the music is up to par, and to start working on the next thing, which is getting the live show up to par visually as well as sonically. Taking it to another level. That’s the fun part.”

Of his recent collaborations with Cohen in particular, Harding reflects on the process of not only being brought together with a new figure in the intimate setting that is the studio, but also creating new music that has stood out as material to be proud of.

“Once Sam and I hit it off, we did “Wednesday Morning Atonement”, that was our first song.” he remembers. “I knew that all we needed was more time in the studio and we would be coming up with some great stuff. I’m really confident about the music I make, so I know that was one thing that worked really well. We have similar ideas and tastes but at the same time, they have a different approach; we all come together and I was like, this is ‘with our powers combined’ situation! We created so much stuff and I’m looking forward to getting back in there with them too.”

With confidence and excitement in  his voice, Harding looks ahead to the next chapter. Though the cycle and life of Face Your Fear is just starting, the songwriter is already anticipating what is on the horizon, musically.

“The first thing I had to do was record the record and then the second was work it out live; get the guys to facilitate everything we needed to do.” he says. “We’ve been doing that and we’ve been succeeding thus far. I’m looking forward to playing more shows; we’ve got a month long tour in November starting here in the States and then we go to Europe. I’m looking forward to getting out there and refining the live show.”

“I’m also always curating songs and coming up with ideas for new music. Even though we’re playing the record that’s out now, I’m looking ahead. That’s what happens when you work with people like Danger Mouse; I learned a lot while I was in the studio [with him]. I’m now adding what I’ve learned to my repertoire and I’m going to take it onto the next albums. It’s always a continuation and it’s always a progression.”

Photo by Matthew Correia.