rhythmic running in circles
life’s pacing, helpless repression
exist only in expression
Feeling grateful for the gritty strength and spike-guarded liquid sound that prickles spines and sucks at souls in Harry Charles’ ‘A Twisted Fate As We Drag Ourselves Through Her Haunted Desert’, from his newly released EP, Evelyn.
Through an arid and increasingly tortured sonic soundscape and with nothing to guide us but wisely-manipulated electric guitar, we follow “fate” through the most haunting human experiences. Like staring at a scene so raw it provokes shudders, but unable to avert your eyes, the tortured lead melody pulls your focus with a heavy gravity while layers of textured percussions provide punctuation, momentum and just enough warmth to keep you fighting for a release you haven’t been promised. In the second half of the song, the reversed lead drags you backwards with its “soul-sucking” sound before leaving you back where you started, once again caught in a dry loop of hope and melancholy, sustained just by stubborn punches of fluid energy.
ASIFNOWAY: Can you tell us a bit about the track, ‘A Twisted Fate’?
Harry: ‘A Twisted Fate As We Drag Ourselves Through Her Haunted Desert’, the name itself is quite the feat. It was originally called ‘Ghosts and Sirens’, because some of the reversed guitar in the second half of the track sounds like ghosts being dragged out of the ground, or something like that. So there was always a kind of haunted energy about the track and some of the music that I make anyway, it’s always quite dark. I think it represents this tone of darkness that I have deep down in my soul, underneath all the smiley-happy-New-Zealand-good-vibe kind of thing that I am most of the time. But everyone has a certain sense of darkness to them, and that really comes out in this song.
ASIFNOWAY: What did you use to make the track, besides your guitar? Are there any fun samples in there or stuff you’d like to share about your process?
Harry: In terms of how it was created, it started with the guitar. You can hear there’s some kind of dark chords that are played, and that’s how most of my ideas start, with me playing guitar. These chords had this really eerie tone to them, some certain dissonance that was quite spooky in a way.
So I built on that and found this bass sound, which is the main bass: as the song drops, there’s this arpeggiated, rolling, rumbling bassline. And I just built from there, I made some guitar melodies, and I decided it would be cool idea to reverse them. So in the second part, all of the guitar that you hear is actually all of the other stuff but reversed, which gives it this crazy soul-sucking feel to it.
I tried to stick with quite a gradual build as the track goes along. It’s got one break in the middle, but it’s essentially two parts. I just build and build and build. Generally how “proper techno” is produced: the 130 bpm, dark, Berghain kind of techno is done like that, where elements just add and add, and it just grows and grows. So that was the idea, the kind of mindset I was in.
ASIFNOWAY: Do you have a favorite track from the EP?
Harry: I love them all a lot, the remixes are super impressive because they’ve been done by some really amazing producers who I admire, and I’m so lucky to have their work on the EP. But my favorite track is ‘Tua Atu’, that track started it all.
So the story goes, after living in Berlin for a while and going out to all the clubs and all of the tomfoolery that goes down in those places, meeting people and dancing to other music, etc. I thought I would give it a crack and try and make it, you know. You spend enough time and then you start thinking, I could probably go home and make this, can’t be that hard. I made ‘Tua Atu’ which is probably the most popular song that I ever made.
I posted it on Soundcloud and a friend of mine, Dr. Wartemal, really amazing DJ, he reposted it and it kind of blew up in a way, and it was just getting loads of plays and people were loving it. So I thought, well maybe this is a path that I could go down and I stuck to it.
And I made ‘Tua Atu’ because I was really inspired by a German producer called Niju and his sound and his downtempo stuff. His whole thing was just so inspiring for me, I just loved it so much, so I just tried to take some of what he was doing and just put it into my own thing. That’s how I made ‘Tua Atu’, so he was the inspiration for the first track that I ever made.
So when Wartemal reposted it I told him that I made it because I was inspired by Niju, and he and Niju are friends, so he sent it to him. And then Niju loved it supposedly, and he wanted to do a remix of it, which is how over the last year we were in contact, and I was freaking out like ‘oh my god, its this guy!’ fan-boy kind of thing. So he did the remix for it, and it kind of came full circle.
Wartemal also sent the music to UnderYourSkin which is how this release came about. He has helped me a lot and I owe a lot to him because of all of his support.
ASIFNOWAY: Is there anything else you’d like to add about the release?
Harry: This EP is called Evelyn, which is the middle name of my mother who passed away when I was only a year old. I have no memory or recollection of her, but she’s my muse. It’s always been so easy to make music with her in my heart and mind. So this EP is dedicated to her, hopefully she’s dancing wherever she is now.
‘A Twisted Fate As We Drag Ourselves Through Her Haunted Desert’ is the fifth track off Harry Charles’ second EP, Evelyn, on UnderYourSkin, released Friday 08/02/2019.
EP purchase here