David Harks is an Englishman in Berlin (could that be a song?) – We’ve featured him a number of times over the past year – solo, with Safetalk and Satin Jackets, he’s obviously a very busy and creative chap. His music is putting metaphysics back where it belongs- on the dancefloor. I hear that John Donne was a right little raver back in the day. We were delighted to catch up after the release of his latest solo single “Avalon” (on Splinter).
Where are you from originally and how did you end up in Berlin?
I’m from Lincolnshire, on the East coast of England. Not the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds but the flatlands of the Fens… ancient lands, strange folks and magical skies. I moved to Berlin with my partner because we think it’s awesome.
How did you end up being a singer/musician?
Really it’s because that is what I feel I was chosen to do. It was a natural pathway that I discovered through my love of, and indeed devotion to, music. It can take a while for you to listen to and take notice of that voice but it keeps nagging at you…
You’ve worked with lots of different artists, what has been your favourite collaboration?
I have to say it was with my friend Virgil Howe who sadly passed away this year. We worked together on a song called “Sirens”, truly one of the greatest songs I’ve written, and which supported by his heavily Dilla influenced production and our combined love of psych – was a perfect synthesis.
Are you happy with the reception for Avalon?
Of course, it’s been overwhelming, I haven’t released a solo track in a while and it’s been really, really lovely to have folks come back to me and support the song like they have. As well as the digital press, I have to shout out to the label Splinter for giving it a push and John my manager also.
Do you find it easy to write songs?
I don’t find it easy no, I do have some experience at it though now. Having come up through hip-hop, writing lyrics and then as a drummer in my previous life, rhythm is a big part of it and makes it easier I think for me…
I think for me the part I find difficult is the production that can still be tricky. The inspiration comes through me and I just strike when it’s hot… You have to keep at it though, having a few basic elements is the key, the simpler you can keep it then the better that goes for the lyrics and message, well for me personally.
Is your solo album in the can (so to speak) and if so when will we hear it or when is there another single?
I’m working on the album at the moment, I’ve a few tracks in the can and I’m hopeful we can get another release out in early next year, but we will have to wait and see :). I’m really excited though, I have never committed myself to an album before but it feels right to do that now.
How did Safetalk come about? Is the group “ongoing”?
Safetalk came together via a good relationship of 3 guys with a set of similar tastes, who all want to write music that pushes things forward and has something to say… Not just for the dancefloor but music that makes you stand straight up and bends the ears of the listener with lyrics that have something to say…
We have a lot more to share, its a great project and Thomas and Hugues are awesome to work with, we go deep and we go solid.
You seem optimistic, and believe in the power of music to change things – Is that correct?
Absolutely without a shadow of a doubt.
What worries you most about the world these days?
Lots of issues. I would say the fact is we are living in what I can only describe as a “digital dark age” where truth and trust have been eradicated should be one of the planet’s greatest concerns.
That being said I think the incline towards a belief in magic has counterbalanced the cheap trickery of this illusory distortion we see every day. So let’s talk about something that’s making me happy today and that’s hallucinogenic mushrooms starting to be more widely accepted by health professionals, and importantly the mass media, as something that can improve mental health. Now that is an amazing breakthrough for us all.
What was the first piece of music you remember from childhood?
Caravan – In the Land of grey and Pink Album, incredible record, my Dad turned me onto it.
What is your favourite song/piece of music that you’ve written and why?
I think Avalon. It’s a simple cycling format of a song that still manages to carry within itself a lot of elements I love, house music, pop and a motivated message that inspires… To tell the truth, I honestly love all the songs I have released.
Actually it’s the ones that do not get released that I feel for, they’re like lonely friends looking for someone to listen to them. So every now and then I do just that, look through my hard drives and cheer them up with a play whilst enjoying a beer.
What question would you like to be asked that you never are? (and what would be your answer?)
I guess it has to be ‘Do you believe in God?’ And my answer would have to be, yes mate… the spirit is life and magic is everywhere, trust in that, incredible.
Or maybe it would have to be ‘Can you imagine a life without Cheese?’ In which case… no man, no… no way.
Christmas or Halloween?
Christmas is amazing purely on the food factor, but let’s be honest here, some people take Christmas too far. So far in fact that they have a mental break down just trying to organise it, so on that count I’m going to go for Halloween, because If you don’t go far enough you’re lame 🙂
What’s your favourite place in Berlin?
I would say, Paul Lincke Ufer, that runs parallel to the Landwehr Canal, on a mid-summer Friday night just sat with my mate Phil talking about life and amazing records. Or the Greek spot I always go to with my partner when we celebrate.
What’s the last book you read?
Phillip K. Dick’s ‘We Can Remember it for you Wholesale’, it’s a collection of stories from his books, total nutter.
David also did a couple of wonderful drawings for us that we’ll be unveiling in our gallery in the next week or two.