Gear Talks: harper

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Gear Talks: harper

harper 37
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards & harper

37 is the new single from harper, the UK-born, Eora based artist building a following ont he back of his own unique take on rock and pop.

harper is a unique artist out of Sydney/Eora, while writing, producing, mixing and more, he’s also pushing the boundaries of genres. His new single 37 is out today, melding moments of rock, pop and Americana on this single, the gated snare borrowing from the sounds of the 80s before taking us back through to more modern production, arrangement and more. Harper was kind enough to let us peak behind the curtain of the new single!

Read more features, columns and interviews here.

All the guitars on ’37’ were recorded using my two main guitars. The first is a knockoff Fender Jazzmaster that I bought off Facebook Marketplace for about $100. I can’t bring myself to buy brand new instruments – I need to feel like they’ve lived a life before I own them. One day that principle will manifest itself as a large collection of vintage guitars, but for now it means cheap guitars that I modify to my liking!

Fender Stratocaster

The second is another Marketplace acquisition – my beloved Fender Stratocaster. A few years ago I traded a cheap Telecaster for it, and it’s been my favourite guitar ever since. I *think* it’s an ’84 after talking to the previous owner, but they told me it’s had a neck replacement and some rewiring over the years so god knows how old it actually is. The Lace Sensor pickups it has in it are the brightest and jangliest pickups you’ll ever hear, which means it’s perfect for the Prince-esque clean tones that I’m always trying to refine.

harper Stratocaster

Bass-wise, everything was recorded using a Fender Jazz bass that belongs to one of my best friends (who also plays in my band) and was tracked through a SansAmp pedal for the DI tone and then through one of the Universal Audio Ampeg SVT emulations.

I’m a big champion of working in-the-box in terms of processing, as it makes so many tools accessible to me that I wouldn’t be able to house (or afford) otherwise. All the amp sounds for guitars are coming from Neural DSP’s Mesa Boogie Mark IIC+ plugin, which sounds absolutely phenomenal for a software emulation. You can pull so many different sounds and styles out of it, so it’s a real bang-for-your-buck piece of gear.

Drums were done using the Thomas Pridgen pack from Mixwave, which sounded perfect for what I thought the song needed. I would love to be able to track a real kit and a real performance, however for independent artists like myself time is money and recording drums is a very lengthy and arduous process. Much like the guitar process I was talking about earlier, having mix-ready drum sounds inside my laptop is a very powerful asset to have at my disposal when I’m making music that I know stands up against any other label-backed release out there.

Shure SM7B

For vocals, I recorded with a Shure SM7B and ran it through a chain of Universal Audio hardware emulations for processing, which I think are as close as you can get to the real outboard gear that they are modelled off. It’s essentially just one up- the-middle and in-your-face vocal on 37, which was an intentional choice given the vulnerability in the lyric, and only a couple of backing vocals that are more felt than heard.

Everything I used for this recording is pretty much my standard approach to production, but in future I’m excited to expand into including more gear and methods to express myself as best I can.

Keep up with harper and his bright future here.