EMQs With Ross Harding
Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with South African Singer/Songwriter, Ross Harding. Huge thanks to him for taking part.
For those yet unfamiliar with you, please share with more about you, what you play, the bands you play in, and overall, more about your history?
I’m a Rock / Blues Rock singer-songwriter from Johannesburg, South Africa. In my own band, the Ross Harding Band, I’m responsible for lead vocals and guitar, and am the lead singer and rhythm guitarist in Fear Of Falling.
I became obsessed with Rock music at a young age, and that obsession (plus a bit of a rebelliousness) inevitably lead me to the electric guitar, which has been the most important part of my life ever since. I started singing later on, after listening to bands like Seether, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, and then onto blues and blues rock artists like Led Zeppelin, Howlin’ Wolf and BB King, where my passion for vocals, blues guitar and performing live was born.
What country and region are you from and what is the Metal / Rock scene like there?
Johannesburg, South Africa. In my opinion the Rock and Metal scenes operate independently. The general Rock music industry in SA is quite small, but it does have loyal followers. Great venues in the country are spread out quite far, so it takes bigger events to bring people together. As a touring musician I’ve seen a lot of the country and feel that it’s important to preach my music as widely as possible. Being in front of audiences has been my best way to build my fanbase, but it’s work that needs to be done consistently. There are fans of commercial Rock, all the way through to Death and Black Metal, so the task is finding those fans and inviting them to join our family.
Tell us about your latest release, and upcoming releases.
Earlier in 2021 I released my debut EP, “Rest & Resurrection”, although I’ve been a professional in the music industry for almost 10 years, having played in various Rock and Blues Rock bands throughout my career. The “Rest & Resurrection” EP was my first time creating and releasing music as a “solo” artist (although I perform live with my insanely talented bandmates – Merrick Kyle, our bassist and Matt Rennie, our drummer). The next EP is called “Chapter II” and I feel it’s a more mature sound, even though it was recorded less than a year after the first EP. There’s definitely growth in its sound, and artistically I’m really proud to be releasing it. I think Rock fans, Blues Rock fans, even fans of heavier music will be into it. The first single ‘Love & Time’ is out on the 16th of September, and the full EP will be available on the 4th of November.
Who has been your greatest influences?
Soundgarden & Chris Cornell, Alice In Chains, Seether, Metallica, BB King, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Mastodon, Gary Clark Jr, Kings Of Leon, Blues Music (and Blues Guitar in general), just to name a few. These artists and musical styles have all added a lot of value to how I play and think about music.
What first got you into music?
I can’t exactly remember the moment, but I remember hearing bands like Metallica when I was young, around 9 or 10 years old, especially the earlier albums like “Master Of Puppets”, and just becoming absolutely obsessed. I also remember Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged” album when I was about 4 or 5, and that having a profound effect on me.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Oh man, there are so many. Probably one of my heroes like Gary Clark Jr, Seether / Shaun Morgan. It depends on what I want to create. I’m into so many styles and love so many bands that I’d love to work with, from Kings Of Leon to The Neighbourhood, to Jerry Cantrell – I’d love to perform vocals on a Jerry Cantrell track, write some insane Rock music for a series or movie with one of these artists. I will endeavour to do that in the future!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Man, tough question, but it’s definitely a festival in the USA. It’s my dream to break into the US industry and play some of the biggest fests in the world.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
So far nothing weird, to be honest. I’ve had birthday cakes, books for lyrics, bottles of whiskey (although I’ve been sober for 3 years now, ha-ha) so I’ve been lucky and blessed by my fans 😊
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
I’m just really grateful to be able to share my music and my art with them 😊
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
No one! I think bringing someone back from the dead might be really selfish 😊 (who knows what the afterlife is like, right?). To humour this question, however, I would have loved to watch Soundgarden with Chris Cornell.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I love everything about it. That started with me just loving the guitar. I still play guitar for hours every day. I love recording, writing, performing. I even love long full day rehearsals and press and interviews – it’s all part of the industry. I wouldn’t say I hate anything really. Maybe admin like social media and constantly trying to get my music heard, but it’s just part of the challenge I suppose.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
More empathy and respect for one another.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“Superunknown” by Soundgarden. Absolute masterpiece.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads?
I grew up with CDs, so for me that was what I knew. I loved my CDs so much. I think it really depends on what you want out of the listening experience.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
They’ve all got moments. I think that’s why I keep doing this.
I’ve had amazing shows on big stages, but also tiny venues packed with fans can be incredible. All depends on the vibe of the audience and the band.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I might have gone into psychology. Probably criminal psychology. Extremely fascinating.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Beethoven, Russell Brand, Keith Richards, Jordan Peterson, Christian Bale.
What’s next for you?
Studio, tour, write, record, repeat. I wanna create and release the absolute best possible art and music that I can and share that with the world.
What Social Media / Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Time for a very British question. As an alternative to the humble sandwich, is the correct name for a round piece of bread common in the UK either a Bap, a Barm (or Barm Cake), a Batch, a Bun a Cob, a Muffin, a Roll or a Tea Cake?
I have no idea! I’m gonna have to phone a friend.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you so much for this platform! I really am grateful to be able to share this with people, I hope the readers out there get in touch. Thanks to you all for the support. 😊
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