Rock Artist Harvey Allinson Talks Inspiration & Instrumentation
Harvey Allinson is a 23 year old songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from North London. His EP 'Headroom' is out this June 2020.
How would you describe your sound?
My sound is very heavy and stems out of a love of old school 60s and 70s rock music. The harmonies and melodies I use are associated more with pop and funk music, particularly the kind of ideas that Nile Rodgers used with Chic. The sometimes out of boredom I’ll add in an extra texture to the arrangement that I’ve just come up with like a subtle echoed falsetto voice or a melodic guitar part with a whammy pedal pushing it into a ridiculously high octave range.
You’re a multi-instrumentalist, which instruments do you play?
I play guitar mainly, bass, drums, piano and vocals. (For my recordings however, I get in a session drummer).
What drew you to the music industry?
I always wanted to play live and get into music at some point in my life and it was only when I went to uni and started studying business that I had the time I needed to listen to and learn more about music in general. From there my tastes really started to develop and I was listening and playing a lot more than I ever had before and by the time I graduated I realised that was pretty much all I really wanted to spend my time doing.
You’re from North London. What’s the local music scene like?
The local scene in North London is active but has a noticeable divide which I think has always been there. The bars, pubs and clubs are mainly split between DJ nights and live band shows. Both nights are relatively successful and there are definitely consistently good turn outs at these places but I’ve found the best places are the short-lived underground ones run with little to no effort put into marketing, like Tottenham grow. I think this used to be a garden centre before it turned into a makeshift music room and has a cage in the middle of the floor for the drummer to perform in. The local scene is interesting but you never really know what you’re going to get.
What is the inspiration behind your images for Headroom?
Originally I had a lot of complex and ultimately infeasible ideas for the album artwork involving blur effects but I wanted the end result to be something you could look at which would work well with the loud and energetic rock feel, so naturally I thought lighting a cigarette off a gun would work well with that. In terms of the photos I take generally it’s whatever I think is interesting in the moment.
Your album is heavily influenced by old school rock. Can you explain why this particular era/genre?
I think rock is a very difficult genre for people to take seriously today. Most of the time you don’t listen to modern rock music, you get some spin-off of it like alt rock or pop punk or pop rock or post punk, which I don’t think quite capture the real essence of what people like about the older stuff. While it’s definitely not the only thing I write or listen to, I think rock music is difficult to write without reusing the same old ideas. However, I’m still inspired by bands that have managed to achieve that authentic rock sound with their own unique modern feel like the White Stripes or Wolf Mother.
What’s next for you?
For almost two years now I’ve been writing in a very self conscious way and overthinking the minute details which most of the time don’t matter too much. As a result songwriting and even playing has started to feel a lot more like work rather than something fun that I do naturally. While I’m still young and creative enough to write half decent songs I think I’ll continue writing anything that I can and releasing on an as-and-when basis.
'Headroom' is a 3 track EP out later this year!