Meet: Workhorse - Darkness
Get to know the South Australian artist and their enchanting new single of dreamy alt-country
Ahead of the release of their debut album No Photographs, set for an August 12 release, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Harriet Fraser-Barbour’s Workhorse project today delivers their hauntingly beautiful latest single, Darkness.
Oozing with atmosphere and sonically channeling vast Australian landscapes, Darkness combines alt-country/folk and ‘Americana’ with an indie rock influence, as sliding lapsteel guitars and reverberated vocals float throughout the mix.
With Darkness out today and their debut album just a few weeks away, we took the opportunity to get to know Workhorse a bit better!
Tell us about yourself?
I am a 31 year old person living on Kaurna Country, Adelaide in South Australia! I really like walking my dog, feeding my pet ducks, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, cooking, reading and making things. I work a bunch of casual hospitality jobs that allow me the flexibility to tour and play music, and I book shows and community events under the banner ‘Half Strange’.
When did you first start making music?
I played music in school, but that was piano and clarinet. It wasn’t until I was living in share houses in my early 20s, surrounded by lots of musicians and music equipment that I started playing in bands. My first band was a band called Such Babes that I played drums in, then a band called The Yabbies. Wireheads was my first foray into guitar!
Tell us about your creative process?
I’m more drawn to making certain atmospheres or moods within music rather than, I dunno, having a lyrical narrative or concept that inspires a song. I usually start with a simple chord progression on guitar, then build up layers - recording home demos with guitar and drums and bass and lastly, reluctantly find words to accompany. Lyrics are usually pieced together from dream diaries or fragments of thoughts, sometimes a simple line that gets stuck in my head but again I’d say I’m more drawn to the rhythms or sounds that words make rather than the literal meanings of the words or sentences.
Tell us about your new single Darkness?
This song is contrary to the above process that I usually have when I’m making a song - where the lyrics are the last piece of the puzzle, and usually more cryptic than narrative driven. I wouldn’t usually write songs like this that have a conventional narrative structure but these words kind of handed themselves to me. It was written some years ago, but never came to fruition until now. It’s a story - about fictional characters, but maybe they are your parents, maybe they are your friends, maybe you see them in the park or at the shops and you wonder what their story is…. There is just so much to one person’s story and to one person’s life, and I think we don’t give older people the love and depth of feeling or understanding that they deserve. Generation gaps can feel like huge cavernous distances and there feels like such a deeply profound loneliness within that cavernous distance that is almost beyond comprehension, beyond understanding. Can you even imagine spending twenty, thirty years with someone. Having their children, sharing a life together - only to one day leave that behind? To one day meet again as though strangers…
How can fans best support your music?
I think support can come in many shapes and forms. The best way to support is just to take the time to listen and consider. Having it reach the ears of others is the most satisfying reward, and if that in turn inspired someone to share our music by sending it to other friends, or to their local radio station, that would be a gift. And of course - buying the record or digital download from Bandcamp, or getting out to see a live gig is also incredibly important and helpful.
What's coming up for the rest of the year?
Workhorse have some exciting tour plans over the next few months to help launch the new album, with a big road trip leg driving from Adelaide to Darwin and back with regional shows in Coober Pedy and Alice Springs along the way, then we’ll be headed over to Melbourne for two shows, then to Perth and Sydney in September! And aside from Workhorse plans, I’m going to be touring a lot with Ripple Effect Band, playing Garma next weekend, then Tanamon Festival in NSW and a bunch more gigs along the way! Busy year ahead!
What have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been listening to Mimi and Richard Farina - Mimi is Joan Baez’s youngest sister, lots of beautiful harmonies.I’ve also been listening to Alice Cohen, an artist from New York who also just released an album through Dinosaur City Records, who will be releasing our album ‘No Photographs’ next month! Awesome, cool multi instrumentalist/synth guitar solo artist. I’ve also been revisiting the Emmylou Harris album ‘Wrecking Ball’ which has lots of cool atmospheric 90s production, weird synths and stuff.