New Friends Playlist: Curtis Harding Interview And Playlist

New Friends Playlist: Curtis Harding Interview And Playlist

Standing at 6ft tall with cursive tattoos wrapping round his neck, there's an intriguing air around Curtis Harding. As the smoke from his cigarette wafts above his head, it might come as a surprise to know the rock inspired soul singer cites Christian music as an early influence. Having spent hours on end as a child staring out the window of his mother's gospel tour bus, Harding naturally absorbed the crooning music heard around the house. Fusing this experience into his own unique cocktail of soul, the Atlanta based singer/songwriter has become a rich voice for the lo-fi, riff heavy lineup on Burger Records.

We got a chance to chat with Harding about his early fascination with a church drum set, his inevitable plan to build a time machine in 2014, and which bands he just can't listen to enough as this summer slowly comes to a close.

"New Friends: Curtis Harding" Playlist


You've said before that your mom was a gospel singer—did she ever go on tour? If so, did you travel with her?

Yeah, she traveled with different church groups and performed at colleges, halls, shelters etc. I accompanied her along with the rest of my siblings.

What gospel albums and singer's are you into—which ones had specific impact on you?

The Consolers, The Gospel Keynotes, Sly Stone, The Williams Brothers, John Lee Hooker, Rakim, Clarke Sisters, Chuck Berry, Melle Mel, The Soul Stirrers, Mahalia Jackson, Wu-Tang, Sister Rosette Tharpe—I can go on forever.

What are you listening to these days?

A lot of 90's hip hop.


How did you end up getting into the R&B/hip-hop scene in Atlanta when you were younger? Why did you step away from it? What's it like now?

Going out to clubs with friends- I got more into songwriting and decided to record a project of all Soul songs. I don't go out much anymore so I couldn't tell you what the Hip Hop scene is like here in Atlanta. I'm considered OLD SCHOOL.

What was it like touring with Cee Lo? How did you connect with him? Same with Cole Alexander—what was that experience like?

Great experience working with both of them.


How did the connection with Burger Records come about? What attracted you to them?

Cole Alexander (Black Lips), touring with friends (Night Beats), what attracted me was they were the closest to what my belief system is in living records.

What was the first album or record you ever bought?

Too Short.

Can you think of an album/song that defined a particular time in your life? Can you tell us what it was and take us back there?

The Pinwheel theme song from Nickelodeon, I was 3 years old.

Pinwheel Theme Song


What was the first instrument you ever played? Who introduced you to it?

Drums—I introduced myself to them after visiting a church with no drummer and a full kit. At that point I'd been banging on a single tom we had at my mom's church with a plastic stirring spoon. I was fascinated by all the pieces and wanted to know more.

What bands are your friends in that you think are rad and more people should know about?

The Night Beats, Abigails, Guantanamo Baywatch, The Coathangers, AJ Davila, Natural Child, King Tuff, The Growlers, Night Sun, Black Lips, Zoners, Black Linen, Dead Ghost, Barreracudas, White Mystery, Mystic Braves, Tomorrow's Tulips, GG King, Dinos Boys, Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel, Froth, Cherry Glazer, Shannon and the Clams, Ty Segall, White Fence ..... There are a lot of good bands with great people I know.

What's in store for 2014?

I'm building a time machine.


Don't be antisocial, follow Curtis Harding on Facebook and Twitter.

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All photos: Hedi Slimane