Interview: Nai Harvest Proudly Carry The Emo Flag

Photo by Ed Crisp

Interview with vocalist and guitarist Ben Thompson  |  By John B. Moore

U.K. based duo Nai Harvest isn’t afraid of the dreaded emo label. Sure, the term has been dragged through the mud over the years, but singer/guitarist Ben Thompson and drummer Lew Currie picked it up, washed off the eyeliner, and now proudly wear the emo label. Their latest EP Hold Open My Head, is a great example of emo done right. The record is being put out via a partnership between U.S. based Topshelf Records and U.K. based Dog Night Productions.

Thompson speaks about the record, their ongoing devotion to their U.S. label, and why they proudly carry the emo flag.

How did the two of you first meet?

We met when Lew started Uni[versity] in Sheffield and started playing in a hardcore punk band called Grazes with some of my friends. Nai Harvest started as a little bedroom band shortly after this, and we had a different drummer called Sami. He moved to Birmingham and then Lew offered to do drums in his place. I guess that’s when we became the band we are today. We both class that as the “real” start of Nai Harvest.

Do you share similar musical influences?

Yeah mostly, we’ve never argued about sound and direction. Obviously, we don’t both like all of the same bands, but we both love a lot of the same stuff.

The songs seem a bit different on this new EP, compared to your first record. Was that a conscious decision?

It was totally conscious. We’ve always wanted to do something a little fuller sounding and the progression of getting a little heavier, smoother, and “bigger” sounding ended up coming through the most in the new EP. We’re really proud of it and I wouldn’t change anything about the songs, whereas there is quite a lot I’d go back and change about the album if I could. I think we’ve finally found “our sound.”

Many bands have distanced themselves from the emo label, but it seems like that strong, emotional sound is making a comeback in many newer bands. Do you bristle at the emo label or do you embrace it?

We love it. Emo is cool as fuck, always has been, and always will be. It became this cringey term to describe a dress sense and attitude that was total bullshit. All words in the English language deviate meaning eventually after being watered down by the masses, even the term “indie” doesn’t mean anything like it used too! Fuck My Chem[ical Romance], long live Cap’n Jazz. Fuck Kaiser Chiefs, long live Pavement!

Have you started thinking about another full-length yet?

Yes! Keep your eyes open, but we ain’t gonna rush shit. It may be a little while.

The EP is coming out soon. What are the rest of your plans for 2014?

We’re touring with Seahaven in the U.K., Turnover in Europe, got a bunch of one-off shows, a couple of tours we can’t announce yet, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be hitting the States this year! As well as writing an album and trying to hold down our real lives.

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