One-man music making machine Harts is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.
The Chennai-born, Melbourne-based singer-songwriter and guitarist writes everything, plays all the instruments, records and produces all of his music single handedly in his bedroom studio.
Following in the footsteps of his idols Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Queen and Michael Jackson, Darren Hart weaves funk, soul, rock, pop and nu-disco into his creations, and has already been likened to a young Jimi Hendrix and had Prince say “He reminds me of how I was at that age”.
Spending the past few years developing his sound, Harts independently released his 10 track debut album Daydreamer in September last year. The album quickly gained positive coverage in many music publications such as Rolling Stone Magazine, NME, Herald Sun and Vogue, and the lead single ‘Red & Blue’ was an alternative radio hit.
Following the success of the album, Harts’ two latest singles ‘When A Man’s A Fool’ and ‘Breakthrough’ featured on a brand new EP, titled Breakthrough which was released in June this year and was followed by a 20+ date Australian and New Zealand tour. Accompanied only by a drummer, Harts effortlessly recreates the songs live – juggling between shredding guitar, laying down keyboard, bass and vocals with a loop machine and sequencer.
He has headlined his own sold out gigs, wowed an audience of 10,000 opening for Rod Stewart at Hope Estate and rocked out at festivals such as Splendour In The Grass, Groovin’ The Moo, The Hills Are Alive, Maroochy Festival and most recently, Bigsound 2015. Currently, Harts is working on his upcoming second album, and will also be playing a special run of festivals over the summer.
Harts plays a Fender Squier Stratocaster. It may be one of the cheapest guitars on the market, but when he plays it, you wouldn’t know.
The iconic cream/white Squier that he plays live was painted by a friend – with blue, green and coral swirls on the face – and was the only model he could afford when he started out (worth approx. $150-200). An Affinity Strat with a fat headstock, the guitar is often mistaken for a full-blown Strat.
Pedal wise, Harts uses Zoom Multi Effects units tweaked to his liking, and they act as clones of the Big Muff and Fuze Face compression pedals and digital delays. A loop pedal is also key to Harts’ multi-instrumentation live (especially when he busts out his outlandish rock move of playing behind his head).
Harts can makes his guitar talk, walk, wail, fly, cry and sigh with just a few string-bending moves.
Described by Rolling Stone as having mastered “Hendrix’s blistering guitar shredding and the electro-funk pop perfection of Prince in his Eighties prime”, Harts’ sound is all about big 80s fuzz and feels.
The overdriven guitar, the synth bass and melodies, the falsetto singing and the squeal are all stable sounds in Harts ever growing catalogue. Solos, of course, are the statement pieces of each song.
The fuzz melody mimics of ‘Red & Blue’, the funky hook of ‘Breakthrough’, the MJ swagger of ‘When A Man’s A Fool’, the dainty disco solo of ‘Leavn It All Behind’, the broody bass of ‘Angels Walk Below’, the throwback theme of ‘Offtime’, the electric riff of ‘Lovers In Bloom’ and the awesome soundscape of ‘All Rise (Play It Cool)’.
All the live videos on Harts’ official website http://www.hartsmusic.com or Youtube.
Check out his face melting cover of Hendrix’s classic ‘Purple Haze’ below: