HESS (Eng.)

– Hi Mr. Hess, thanks for your attention and time. We can start with the questions if you agree. For me, and for most Melodic Rock fans, you are one of those special voices that represent this scene. What are your feelings when your fans value the hard work you’ve done for this music style and for the music in general? Do you think your work gets the deserved attention?

It’s always nice to be appreciated for the work that you do, I definitely work hard to deliver my best. The hard rock scene has been underground for many years now but there seems to be loyal support from the hardcore fans.

– But well, let‘s go step by step. Your professional career begins in 1985 (being just 17 years old) with a 80’s Heavy Metal band named BLIND VENGEANCE, doesn‘t it? What are your memories of that period? Are you a fan of 80’s classic Heavy Metal?

Yes I was 16 when I made that record and I was definitely into the hard/rock heavy metal scene at that time. Rock was al over mainstream radio and I was really into Judas Priest and Iron Maiden as well as more commercial stuff like Def leppard and Motley Crue.


– Two years later you formed HAREM SCAREM, probably your most successful project as professional musician. I guess the first years of HS were not really easy… What was the hardest thing when it came to form the band? And what is your most beautiful memory of the first steps for the band?

I put together the band in early 1989 but the first year was all about recording demos and writing songs. I guess it was early 1990 when we started playing live so it really wasn’t that long but it felt like it at the time. Getting our record deal was a huge step for us…


– You formed HAREM SCAREM with your inseparable mate Pete Lesperance. How did you meet Pete? And what could you highlight about him as both musician and mate?

I was working with a different guitarist at the time who suggested that we bring in another guitar player and have two, we tried that for a while but I was more into what Pete was doing and it worked out better with just one guitar player for the style of writing I was doing. Of coarse later on we started writing together but most of the songs on the first record where already written before Pete and I really got going as a writing team.


– And in 1991 Warner Records, one of the most popular record labels in the world, produced your first album after listening your demo cassette tape. How did you feel when they called you to release your material? I imagine it was unbelievable news for you. What were your thoughts back then?

I did feel like it took forever to get that going but it was really about a year. Warner just liked what we were doing from the beginning and we were only talking to one other label at the time ( BMG ). Warner was my first choice because of the labels they distributed in the U.S like Geffen and Atlantic…


– But your first album, called “Harem Scarem”, as the band, was quite successful and it gave you the opportunity of recording a second album in 1993, “Moodswings”. That was the first record I listened by you and, on my humble opinion, is an awesome opus with tunes that are true masterpieces, such “Jealousy” or “No Justice”, with amazing inspiring lyrics that make your listeners think about different subjects. What do you think about the “worldwide justice” 20 years after writing “No Justice”?

I’m happy that “ Moodswings “ connected with so many people around the world. I guess it was good timing as it really launched our careers in many countries including Japan where we sold a lot of records. We have been talking about re-releasing a 20 year anniversary edition of “ Moodswings “ next year..


– By the way, talking about “justice” and our chaotic world, what are your thoughts on the current music industry? Many musicians complain about it, and I would know your opinion as producer, singer and professional into the music world.

Well it has definitely changed and I can also look back and start complaining about how it used to be but that doesn’t help and isn’t going to change things. I know I have to be current and make records that are worthy of being popular today. I have been fortunate enough to work on many projects in the last few years that have had commercial success so I really don’t have anything to complain about but a lot of rock bands are trapped doing something that is not relevant anymore musically and also not as good as what they used to do. Everyone says that the music business is shit and on some levels it is but try to tell Adel, One direction, Katy Perry, Marron5 ect that things aren’t going so well… They are for them….


– HAREM SCAREM released some time ago its 12th studio album. Your previous effort came out in 2008 and was titled “Hope”, which I think was a great album. The band is nowadays one of the best portraits of what Melodic Rock is all about, and a pride for any Melodic Rock fan. But “Hope” was, unfortunately, the last HS album. Or… is there any chance the band could reform anytime in the future?

We have had numerous offers to do a new deal and also play but at this time we have not officially decided on anything but it does come up in conversation between us a lot more these days. I like to think there will be something one day we just have to be motivated to get in a room and start working.


– By the way, in 2010 you recorded the FIRST SIGNAL’s album called “First Signal”. A lot of people said and thought this would be the rebirth of the HAREM SCAREM’s essence. Was this your intention? Do you plan recording more albums under the name of FIRST SIGNAL in the future?

I was asked to sing on a record/ project that was already in the works. I really liked the songs so I was happy to be involved and I would do it again but it’s different than writing your own songs and singing them.


– But this interview is to chat about your solo career, and that‘s what we should do now. You recorded a solo album in 2003 entitled “Just Another Day”, which was a smoother than ever Melodic Rock album. But this sophomore effort is more powerful than your first piece. Why this change in the sound? Maybe because your musical taste is different compared to your taste 9 years ago? And why such a big gap of time between both releases?

This was just a continuation of where I was with Harem Scarem. It took so long because I always had something else to do so I did this solo record in between other projects whenever I would have a spare day but it took about 3 years in total doing it this way.


– Your new solo album is called “Living in Yesterday” and is available since late August. On it there are freatured several well-known musicians as Magnus Karlsson, Tom Denander, Marcie Free and, of course, the master Pete Lesperance. What could you tell us about them all? Was it easy to play and work with them? And talking specially about Marcie Free, she also has one of the best voices into the Melodic Rock world. What are your thoughts of her comeback with UNRULY CHILD, and also with you, performing some backing vocals?

I started record the record with all my go to guys like Pete, Creighton and Darren but then I wanted to add some new and different flavors to it. First I got a few guitars players to add solos and of coarse having Tommy on the record was obvious since we wrote “ I don’t wanna want you “ together and we demoed it while I was in Sweden.

I heard about Unruly Child through Frontiers records and that got me into checking out some of their older stuff on youtube and I couldn’t believe how amazing Mark Free was in Unruly Child and all his other work. I then heard about Mark now being Marcie and still sounding amazing so I thought it would be great to have her do some backing vocals on the record. I approached her on Facebook and then we just chatted about the vocal parts on skype and I was very happy with the outcome.


– We know you are producer and you also have your own studio, Vespa Music Group. There you have had the chance of working with artists as SIMPLE PLAN, BILLY TALENT or MUSE. This last band, MUSE, is now one of the most successfll Rock bands all around the world. They recently released their new album with a more electronic vibe and they’ve stepped out of Rock music. What’s your opinion about MUSE, about their career and this abrupt change in their sound?

I am definitely a fan of their work and it sounds like they are evolving as a band and staying current with what’s happening in music today..


– By the way, from Queens of Steel we woud like to give you the opportunity of talking about your studio, Vespa Music Group, and also about your future projects and clients. If you want to promote any band or tell us anything…

I have been involved with a few projects that are very cool lately from just a studio perspective or writing or just mastering their records. A few cool ones to check out would be the new “ Big Wreck “ record ( also from Canada ). Cancer Bats are a metal band that I mastered but was all recorded at Vespa. Another record that I recently mastered that I loved was a band from the U.K called “ Lower than Atlantis “. I produced and recorded a song called “ Destiny “ for an AC artist named Franklin McKay that is currently #30 in the AC Billboard charts in America. Lastly check out “ Every Lie “ by Canadian rock band “ My Darkest Days “ I co-wrote this song and Chad Kroager from Nickleback produced it…


– Our online magazine is initially addressed to promote the females into the Rock and Metal world, that’s why it’s called Queens of Steel, and we would like to know who do you think are the best five female musicians into the Rock and Metal music.

1. I was always a Lee Aaron fan growing up ( and I sang background vocals on one of her platinum records )

2. Care Failure from the band “ Die Mannequin “ a band I helped develop and co-wrote with…

3. Vixen

4. Pat Benatar

5. Marcie Free


– And the last question: would it be possible to see you soon on stage supporting this solo album or with any other project? Will you be visiting Spain and your Spanish fans?

I would love to come back to Spain and hopefully it will happen again…


– That’s all Mr. Harry Hess. If you would like to tell something to our readers, it’s the time. Thank you very much for your music and your time.

My Pleasure!!


Alex M. Romero


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