I first met the three-piece heavy rock outfit known as The Hara during Storm Eunice. It was one of the worst UK storms in recent memory and a day where, between the four of us, no one had thought to bring an umbrella.
Even though I’d pulled the band away from a busy afternoon of relentless TikTok making (a task which falls on many a new band nowadays), and despite the fact they had to battle the elements to meet me, the lads were in considerably good spirits when we sat down at their management offices in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
For those not in the know, The Hara are Josh Taylor, Jack Kennedy and Zack Breen, a modern rock trio who pride themselves on their genre-fluid approach to making music and theatrical performances. The band have received notable acclaim from the music press, including Kerrang! and Dork, and have been played on the mainstream airwaves thanks to Gemma Bradley at BBC Radio 1.
Explaining the mantra and what they want to bring to the world, frontman Taylor says: “We want to show everyone that despite it all, despite what the statistics say, despite what people say or any of that social media acceptance bullshit, it really doesn’t matter. If people can become a part of such a glorious resistance through our music, then that’s our mission.”
Hailing from Greater Manchester, the group formed at the BIMM Institute in 2017. Regardless of their multiple ties to the city, Taylor does not consider them to be a Manchester band in the same way that you might think of Blossoms, Courteeners or The Stone Roses.
“In a sense, we’re all from Greater Manchester. I’m from Bolton, Jack’s from more towards Sheffield way and Zack’s from Leyland but, in terms of our music and being branded as ‘a Manchester band’, I don’t think that’s something we’ve ever done intentionally or unintentionally.
Nevertheless, The Hara love having their management, Scruff of the Neck, in their neck of the woods. The group had been well aware of the label for some time and had met founder Mark Lippmann on several occasions before he signed the band in 2019.
“We’ve known about Mark for a while, we’d bumped into him on a train during the early years of the band coming back from London,” guitarist Breen explains. “It’s also a massive plus that they’re in Manchester. I think that’s incredible that we can just come over, a half hour drive, there’s that personable side to it and I think there’s a lot of solidarity with it being branded a Manchester label.”
During a period of time that has been quiet for the music industry, The Hara were the busiest they have ever been. In the space of 12 months, the band were invited to kick off the revival of the live music sector by playing the main stage at the 2021 Download Pilot and Tramlines festivals before playing Reading and Leeds last summer.
Drummer Kennedy explains how good it felt to finally be able to play in front of crowds after nearly two years of no gigs.
The Hara were also one of the few artists last year who were lucky enough to go ahead with their scheduled tour, an event that had been a long time coming.
Kennedy says: “That tour had been postponed three times, so this was the fourth attempt of the routing that we managed to get out. It was a relief to get back out and a relief to be playing shows and to be doing the percentage of our job that is really fun all the time.”
The band are hoping to take this newfound energy with them as they unveil their next big venture: the release of their five-track EP, We All Wear Black, and its accompanying 16 date tour across the UK. The bandmates are excited for their fans to hear the new project they’ve been busy working on, and particularly keen to debut the eponymous track itself.
“It’s pretty exciting, we’ve only played it [live] once, which no one knew we were going to do, and Josh got the lyrics wrong,” Kennedy says. “But you’ll hear the right lyrics on tour.”
By Archie Richards
Main image credit: Scruff of the Neck Records
The Hara’s latest EP, We All Wear Black, is available now.