Staff Writer/Photographer M.J. Rawls caught up with lead singer of We Are Harlot‘s, Danny Worsnop to talk about the beginnings of the band, thoughts on the current state of rock music, and their debut album.
MEB: Can you explain how We Are Harlot got started? It was from my understanding that the beginnings had root in 2011?
Danny: It started as a solo album. I was writing with some people over in England. I started working with Bruno (Agra) and was working on putting everything together and met Jeff (George) along the way. We ended up living in a house in Beverly Hills, writing and forming these songs. It reached a point where we were so invested in what we were creating, I didn’t think it was fair just to be Danny Worsnop. We decided to make it into a full band and had some auditions. That’s how Brian Weaver got involved. From there, Harlot was born.
With the debut album, I understand a lot of people have been comparing it to the 80’s rock and roll style.
It was more so like the 70’s. Some people have been comparing it to the 80’s stuff like Motley Crue and that vibe. That really held no influence to the album. It was more like The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith and even some of the funkier stuff like Wilson Pickett and James Brown. Even some ACDC and some Motorhead stuff. The album was recorded with more of a mid 70’s vibe.
Speaking of ACDC, just recently with Coachella, they were a headliner. There seems to be an older rock and roll resurgence happening to an extent. What are your thoughts on that?
When we’re writing music, even to this day when you turn on the radio – you can’t tell one band from another. Most of them in the 90’s heard and song and figured, “that works”. Everyone keeps writing that song again. You can’t tell where one song ends and the next begins some days. Everything is really laborious with a cookie cutter approach to being in a band. However, there’s a small handful that are doing things differently like the Rival Sons, Halestorm, and us. We’re hoping to be kind of at the forefront even though that’s not how we set out to do this. We are just making music we enjoy. The state of rock isn’t incredible, I don’t think.
What would be your favorite bands and/or albums around that 70’s time period?
I grew up on a lot of Aerosmith, Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, and Bob Sieger. Those bands hold close into the heart. I think influence-wise, it wasn’t so much bands or albums, it was what we grew up on as a whole. For me, it was those things and the blues. My grandpa was a blues singer. Jeff grew up with a lot of classic rock, a lot of Kiss. Bruno growing up in Rio, he has that very distinctive South American feel, but he also grew up with a lot of (John) Bonham and stuff like that. Brian grew up with a lot of Motown and jazz. That’s where the influences really came in.
Gathering all those diverse backgrounds, how did that go into recording the debut album?
It was a really unique and fun experience writing and creating this because we can all pick up any instrument and play it. It isn’t necessarily the person on the album playing the instrument who wrote that part. Going into that writing process is very unique and liberating. We’ve done this album four times just on record label moves and producers that didn’t give us the reins and let us create the album. We’re all producers. We know exactly how we want the album to sound. We’re not going to set off with something that isn’t exactly what we want, so it was a lot of re-recording to get it where we wanted it.
I wanted to touch on what you hear in the album and it seems like there’s this musical synergy between yourself and Jeff like the older rock bands that have a formidable lead singer and lead guitarist combination.
That’s a part of the problem with music these days as there aren’t those stand out musicians anymore. The Perry/Tyler combo or the Ozzy/Randy. Now we have between us two, musicians that have done this for so many years and have the knowledge and the ability to create a sound between us than it just being guitars and vocals. Me and Jeff just have a special connection musically and it just gels together and works.
Within the whole band, you have Bruno and Brian who sound distinguishable, but come together to make one unique sound. Was that the ultimate goal?
A lot of bands now have musicians that are competent and able rather than musicians that excel. This is a band where it’s been labeled as a “supergroup”, but I don’t like that because we left everything to do this. There’s a down and dirty rock and roll element, but it does have a super group feel because we are all very seasoned musicians. We all excel at what we do.
With the songs, “I Tried” and “Too Close To The Sun”, they seem like those old power ballads that are just heart felt. Are ballads vital to We Are Harlot?
Ballads are a big part of it and I don’t understand why it’s become a lost art. It’s a part of making an album. If you make an album with the same sound, that’s not an album. That’s a collection of very narrow minded and boxed in songs with no variation. Creating an album is like making a movie. It can’t be all gore all the time. It doesn’t work that way. It has to have substance, and the story has to take you somewhere. Albums used to be a journey and for a lot of bands, they aren’t anymore. We wrote a good 200 songs for this album.
I wanted to get your thoughts on album cycles. Older acts used to tour for two or three years on a single album. Now it seems like there is an album every year instead of letting an album grow.
It’s mainly down to the singles on the album. A single can last to about four to six months. I think the reason they are dying out is because bands aren’t writing hit singles. There’s one or two singles on the album – once they are done, album’s dead. We are looking at having at least five or six singles off of this record and that could be a two or three year journey based of their life spans.
Anything you want to say to your fans who are listening to the album or coming to see you guys on the upcoming tours and shows?
Buy the album. Don’t download it off a torrent website because it cost a lot of money to make. We gotta back people back so we can do a new one.