It started alone in a bedroom and grew to a nationwide success in the time it took you to read this sentence. Danny Harley – aka The Kite String Tangle – spoke with DAVID JAMES YOUNG on how the project has evolved from its humble beginnings.
It’s too easy to say that it was luck that lead to the success of The Kite String Tangle, the bubbly, emotive electronica one-man show of Danny Harley.
Perhaps a better angle is serendipity – that it was all laid out there for Harley to eventually happen upon.
“I was mostly into pop, rock and pop-punk up until around the end of high school,” he explains. “I went to university and met a whole bunch of people that had vastly different musical tastes to me. It was great – I joined an industrial metal band and got to listen to and try out some really weird stuff. Then I was getting into world music and gypsy jazz – I was all over the shop. Some friends of mine started a jam band – reggae, DnB, that sort of thing. I was in that for awhile, and then The Kite String Tangle began as a sort of off-shoot from that.”
After toying around with some ideas, the Brisbane-based producer and multi-instrumentalist released his first single, Commotion, in 2012. Although interest was quickly generated, this ultimately didn’t pay off until the release of Given the Chance in 2013, the runaway hit that has scored nearly 1.5 million plays on Soundcloud and an unexpectedly high position in the Hottest 100, beating out Kanye West, Disclosure and Vampire Weekend.
“That was pretty crazy,” recalls Harley of this past Australia Day when Chance was announced at number 19. “It was so surreal, I couldn’t really contextualise it at all. It was so strange. The Hottest 100 has been a part of my life – I mean, it’s what everyone does on Australia Day, isn’t it? It’s what you do. I was at a party with my friends, just like every other year – except, this year, I was in it!”
This month saw Harley release his debut EP under the moniker, Vessel. It marries Harley’s love of deep, intrinsic electronic music and a harmonious pop sensitivity with a knack for dynamic hooks and big, sweeping musical passages.
“I guess it’s inspired by two separate pools of thought and music,” says Harley when queried on the influence behind this approach to music making. “On one hand, there’s the beatsy, textual stuff. Bonobo, Four-Tet, Jamie XX, SBTRKT, Jon Hopkins, Burial… I draw a lot of production influence from them. I then put the songs in a more poppy context. I love pop music, as well. I’m a massive fan of Lorde – I think she’s a great lyricist. I also love James Blake, the XX and London Grammar. They write lyrics that are really intimate and really personal, as well as being really relatable to the listener.”
A national tour is set for the end of the month and into September, where new material from a forthcoming album will be tested, as well as favourites from Vessel. Not bad for a twentysomething Brisbanite with a laptop, right?
“Not bad at all,” laughs Harley.
THE KITE STRING TANGLE
Friday, August 22 @ Amplifier
Friday, August 22 @ Ginger Nightclub (DJ set)