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The Sound Café Reconnects with South African Ross Harding: Exploring New Music, UK Ventures, and Sonic Evolution

Welcome back to The Sound Café! Today, we're thrilled to reconnect with Ross Harding, the talented musician whose journey we've been following since our last conversation in 2022. As we catch up with Ross, we'll dive into his latest musical endeavors, his upcoming relocation to the UK, and how his sound has evolved over the past few years. Join us as we explore the exciting new chapter in Ross Harding's musical odyssey.


Q: Your musical journey has undoubtedly seen significant growth since our last conversation in 2022. Could you share some highlights or pivotal moments that have shaped your artistic trajectory over the past couple of years?


Ross: I think consistency and perseverance are the key here. Progressing as an artist, in all aspects, comes from work and experience. Performing live, writing, and recording, just generally learning about not only your craft but also the industry will inevitably help growth. This applies to any endeavor, really. There haven't been specific moments that I could pinpoint, but rather an accumulation of different instances that serve the greater picture.


Q: Your relocation to the UK signifies a major shift in your career. How do you anticipate the process of settling into a new environment will influence your creative process and perspective on your music?


Ross: I can't really anticipate how it will affect me from a creative perspective. That remains to be seen. I am open to experience, which I think inevitably affects creativity in many ways. The UK, and London especially, has so much rich history in the world of music, that it's hard not to be inspired just by that. Led Zeppelin, one of the greatest rock bands in history, and a personal favorite comes from London, with so many other incredibly influential bands and artists. Then there are legendary studios, venues, musicians, both from the past and working currently, with so many other sources of inspiration and influence that I find it hard to think it wouldn't affect my creative process in a direct way.


Q: Your latest single and video, 'A Thousand Snakes,' offer a captivating glimpse into your evolving sound. What inspired the creation of this track, and how does it represent your current artistic vision?


Ross: I have mentioned already that the core of the song was influenced by delta blues - that's the essence of the song, even though this version is more of a hard rock track. I leaned hard into my more natural and lower baritone voice, just trying to be as organic with the song as possible. There are two recorded versions of this song (the other's release date will be announced in due course) one of course, the hard rock / blues rock song you've heard now, and the other, a more rootsy, traditional blues backdrop with atmospheric and acoustic instrumentation. That's what can happen with writing, creativity, and all the trial-and-error of performing music live before it's recorded, as well as presenting music in different formats. I think a good song is something that can be stylized in different versions, genres, and so forth, and is still good, and translates to audiences. I think that is a statement as to where I am in terms of my artistic vision. The process I'm going through now is about building a discography that represents who I am as an artist on a deep level, and that takes time. Songs must be written, recorded, and released. Sometimes they need to be tested live first, sometimes they go straight into the studio. All-in-all, I am on a mission to create and paint that picture.


Q: Since 2022, you've released several noteworthy projects, including 'Rest & Resurrection' and 'Chapter II.' How do you feel your music has evolved in the intervening years, and what themes or ideas are you exploring in your latest work?


Ross: As I gain experience, create different songs, and start forming a broader discography, I am learning about what I want to hear, perform, what I like, and what I want to explore as an artist. Initially, I wanted to indulge in music that was raw, with loud guitars, and highly emotive. Now I am exploring more acoustic-based songwriting, as well as other elements of songwriting. Every time I go into the studio to record music, I learn more, and gain more experience, which I think makes me a better, more mature musician and artist.


Q: Your musical journey has seen you perform with various bands and artists. Can you share some memorable experiences from these collaborations and how they have influenced your musical style and approach?


Ross: Since around 2012 / 2013, I've been a part of several projects. I was in a Southern rock band, a hard rock / progressive rock band, then the blues rock band, another hard rock band more recently and of course my solo work. All of these projects have had different highlights and have helped me improve as an artist. It's hard to say how they've all influenced my musical style - the way I'd put it is that my style influenced those projects and their individual sound. What did influence me directly was the experiences gained by each of them - from playing to literally the bar staff at empty venues, to playing big stages with 5000+ people, touring, recording, and so, so many other experiences that shaped me as a person and a musician.


Q: Touring has been a significant aspect of your career. How do you approach live performances, and what can audiences expect from your upcoming shows, particularly in the UK?


Ross: When I was a kid, playing music live was my dream. After I discovered my deep love for the guitar, all I wanted was to be in a band and perform live. I am doing that now. I take my live shows seriously. I do my best to ensure I am performing at the highest level I can because I love it. I think most people would at least be able to appreciate the care I take in live shows, whether they know me, or even like my music. Come to a show and decide for yourself!


Q: Reflecting on your experiences in South Africa and the broader music industry, what lessons have you learned along the way that have had a profound impact on your approach to music-making and navigating the industry?


Ross: There are a few things I can say here based on my own experiences. One of the most important to me is sobriety. This industry can destroy people, and being of sober mind automatically gives me an edge in decision-making, performances, and how I operate generally. From a music creation perspective, I think that authenticity is key. Knowing what I like, what I want to create, and what will make me feel proud, and then executing that without faltering because of opinions, the need for popularity, or any other reason that would taint my artistic integrity. In the end, no one has a formula for "success" in this industry, so why create anything other than what I want to, and stick to my guns all the way through?


Q: As you entrench and further establish yourself in the UK music scene, what are your aspirations for the future, both in terms of your solo career and any collaborative ventures you may pursue?


Ross: The next year or so is going to bring about its own changes, challenges, and growth. For the time being, I have opened myself up to allowing that to unfold. Of course, I have planned shows and built a strategy, but I know that with a move like these things will naturally have to be amended, I will have to adapt, and that is exciting.


Q: You've had the opportunity to play with musical legends from South Africa, such as the Black Cat Bones. Can you share some insights or experiences from these collaborations and how they have influenced your musical journey?


Ross: Over the years I have become close friends with the Black Cat Bones. I've even called Andre (Kriel) my "Blues Dad". Andre and the gang are just amazing people, and I have learned so much from them. I think a big takeaway here is to always be humble and learn from your peers. If you think you know everything, you will hinder yourself from being able to really expand.


Q: Speaking of the Black Cat Bones. Recently, the South African music scene experienced a profound loss with the passing of The Black Cat Bones singer, Kobus de Kock Jnr. How has this tragic event impacted you personally and the music community as a whole?


Ross: Kobus' death was a terrible loss for the South African industry. These things always bring to light how much we need compassion and care for one another.


Q: 'A Thousand Snakes' delves into introspective themes and emotive storytelling. How do you balance personal expression with creating music that resonates with a wider audience?


Ross: The art that I make can only be judged by myself. I have no idea what people will like, and I cannot even begin to consider that, because then I'll be trying to create with the wrong intentions. I've never tried to create music that resonates with anyone outside of myself initially. I think that's the key to making good music. I am the only one (and maybe the people I create with) who can decide whether I like something or not. Of course, as an artist and performer, I want people to resonate with my music, but I really have no control over that. I must make the best music I can, make a judgment, and then trust that it will find the people who will love it.


Q: With the ever-changing landscape of the music industry, how do you stay adaptable and resilient in the face of challenges, and what advice would you offer to emerging artists navigating their own musical journeys?


Ross: To paraphrase another interview I did recently, the industry is changing daily. I don't think there really are any rules right now. It's a game of adjustment, risk-taking, and perseverance. Being an artist is a calling. Once you've decided that this is your life, this is what you do, you will find strength and resilience. If you're chasing fame and money, and the music comes after those things, well, it's going to be much harder to be a true artist, especially in the face of adversity. I'm talking specifically about being an artist here. I've come up in the industry during a time when all these changes and challenges are the norm, so I don't really have anything else to compare it to. I just do my best to make the best music I can, and then take whatever steps I must after that to share it with the world.



It has truly been a pleasure catching up with Ross Harding and delving into his latest musical ventures, including his impending relocation to the UK. We're excited to witness the ongoing evolution of Ross's artistry and extend our best wishes for his journey ahead. Stay tuned to The Sound Café for more captivating interviews and musical discoveries in the future.


Stream & Watch ‘A Thousand Snakes’ Available Friday 15 March >


About 'A Thousand Snakes'

South African/UK Rock and Blues Singer-Songwriter Ross Harding is poised to captivate audiences worldwide with his new single and music video, 'A Thousand Snakes', set for release on Friday, March 15th. Drawing inspiration from the raw essence of old Delta Blues, this promises a haunting journey through themes of struggle and resilience. With a detuned guitar rooted in bluesy tones, Ross infuses his own style, creating a dark and sinister atmosphere that resonates with the depths of the soul. Through personal reflection and philosophical insight, 'A Thousand Snakes' delves into the complexities of human existence, offering listeners an immersive experience that transcends musical boundaries. Don't miss the unveiling of Ross Harding's evocative new single and music video ... prepare to be enthralled.


Ross Harding Commentary

"The original idea for 'A Thousand Snakes' was inspired by the old Delta blues. A detuned guitar part rooted in those bluesy tones, embellished with my own style. There is something dark and sinister lurking there. The core of the song is about struggle, somewhat. Maybe about our struggles in life as people, maybe something very personal, I can’t say for sure. I seem to gravitate towards these themes often because I think our existence as people ultimately is about struggle in different forms that shape us. Sometimes, unfortunately, it creates broken people, lost people, and sometimes it creates enlightened, more resilient beings, the latter being my hope for all. My music usually takes on this kind of darker form because that’s what resonates with me. That’s what moves my soul in music generally. I don’t always think that dark element is negative. I think there is something much deeper. Philosophically, when we consider the most poignant times in our lives, they are seldom 'happy,' and that doesn’t mean those times weren’t good. There are emotions in this world far greater."


Ross Harding Bio

Ross Harding embarked on his musical journey in 2017, founding the Blues Rock band 'Black Harbour Blues'. Since then, he has achieved both local and international success through captivating performances, extensive tours, and acclaimed recordings. Notable highlights include headlining the prestigious Drakensberg’s 'White Mountain Festival' and sharing the main stage at the 2014 RamFest with renowned acts like Biffy Clyro, Trivium, Fouls, and Killswitch Engage. Ross has also made numerous appearances at local festivals, embarked on an acoustic international tour to Italy, and performed at various independent shows across South Africa.


In 2018, Ross co-hosted a sold-out ‘House of Blues’ show, featuring top South African Blues musicians such as Andre Kriel (Black Cat Bones), Pepi Dimevski (Gunshot Blue), and Richard Bruyns. He has further supported major South African artists, including Dan Patlansky, The Narrow, Prime Circle, and Fokofpolisiekar, while serving as the frontman for the acclaimed South African Super Rock Group Fear of Falling.


Ross gained global industry recognition with his 2022 debut EP 'Rest & Resurrection' and 2022 sophomore EP 'Chapter II'. These releases were followed by his Maxi Single ‘Everything Is Black' in 2023, solidifying his position at the forefront of the music scene.


In January 2024, Ross announced his relocation to the UK in March 2024, coinciding with his business's move to London. He aims to continue his journey as a performing artist while fostering connections between South Africa and Europe. His upcoming single and music video, ‘A Thousand Snakes’, set for release on 15th March 2024, explores the depths of the delta blues, intertwining personal struggles and philosophical reflections on human existence, resonating profoundly with Ross's soulful musical expression.


Following the conclusion of his South African tour, Ross is set to continue his musical odyssey in the UK. Upcoming shows are planned for April 7th in Glasgow and April 12th in Brighton, where he will be sharing the stage with acclaimed artist Dan Patlansky. More shows are scheduled across the UK from May onwards, promising an electrifying continuation of Ross Harding's musical journey.


Ross captivates audiences with his vocal prowess and acoustic guitar finesse, whether performing solo acoustic sets or with his band. His trio band demonstrates mastery across Blues, Classic Rock styles, and original compositions, cementing his status as a versatile and dynamic musician.


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