I N T E R V I E W
Justin Harris of Elider
by Ian Duggan
‘Elider’ is the solo project of Osaka based ex-Hamiltonian, ex-Spatula Death and ex-Inchworm guitarist, Justin Harris. Elider has just released its debut album, ‘Redbird’, and one of the songs has gone straight in at #5 on Wellington radio station Radioactive’s Top 11! Even better, Elider is playing at the Future City Festival next month! We talked to Justin from his base in Osaka about the new album, and what to expect from his Future City Festival appearance!
HUP: Ahead of your Future City Festival appearance, you have released your debut solo album ‘Redbird’. What can you tell us about the album? Should punters expect it to sound like an Inchworm album?
Justin: Well it’s taken quite a long time to make, so I hope that is reflected in the final product. Given that I was a third of Inchworm, perhaps it sounds about one-third similar? It does have the layered guitars, etc, and since I was working in a home studio this time, I had more time to add even more of them!
HUP: What can we expect from your performance at the Future City Festival? Are you playing solo, or with a band?
Justin: I’m playing with a band, which I’m both excited and nervous about. Excited because Scott Newth [Rumpus Room] and Ben Cole [The Joint Chiefs, The Datsuns] are such great musicians that I think they will add a lot of power to the songs. Nervous because we have never played together before. Ben drummed on most of the songs on the album, but after the rest of the music had already been recorded. And although I’ve known Scott for about 30 years, and worked with him before, we’ve never actually played in a band together before!
HUP: In an earlier interview with HUP, you stated one of your songs was actually an Inchworm song that was never recorded. Did that make the cut?
Justin: Yep. And it’s one of my favourites on the album actually. It’s called Lift, and Scott Brodie [Inchworm/Grok] plays bass on it, so that’s nice. He played on it without listening to an old live recording of it on purpose, so that he would give it a fresh bass line. And it’s very different than the original. I’ve added lots of hooky guitar lines in it too, so it’s quite a different song I think. When I included it on this album I didn't know at the time that Inchworm would ‘get back together’ as such [at their 2016 Hamilton reunion], otherwise I may have given it back to us!
HUP: Your song 'It's Times Like This' has just hit #5 on Wellington radio station Radioactive's Top 11. Are you going to add a date down there while you're in New Zealand?
Justin: Unfortunately not. It would be great to play other places, but it’s just not possible at the moment - old man responsibilities in the way! I’ll be recording with Scott Newth while I’m in Hamilton though, for the second album. The rhythm section for a whole full set of new songs is already recorded with Ben on drums and Scott Brodie on bass which are pretty rocking…hopefully we can get most of the vocals for those songs done, so I can then take them back to Japan and add guitars, etc.
HUP: You have lived in exile in Osaka and Kyoto since the breakup of Inchworm. Are you planning on playing gigs in Japan to support the album?
Justin: A good question, but I don’t know. Perhaps.
HUP: Are there any bands you are looking forward to seeing at the Future City Festival?
Justin: I’m looking forward to seeing Ben’s band [The Joint Chiefs], and Ancient Tapes. And Rumpus Room - they sounded absolutely fantastic when I saw them last March. Their two guitarists sound like four! I haven’t seen the Hollow Grinders for 20 years or so, so I’d like to see how they’ve grown into their suits.