Album Premiere | Davey Harris, ‘Animals Vol. 1’

Multi-instrumentalist Davey Harris loves to fight with himself, weaving opposing sonic sentiments. His musical landscapes are clever, vast, diverse, and full of ear parasites. Previously, he was the percussionist and co-founder of the band The Tins, which rose to prominence with their breakout hit, “The Green Room,” and cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper.”

Ahead of the release of his latest effort, Animals Vol. 1, Harris has exclusively dropped the album below for an early screening. “The best thing to do to bring Humans together is… to celebrate,” says Harris.  

I created this body of art to help raise awareness for endangered species and endangered habitats.  It’s been a trip to learn about the Grauer Gorilla (the world’s largest gorilla) going extinct, that cheetahs are being killed as if they are vermin, overfishing is taking place near penguins, honey bees are dying fast… serious topics, but it’s been expansive to celebrate each animal in a way that honors them and honors the people who give a shit about them.  I hope listeners enjoy this record, and feel moved by at least one song!”

On Animals Vol. 1, the songwriter, storyteller, and accidental wizard Harris leverages his music to amplify causes and share significant stories. On his new record (out this summer), Harris gives voice to those threatened global neighbors who can’t speak for themselves. Elaborate, fraught situations distilled and transmitted via melody, Harris hopes his music can help spread awareness to those who might otherwise never come across these stories on their own.  

The journey that grew into the creation of Animals Vol. 1 began with the most innocent of seeds; a song written as a gift. “A mentor of mine had been really supportive, and I wanted to show my appreciation. So, I wrote a song for his cause” explains Harris. His mentor loved the song. Imbued with confidence, Harris decide to use his gift to write songs that would have an impact, raising awareness and amplifying ideas. 

Next came “Honey”, a song written for an apiarist.  That led to writing songs for the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (penguins), the International Cheetah Fund (cheetahs), the Congo Rainforest Fund (gorillas). Word started to spread, and Harris was invited to the COP28 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates to perform his animal songs.

While the subject matter might differ a bit from his usual mix autobiographical fantastical commentary on life, love, sex, and dying, the songs on Animals Vol. 1 fit rather nicely into the same family of weird, esoteric, thoughtful music for which Harris is becoming known. “It turns out its super fun to write these songs” says Harris. “I love creating the vibe around the animal, and then sharing an idea, message, or story inside.

“When I write simply for myself, I am releasing an energy, an emotion, or concept that was subconscious… and I am letting it bubble up” he explains. “With the animal music, I try to get inside the heads and minds of these amazing creatures, to share the story they would want a human to know about… without actually saying it.” There is a fine line creating art that actually makes one think without coming off a touch self-righteous. Harris manages to keep it all in balance by keen attention to the way he tells these stores; working to bring the listeners into these unique worlds through painterly lyricism instead of heavy-handed moralizing.

“Music hits immediately like nothing else” says Harris. “Most animals don’t have a voice (except for parrots), and music is a way that animals can be heard and appreciated.  It’s a way to spread a message and a vibe in seconds.” Harris is currently writing a song for the oceans that will be used in a documentary, and it feels like he’s just scratched the surface of possibility to be found at the nexus of music and environmentalism.

Photo Courtesy: Tristian Leyco