A good friend from Spain, called Rafa, noticed the Progdreams III festival that I was going to had Harvest on the line-up. He congratulated me on that and urged me to do an interview. And although I was not familiar with the band, I’m glad I followed his orders! So here I am at a table of the cosy venue’s café, a few hours before the show, facing singer Monique van der Kolk and Jordi Prats (lead guitar). And Toni Munné (bass) on my left.
Interview with Harvest
André de Boer
André: Welcome! Suddenly, because of a common friend insisting, we have this interview here at De Boerderij with Harvest from Barcelona.
Monique and Jordi: Okay, thank you!
André: So, you are playing the Progdreams tonight! Tell me.
Monique: Yes! Very very excited! For several reasons. First of all it’s Holland, my home country, and it’s always special to be back here. Secondly we always have the feeling that people in Holland really appreciate our music and listen to what we do. And really seem to enjoy it! The third reason is de Boerderij. And that is very, very, very special! It is the venue of which I always said “I would like to play there”, you know.
Jordi: Yeah, this is the place!
André: It’s your progdream?
Monique: Yes! [laughing out loud] Yes, exactly, absolutely!
André: You played the Odeon as the first gig of your short Holland tour.
Monique: Yes, last night. It was a nice show, we gave it all. And it also was a warming-up for the show today. We had only a small number of visitors but on the other hand they told us they enjoyed the show very much so that made us feel comfortable for the day after, here at de Boerderij. So yesterday was good, it was nice.
André: Of course I am interested in Rafa, what’s your connection with him?
Jordi: Oh well, Rafa is a big fan of Harvest for years, from the beginning. He is a friend of our drummer Alex. And he always, always comes to see us! He really is a music “freak”.
André: Okay, now tell me. How is it that a girl from Groningen is playing a Catalan band?
Monique: Yeah, I left Holland for Barcelona sixteen years ago. And about six years ago I met Jordi Prats and Jordi Amela because they were playing a neoprog band called Dracma at the time and they needed some backing vocals. This evolved until one day Harvest was born.
André: I’ve been listening to your music the last few weeks to understand your direction. What about the other bands that play the festival tonight. Do you like their music? Do you know them; do you like Haken for example?
Jordi: We followed Clepsydra many years ago, yes. It’s a very good prog band. Personally I don’t know much about Eclipse Sol-Air but we met Haken in Kingston at the Celebr8 festival last year. We shared the same date and the same stage, and we will do that again tonight! They are very good, they have that much power and energy…
André: Don’t tell me, I know, this will be my 7th Haken gig… Well, I was reading about Harvest and then I came across Steve Rothery and Alan Reed that helped you out on your last album. How did that happen, this special co-operation?
Monique: That happened when we were working on our second album Chasing Time. We had this nice little acoustic song Time Lapse and I really wanted to have a male collaboration to sing together, make it a bit of a duet. And Alan came up in our minds because a personal friend “introduced me” to Pallas when Alan was still singing in the band. I loved his voice and I thought it would be the perfect voice to match mine, which is always difficult to find. It didn’t take much to get him to do it really, I just sent him a message and he replied that he wanted to hear the song. He liked it and said “Send me the lyrics”! After a couple of days he sends us his tracks and it was… [big big smile].
Last year me met each other at the Marillion weekend in Holland, he was playing his acoustic set there. And he was playing together with us on stage as well, which was really nice!
With Steve Rothery the story is more or less the same. I started with messaging him and gave him a copy of Underground Community in Barcelona, that has a cover of Waiting to Happen. One day he just offered his help although I know he must be a busy man! That meant a lot to us because he wouldn’t do that if he didn’t like our music, wouldn’t he! Like Alan he came to play with us at the Marillion weekend. Jordi has always followed Marillion so it was very special for him to play with Steve! [Jordi is smiling]
André: You mentioned your albums, debut Underground Community that was DPRP recommended, and Chasing Time a few years ago. Any new plans? Are you writing new material?
Jordi: Yes! We are not only working on that, we actually are in the recording process of our third album! And it will be a great album! We are very exited about it. It might be out late November, the idea is to release it this year. We will be playing some songs of this new album tonight! We will see how the acceptance will be.
André: Any special guests on the new album? Someone from Haken?
Monique: Hahaha, we’ll ask him tonight! For now nothing is planned for guests. But you never now…[looking mysterious]
André: You are doing a little Holland tour. Three gigs? And after that you will support IQ in Barcelona!
Monique: Yes, tomorrow we play Tilburg and after that we drive home again. We like IQ so we are looking forward to that show, and Rafa will be there for sure! It’s also a band that Jordi admires but he never had the chance to see them play live, although they had several gigs in Barcelona. But Toni has! The feeling that we are gonna share the stage with Peter Nicholls is really special. The way he performs is so exiting to see, theatrical. I hope we shall have a little talk with him.
André: Does Harvest want to grow? Would you like to be as big as IQ is?
Monique: That would be nice, yeah! We take are music very seriously. We have our daytime jobs of course but we rehearse and write every week. And looking for places to play. We certainly would like to get a bigger audience, that is the idea.
André: Maybe the most difficult question. How do you describe Harvest’ music, your style, your way of writing?
Monique: Well, it is our music! We write together; everyone has his influences but the compositions are our compositions. Someone comes up with an idea and then we all work on it to make it a new Harvest song. I would not call our music prog but it certainly has the elements. And I think it has a nice solid sound!
André: Thank you very much for the interview and lots of success. Let me tell you I think your choice of opening song for tonight, Roundabout, is the perfect one to get the audience enhanced! Looking forward to that. Is there anything I didn’t ask that you’d like DPRP readers to know about Harvest?
Monique: I would very much like to ask DPRP readers to try and listen to our music. You can easily stream it on Bandcamp. Judge for yourself if you like it or not and then, if you enjoy it, please join us!
Photography for DPRP by André de Boer