Dhani Harrison: "People have a preconceived idea of the music I’m going to make"
Dhani Harrison may have a famous father, but the multi-instrumentalist wants to be respected as a musician and composer in his own right with his solo debut IN///PARALLEL
"Being in London’s nice. Let’s pull this blind up so that we can see some of the sky,” says Dhani Harrison, peering out from the Knightsbridge offices of Harrisongs music publishing company.
He’s just recently flown over from Los Angeles and is off to Berlin the following day to “touch base” with everyone about his remarkable debut solo album IN///PARALLEL. And while he apologises for still feeling a bit jet-lagged, his conversation is vivid and full of energy.
Back in 2002, Harrison helped to finish off his father George Harrison’s final and posthumously released album Brainwashed. He has continued to keep George’s name alive by playing his music, appearing at the Concert For George that year, and in a televised set to accompany his induction into the Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004, alongside Prince, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne.
Further from the glare of the spotlight, he collaborates with a wide range of musicians, plays with Jonathan Bates in Big Black Delta and has been recording with his own band, thenewno2, since 2006. He’s also forging a career scoring soundtracks for film and TV. But IN///PARALLEL is something else, a genuinely progressive slice of 21st-century psychedelia with strong vocal melodies emerging from kaleidoscopic swirls of electronics, keyboards and strings, distorted guitars and percussion. Most importantly it’s his most deeply personal musical statement to date. And it has been a long time coming.
“I started working on it and had to keep putting it on hold as I had the score for a film or a TV show, because then you’re in another headspace and returning to this is like you’re in an inner world,” Harrison explains. “I liked the idea of doing a soundtrack. I started scoring without a picture, just by myself and I soon thought, ‘Wow, this is a lot of stuff, this is a big project.’”
Harrison played it as a work in progress to Paul Hicks, who is also in thenewno2, and with whom he also works on film and TV scores. “He said, ‘This is your solo album and you owe it to yourself to do it under your own name and not just try and hide it.’ It felt like it was time, so it happened very naturally.”