As Barbie discovered in the recent Greta Gerwig film, feeling is part of the human condition. Experiencing emotions is inevitable, but expressing them takes effort and courage. Indie-folk singer-songwriter Harrison Storm learned how truly rewarding feeling was and is from an early age.
Growing up in a culture of toxic masculinity, there was an expectation of repression. For a boy who felt everything, that was suffocating. However, through listening to artists like City and Colour, Angus Stone, and Jeff Buckley, Storm learned the power behind expression. How finding shared heartache makes you feel connected and liberated.
Now, Storm is creating that reciprocity through his own original music. His debut album Wonder, Won’t You? is an intimate and unabridged offering that exposes Storm’s perspective on life and how he connects to the world.
We chatted with Storm about the album, opening up, and more.
In 2015 you were busking the streets of Melbourne and now, almost a decade later, you’re releasing your debut album. What has the journey been like to get to this moment and how does it feel now that you’re here?
I’ve been reflecting on this a lot lately! The journey has been one full of highs and lows naturally, but underneath it all there is still this deep love and pursuit of music. I’m very grateful for the years I spent busking, it was truly a time of cutting my teeth and finding myself, personally and musically. There have been so many wonderful people I’ve had the opportunity to connect with in the music world and I’ve made some lifelong friends in the process. I always dreamt of doing music as my job and to wake up each day and keep pursuing that is a true dream come true.
What inspired the title, Wonder, Won’t You?
I was toying with different titles but that line (which is from a song off the album Stone) encapsulates how I try to maintain my perspective in my day to day life. Especially when it comes to difficult emotions and experience. Trying to see the silver lining, hope and curiosity about everything. Life, yourself, how you create meaning etc.
What was the production process like?
I had some demos that I’d built up production wise that I took into Dustin (Tebbutt), some ideas that I wanted to aim towards. Dustin was super open to my ideas in that sense. We played around with a lot of soundbeds and textures that sit underneath the songs which I found really fun. But ultimately the reason I decided to work with Dustin was his unique and atmospheric leaning production style he uses on his own music. I admire his natural leanings on sonic ideas and it was fun to explore these together.
Every song on this album was written by you. Why was it important to have your imprint on each track?
I’ve done a lot of co-writing in the past, which I loved, but I wanted to really cement my own songwriting style with this record. There is also a practical aspect to it as well. I was writing a solid chunk of the songs during COVID so I did not have access to other writers as easily. It was a good challenge in self belief and I felt like I began the journey of affirming my abilities with my own tastes and preferences.
What’s your favorite song off the album, and why?
I love “My Way Home.” It’s a song about someone very important in my life, who has helped me a great deal to overcome a lot of personal and creative hurdles. Its a simple love song and holds great meaning for me.
Your music has always been candid, but we especially hear it on this album. In a culture of toxic masculinity, what was it like tapping into those emotions and expressing them so openly? Were there any moments where you struggled with that?
I’m always trying to get to a level deeper when it comes to my expression in creativity. There is a point where things become uncomfortable when you’re confronting yourself in that sense quite often. So when I did feel that, I knew I was on the right path. I find my job as an artist is to really work hard at remaining open and sensitive to my emotions and the world around me. There have been obvious lessons in that, like learning to take myself away from the depth of creativity and do something completely different. Being in nature and moving my body as often as I can has helped immensely.
What did you learn about yourself through the making of this album?
There were so many different layers I got to explore from the sensitivity of songwriting, to how I interact with my own creativity. I think the ultimate lesson above all of them was to trust myself and what I like with my own art. There is a certain acceptance that happens when you drop the people pleasing and insecurity that comes with making art. Being vulnerable is a beautiful thing and puts you on the path for the most meaningful connections and experience.
Music was your solace growing up, what do you hope your music is for others?
The same, really. If people connect with a song or feel like they are less alone and more understood in life, then that makes me smile. That’s the experience I have with music as a listener in general. Songs can be great friends, teachers and an escape and I love trying to do the same.
If you could set up a fan in the perfect environment to listen to your album, what do you imagine it looking like?
Something very comfy. Probably laying down on a cosy couch or a bean bag with a cup of tea, some low, mood lighting and wrapped up in a warm blanket.
What are you most looking forward to in 2024?
Writing more music! And touring the world! 2024 is shaping up to be a very exciting time and I can’t wait to see unfolds and what gets produced. I have already had some really beautiful songwriting sessions with friends and we’ve made songs we love.
You’re going on tour in February. What can fans expect from those performances?
I’ll be playing with a band for a lot of these shows, so the sound will be a lot more full and extensive. I’m so excited to share the stage with friends. Being a solo artist can get lonely sometimes!
What is one quote that you have heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world?
A problem shared is a problem halved. A beautiful message around communicating whats bothering you. It’s okay to not be okay.