Mick Harris

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Mick Harris
Birth nameMichael John Harris
Born (1967-10-12) 12 October 1967 (age 51)
Birmingham, England
Genres Hardcore punk, extreme metal, electronica, experimental
Occupation(s)Musician
InstrumentsDrums, drum machines, turntables, synthesizers, vocals
Years active1985–2011
2017 – present
Labels Earache, Ohm Resistance, Ad Noiseam
Associated acts Napalm Death, Doom, Extreme Noise Terror, Fret, Scorn, Lull, Matera, Painkiller, Bill Laswell

Mick Harris (born Michael John Harris; 12 October 1967) commonly known and credited both as Mick Harris or occasionally M.J. Harris, is an English musician.

Contents

Harris was born in Birmingham, and started out in the 1980s as a drummer working with various punk rock and grindcore bands (most notably pioneering grindcore band Napalm Death). As a drummer he is generally credited with popularising the blast beat, which has since become a key component of much of extreme metal and grindcore. Since the mid-1990s, Harris has worked primarily in electronic and ambient music, his main projects being Scorn and Lull. According to Allmusic, Harris's "genre-spanning activities have done much to jar the minds, expectations, and record collections of audiences previously kept aggressively opposed."

Birmingham City in the English Midlands, 2nd highest population of UK cities

Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom, after London, and the most populous city in the English Midlands. It is also the most populous metropolitan district in the United Kingdom, with an estimated 1,137,123 inhabitants, and is considered the social, cultural, financial, and commercial centre of the Midlands. It is the main local government of the West Midlands conurbation, which is the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2,897,303 in 2017. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 4.3 million. It is frequently referred to as the United Kingdom's "second city".

Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.

Grindcore is an extreme fusion genre of heavy metal and hardcore punk that originated in the mid-1980s, drawing inspiration from abrasive-sounding musical styles, such as: thrashcore, crust punk, hardcore punk, extreme metal, and industrial. Grindcore is characterized by a noise-filled sound that uses heavily distorted, down-tuned guitars, grinding overdriven bass, high speed tempo, blast beats, and vocals which consist of growls and high-pitched shrieks. Early groups like Napalm Death are credited with laying the groundwork for the style. It is most prevalent today in North America and Europe, with popular contributors such as Brutal Truth and Nasum. Lyrical themes range from a primary focus on social and political concerns, to gory subject matter and black humor.

Beginnings and Napalm Death

Harris' recording debut was as Napalm Death's second drummer, joining after founding member Miles "The Rat" Ratledge left the band in November 1985. His first live appearance with the band was on 18 January 1986, opening for Amebix. Harris was the driving force behind the band's seminal Scum album and the second release From Enslavement to Obliteration . A subsequent review of From Enslavement to Obliteration in the punk/indie fanzine Flipside went as follows: "This sounds like someone is literally firing a fully automatic rifle while a bassist and guitarist try to keep up."

Napalm Death British grindcore band

Napalm Death are a British extreme metal band formed in Meriden, West Midlands, England, in 1981. While none of its original members remain in the group since December 1986, the lineup of vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway, bassist Shane Embury, guitarist Mitch Harris and drummer Danny Herrera has remained consistent of the band's career since 1992's Utopia Banished, although, from 1989 to 2004, Napalm Death were a five-piece band after they added Jesse Pintado as the replacement of one-time guitarist Bill Steer; following Pintado's departure, the band reverted to a four-piece rather than replace him.

Amebix UK based punk/metal band

Amebix were an English punk rock band. Formed as "The Band with No Name", Amebix's original run was from 1978 to 1987, during which time they released three EPs and two full-length LPs. The group reunited in 2008 and disbanded again in November 2012.

<i>Scum</i> (Napalm Death album) 1987 studio album by Napalm Death

Scum is the debut studio album by English grindcore band Napalm Death. It was released on 1 July 1987 through Earache Records.

After the release of the EP Mentally Murdered , Napalm Death became more interested in the death metal scene and their sound started to move away from the British grindcore sound. At this point Bill Steer and Lee Dorrian departed the band due to creative differences, later, Harris was the sole band member who remained in the tumultuous group through many line-up changes, eventually leaving in May 1991, just after the tour for Harmony Corruption .

<i>Mentally Murdered</i> 1989 EP by Napalm Death

Mentally Murdered is an EP by the English band Napalm Death, originally released in 1989. It was later included on the Harmony Corruption CD and the Death by Manipulation compilation album. On this EP the band's migration to death metal territory is more readily evident than in its previous album.

Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick and blast beat techniques, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes, and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may invoke slasher film-stylized violence, religion, occultism, Lovecraftian horror, nature, mysticism, mythology, philosophy, science fiction, and politics, and they may describe extreme acts, including mutilation, dissection, torture, rape, cannibalism, and necrophilia.

Bill Steer British guitarist

William Geoffrey Steer is a British guitar player, and co-founder of the extreme metal band Carcass. He is considered a pioneer and an essential contributor to grindcore and death metal due to his involvement in Napalm Death and Carcass, two of the most important bands of those genres. Presently he plays with Gentlemans Pistols, the reactivated Carcass and appeared as a live second guitarist for Angel Witch from 2011-2015.

While in Napalm Death, Harris also played drums for Doom and Extreme Noise Terror, and participated in a side project with Mitch Harris called Defecation, which produced two records, Purity Dilution and Intention Surpassed , through Nuclear Blast. Harris contributed only to Purity Dilution, however.

Extreme Noise Terror are a British extreme metal band formed in Ipswich in 1985 and one of the earliest and most influential grindcore bands, particularly in the crustgrind fusion genre. Noted for one of the earliest uses of dual vocalists in hardcore, and for recording a number of sessions for BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, the band started as crust punks and helped characterise the early, archetypal grindcore sound with highly political lyrics, fast guitars and tempos, and often very short songs.

Mitch Harris American rock musician

Mitch Harris is an American guitarist, born in Queens, New York, then moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, but currently lives in Birmingham, England. He started his career in the grindcore band Righteous Pigs. He did a side project with Mick Harris – then the drummer of grindcore band Napalm Death, called Defecation. Shortly thereafter, he left Righteous Pigs and joined Napalm Death permanently in 1989, firstly appearing on the Harmony Corruption album. He is still with them, playing guitar and back-up vocals. He also participated in the projects Meathook Seed, Little Giant Drug, and Goatlord. In 2013, a featured song called "K.C.S." was included on the album Savages by the band Soulfly that was released on October 4, 2013, and was written by Harris and Max Cavalera.

Defecation is a deathgrind side project formed by Righteous Pigs guitarist Mitch Harris and ex-Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris in 1987. Mitch Harris was the guitarist, bassist and vocalist while Mick Harris was the drummer and vocalist as well, until Mick left the group shortly after their first album Purity Dilution was released.

Post Napalm Death

Scorn

After leaving Napalm Death, Harris founded Scorn with Napalm Death's original bassist/lead singer Nic Bullen. Scorn released several well-received albums and EPs in the early 1990s, creating a unique fusion of experimental heavy metal, electronic music, and dark dub music. Bullen left Scorn in 1995, but Harris continued to release albums under the Scorn moniker, exploring dark and minimalist industrial hip-hop territory, with a focus on extremely low and loud bass frequencies. Harris' work presaged the grittier aspects of the dubstep craze of the mid-2000s. As with the tendency for people to put a name to anything, Scorn has also been referred to as beginning the 'Dark-Hop' sound. After two albums in this style still on Earache Records who didn't quite seem to know what to do with this new sound, Scorn and Earache parted ways, leading to a somewhat nomadic existence since then. Scorn has been associated with KK Records, Invisible Records, Hymen and most recently seminal US drum and bass label OHM Resistance, to which Harris had earlier ties to with other projects. In 2007, Ohm Resistance released the first album of all new material in 5 years in a smattering of 12" have also been in the works of late on labels such as the UK's Combat Records and Record Label Records in the US. 25 May 2010 has seen the release of the newest album under the Scorn moniker, Refuse; Start Fires, again through OHM Resistance. This newest Scorn is the first studio release since the Bullen-era to feature another player on many of the tracks, with Harris incorporating a live drummer. In November 2011, Harris announced that the Scorn project was "put to bed".

Scorn is an English electronic music project. The group was formed in the early 1990s as a side project of former Napalm Death members Mick Harris and Nic Bullen. Bullen left the group in 1995 and the project continued on until the end of 2011 as an essentially solo project for Harris.

Nicholas Bullen is a composer, artist and writer.

Extended play musical recording longer than a single, but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. Contemporary EPs generally contain a minimum of three tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

Lull

Somewhat concurrent with Scorn, Harris began Lull, a beatless dark ambient project. Though not as prolific or popular as Scorn, one can argue that this project in its own way is just as influential. Lull was at the front of the so-called Isolationist movement that also included people such as Thomas Köner. Under this moniker, Harris has released full lengths on Sentrax and Release Entertainment (part of Relapse) as well as various 7" releases and compilation tracks, most of which were collected and re-issued on CD by the late Manifold Records. After a number of years of inactivity, Lull has returned with a remix for Franziska Baumann on Soleilmoon Recordings, contributions for the 3-CD compilation Nekton Falls on Celestial Dragon and Fabriksampler V2 on Pharmafabrik, and the CD Like a Slow River on Glacial Movement Records. No albums were released since 2008.

Lull is a dark ambient side-project of former Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris.

Dark ambient is a genre of post-industrial music that features an ominous, dark droning and often gloomy, monumental or catacombal atmosphere, partially with discordant overtones. It shows similarities towards ambient music, a genre that has been cited as a main influence by many dark ambient artists, both conceptually and compositionally. Although mostly electronically generated, dark ambient also includes the sampling of hand-played instruments and semi-acoustic recording procedures, and is strongly related to ritual industrial music.

Thomas Köner German artist

Thomas Köner is a multimedia artist whose main interest lies in combining visual and auditory experiences. The BBC, in a review of Köner's work in 1997, calls him a "media artist," one who works between installation, sound art, ambient music and as one half of Porter Ricks dub techno. A noted characteristics of Köner's dark ambient style are low drones and static soundscapes evocative of desolate, Arctic places.

Painkiller

Also around the same time as Harris leaving Napalm Death, he was contacted by John Zorn who wanted to create a new group consisting of Zorn, Harris and Bill Laswell on bass. This trio became Painkiller – a free jazz-extreme metal trio. The group released 3 successful albums in the early to mid nineties. Guts of a Virgin and Buried Secrets were released by Earache Records and contained mostly short aggressive tracks reminiscent of Napalm Death at times, but with the added elements of both John Zorn's sax and Bill Laswell's bass and all the history the two had behind them. 1995 saw the third (and last proper) release, the two disc set Execution Ground (also released in Japan on Toy's Factory with a third, live disc), on the Subharmonic label. This release saw the trio spread out in three long tracks that retained some of the aggressiveness of the earlier albums, but added a much more spacious, dubby and (at times) ambient feel to the recordings, arguably much influenced by Laswell's production work at the time. The second disc contained ambient re-workings of two of the tracks. In the years since, some live recordings have been released and the trio tends to play a few shows a year, but since the later half of the '90s, different drummers have been behind the kit as Harris stopped drumming live. After rumours of the original trio reforming cropping up in recent years (particularly in light of Harris' recent gigs with the group Black Engine), The original trio did indeed play one last gig in France on 23 June 2008. The show also featured Mike Patton and Fred Frith as guests. At the current time, there are no plans for any more gigs by the group in any form using that moniker.

Quoit and Hed Nod

In addition to the projects he is most well known for, two other monikers make occasional appearances. Quoit is a name used for a drum n bass project that has released three full-lengths, assorted 12"s, a 7" and the occasional remix. Hed Nod is the name for a series of beat and bass releases tangentially related to the Scorn sound, but in a lighter vein. A series of coloured 12" releases were put out on the Disques HushHush sub-label Hed Nod. Buying into the series in advance also got subscribers a CD of extra HedNod tracks not found on the vinyl releases. In 2005, all of the Hed Nod sessions were released on one double disc set called (logically) the Hednod Sessions. Though inactive as a project since the initial 12" releases, the project sees the possibility of reactivation in the near future if conditions are right.

Fret

In 2017, Mick Harris returned after six years of silence under the name of Fret with a new song called Lift Method that was released through Soundcloud. A new album called Over Depth was released in October 2017 as double vinyl / DL through Karlrecords label. [1]

Possible Recs.

In the mid-1990s, Harris started his own record label, called Possible Recs., which leaned towards a drum & bass sound with some exceptions. The short lived label released a batch of 12"s from PCM, Ambush, Quoit, Scorn, James Plotkin's Jupiter project and Eraldo Bernocchi's Interceptor and SIMM projects. Additionally, the label released full-length albums in both CD and 2x12" format by Quoit and SIMM.

Other collaborations

Along with these (mostly) Harris-helmed projects, many remixes and other random collaborations have appeared through the years. Harris has released and/or produced albums with/by Mark Spybey, Submerged, Bill Laswell, Eraldo Bernocchi, Neil Harvey, Martyn Bates, Sielwolf and a host of others. He's also done extensive remix work for Almamegretta, Sielwolf, PSI Performer (Anthony Rother), TMK, Franciszka Baumann, Pigface, Meat Beat Manifesto, Ambre and a host of others. Live performances generally under his Scorn moniker have been a constant through the years.

Influences

Harris has cited Discharge circa 1979–1984, Disorder, Chaos UK, Siege, Killing Joke, Joy Division, Swans circa 1983–1995, Cocteau Twins, Membranes, Public Image Limited, Zoviet France, Nurse with Wound, Skinny Puppy, Meat Beat Manifesto, old school and darkside jungle, drum & bass circa 1993–1996, early Aphex Twin, Brian Eno, Lee Scratch Perry, Scientist, Jon Hassell, Miles Davis up to 1975, John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane, Moritz Von Oswald and Berlin Dub Experimentalists, Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, minimal and hard techno, John Zorn, electroacoustic and musique concrète, Found Sounds, Japanese hardcore bands Kuro and Gai (also known as Swankys), Celtic Frost, Possessed, Slayer, Metallica, Death Strike, Genocide, Repulsion, Death, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Showbiz and A.G., A Tribe Called Quest, and SLAB! as prominent inspirations. He also shows utmost respect to late BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel. [2] [3]

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References

  1. https://soundcloud.com/karlrecords/fret-aka-mick-harris-lift-method.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. Interview with Andrea Ferraris, Chain DLK, 29 May 2005. Access date: 24 July 2008.
  3. Mick Harris's MySpace page