HARVEY WILLIAMS

 

Harvey at Notting Hill Arts Club
Notting Hill Arts Club, December 1999
[photo by D.Nicoll]

Harvey Williams hails from Newlyn, just outside Penzance, at the western tip of Cornwall. He made his first recordings over ten years ago, using the pseudonym Another Sunny Day. Under this name he released half a dozen singles on Sarah Records - including two of the first ten releases on the label (one of these being the infamous and much misunderstood Anorak City flexidisc) - and picked up a couple of Single of the Week awards in the weekly music press along the way. All of these releases were later collected by Sarah onto the best-selling London Weekend compilation. There was also a one-off 7" on Bob Stanley's Caff label, featuring covers of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark's Genetic Engineering and The Bee Gee's Kilburn Towers.

After his fourth Another Sunny Day release, Harvey joined fellow Sarah act The Field Mice as lead-guitarist, keyboardist and occasional vocalist. And then, after The Field Mice split in 1991, Harvey played a similar role in the new 5-piece line-up of another Sarah act, Blueboy. It was also around this time that, for his solo work, he decided to drop not just his trademark guitar sound, in favour of a much more keyboard-based approach, but also the Another Sunny Day moniker. In 1994 the mini-album Rebellion - which Melody Maker refused to review on the grounds that it was only 15 minutes long - became the first work to be released under his own name, and to demonstrate this new musical direction.

Following the demise of Sarah Records, Harvey played briefly with Trembling Blue Stars - live, on record, and on a session they recorded for Mark Radcliffe's Radio 1 show (over the years, he's also done session work for bands as disparate as St.Etienne and Shampoo) - but did not do any more solo recording until the end of 1998, when he went back into the studio to create the mini-album California, released by Shinkansen the following May.

The eight songs on California were still essentially keyboard pieces, but now other instruments - cello, clarinet, violin, flute and flugelhorn - made an appearance, and there was even one guitar-led number, Everything's Alright. The album was produced by Ian Catt, and Amelia Fletcher of Heavenly/Marine Research guested on vocals on opening track Cindy's Been And Gone.

In 1999 Harvey was joined for live work by Josh Gennet (formerly of U.S. band Holiday), and in October the duo embarked on a short tour of Sweden, playing to enthusiastic crowds and being interviewed by national press and TV. In December 1999, Harvey and Josh supported Trembling Blue Stars at the Notting Hill Arts Club, and Harvey has since agreed to re-join Trembling Blue Stars as guitarist, keyboardist and programmer. Meanwhile, there should hopefully be some more Harvey recordings later this year...

Harvey
Trafalgar Square, 1993


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