Kyp Harness The Exclaim! Questionnaire
Published Feb 01, 2003Kyp Harness is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter. He is currently supporting his latest independent double CD The Floating World.
What are you up to?
Playing songs of new double album The Floating World with the Dinner Is Ruined Band and writing more songs and playing them and raising dwarf angels along with songs in a carousel of love by the haunted house and the tilt-a-whirl.
What are your current fixations?
Mercy, forgiveness, survival, coming out of the bends, running for cover, long-time salvage operations, the striving to remain vertical. Actually, just say mercy.
Why do you live where you do?
Because I'm afraid if I left I wouldn't be able to find my way back.
Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art:
My mind has been altered by so many wicked piercing shards of glass but in the end my attention collects around the broken fumblings of a clown.
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
I ushered for Sinead O'Connor, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin. In terms of my own shows I'm excited by the ones that is or are to be rather than the one that was - though I have been likin' to play with the Dinner is Ruined.
What have been your career highs and lows?
High: This new double album torrent The Floating World.
The lows you don't want to know - the only low I know was long ago.
What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
Nothing springs to mind. I think I've blocked it all out, Doctor.
What should everyone shut up about?
I think everyone should just keep right on talkin'.
What traits do you most like and most dislike about yourself?
Like: seventeen toes.
Dislike: what's to dislike?
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
Evilness. If I leave the door open they usually find their way out on their own.
What do you think of when you think of Canada?
What is your vital daily ritual?
Loving up my house homies
What was your most memorable day job?
That awful one where you're bored all the time & have nothing to do but you have to look busy all day, like a dog chained to a post by a highway.
How do you spoil yourself?
If I wasn't playing music I would be:
Chartered accountant, CEO, dentist.
What do you fear most?
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
I'm gonna get it on and take it off and get it off and take it on again!
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
Standing downwind of the Gallivanting Gourmet.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
The Gallivanting Gourmet - the question is what would he serve me?
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
I think she's glad I'm just doing something.
Given the opportunity to choose, how would you like to die?
Over 12 years and six albums, Toronto singer/songwriter Kyp Harness has amassed a songbook that should rightfully be hailed as a national treasure. And there could hardly be better proof of his prolific profundity than his new double album, The Floating World, which in many ways sums up his best work over the years. Sprung from a productive folk rock singer/songwriter scene in Toronto of the early '90s, Harness is an amalgam of his peers: the romanticism of Ron Sexsmith (who is also his most outspoken champion), the political punch of Bob Wiseman (who produced his first cassette), and the sweet charm of Bob Snider (who's been known to dance wildly onstage at Harness shows - a sight that has to be seen to be believed). As a political poet of Queen Street, Harness wields a piercing pen articulating the search for hope amidst neo-conservative madness. As a shameless, hopeless romantic and true believer, Harness writes with an earnestness that could melt the coldest heart. Many of his best songs combine those two sides, and The Floating World also balances Harness's two musical sides. On disc one, the Dinner is Ruined Band are the perfect accompanists for his rowdier side, capable of both kicking his ass and sounding more beautiful than they ever have, while disc two is a more pleasant Sunday morning folk record. Most songwriters would take some time off after such a massive work, but Harness is already debuting a wealth of equally strong new songs in his live set. He's not waiting around for you to catch up.