GQ (Australia) - - THE SOURCE -

“Hart re­minds me of how I was at his age.” They’re the words of the late, great Prince, which tend to show up any time you care to google mu­si­cian Dar­ren Hart (aka Harts). Kind of like how you can’t read about Mariah Carey with­out a men­tion of her five-oc­tave range. Given Hart was just a kid strum­ming away in his Mel­bourne bed­room at the time, such high praise might come as a sur­prise – but then you hear him play. Al­most al­ways dressed in a leather jacket and ’50s-style white tee (or psy­che­delic shirt), Hart’s slick sound is rooted in funk, R’N’B and rock. His shows are filled with Hen­drix lev­els of shred­dery and be­hind-the-head tricks that make it crazy to think he only picked up gui­tar seven years ago. After teach­ing him­self bass, keys, vo­cals and record­ing, Hart found him­self with a man­ager, an EP and an of­fer from The Mars Volta’s Lars Stal­fors to mix his tracks. In­dus­try praise fol­lowed, and that phone call from Pais­ley Park. “It was sur­real,” he says. “I’d just had some bad deal­ings with a la­bel, so I was a bit sad. Then, within two hours, I got an email from Prince’s man­ager.” Hart as­sumed it was a prank, un­til his phone rang and a voice an­nounced he was speak­ing to the Pur­ple One. “We’ve been lis­ten­ing to you a lot,” said the singer. “I’d like for you to come out here, record and play with us.” Hart kept his cool and, within a few weeks, was en route to Min­nesota. “He gave me advice about the busi­ness,” says Hart. “He was frus­trated with the state of the in­dus­try, he just wanted to in­spire peo­ple like me to make a change and chal­lenge what pop­u­lar mu­sic is to­day.” The fruits of the jam, cou­pled with in­flu­ences from ’70s soul, hip-hop, Buddy Guy, Jack White, and big-band funk, can all be heard on Hart’s new al­bum, Smoke Fire Hope De­sire. It boasts big­ger and more var­ied ar­range­ments than ever be­fore, thanks to some lessons in risk-tak­ing. “Prince re­ally chal­lenged me,” he says. “We played [gen­res] I wasn’t com­fort­able with, but he wanted me to see there’s more to mu­sic, that you have to dis­cover as much as you can – that’s the thing that leads to longevity in the mu­sic in­dus­try. That’s what in­spires you to con­tinue cre­at­ing.” Smoke Fire Hope De­sire is out Septem­ber 16; hartsmu­sic.com

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