Jeremy Faccone, Frank Zummo ,  Dhani Harrison, Jonathan Sadoff, Nick Fyffe

Jeremy Faccone, Frank Zummo , Dhani Harrison, Jonathan Sadoff, Nick Fyffe


A Beatle’s son forges his own path with a little help from his friends   

Dhani Harrison is humble as he discusses the mysterious art of musical inspiration. The son of late Beatle George Harrison plays down his natural knack for finding lively hooks and heartfelt lyrics. “You never know what spark is going to be created,” he says. “Collaborations can change your musical DNA. The most exciting thing about making music is learning.”

In just a decade as a professional musician, Harrison, 34, has enjoyed quite an education. The London-based singer-songwriter has embarked on an array of projects since serving as co-producer of his father’s posthumous 2001 album Brainwashed. Harrison and his avant-rock band thenewno2 (pronounced “the new Number Two,” in homage to a character from the 1960s TV series The Prisoner) recently released their second album, thefearofmissingout. They’ve got a built-in headline grabber, but thenewno2 doesn’t lean on Harrison’s family connections to raise their profile. Still, Harrison’s proud to embrace the inevitable comparisons between father and son. “It’s definitely a talking point,” he admits. “I’ve been around a while, so I’m used to it. It has its advantages. He’s my dad, my best friend, but there’s hardly a lot to compare to his work. We have a totally different sound.”

Thefearofmissingout blends elements of electronica, hip-hop and traditional rock to form a distinct sensibility that defies genres. Always at its center is Harrison’s coolly understated vocal style. An eclectic ensemble of friends and musicians has helped him blossom into a mature and accomplished performer. Originally formed as a duo with Oliver Heck playing drums and synthesizer, thenewno2 now features Grammy Award-winning sound engineer Paul Hicks, along with Jonathan Sadoff, Jeremy Faccone, Nick Fyffe and Frank Zummo. “I couldn’t be happier right now,” Harrison says. “We are building steam and ready for takeoff. The way we structured the band, I wanted it to be kind of like a gang. We’re going from strength to strength. Everyone is a lot happier to offer their input, and it’s good to have them to bounce ideas off.”

The album features collaborations with Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, the Black Knights and Harrison’s Fistful of Mercy bandmate Ben Harper. Some artists might have adopted a play-it-safe mentality after their first blush of success, but Harrison believes it’s his responsibility to both entertain and challenge his burgeoning audience. “I’m not afraid of making stuff that’s hit-or-miss,” he says. “There’s no reason not to try. You shouldn’t have to take music too seriously.”

–Blake Boldt

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