I came across the Harp Twins Camille and Kennerly Kitt recently, from an ad I believe was on either Facebook or You Tube. What caught my attention was these two talented young ladies were playing heavy metal on Harps. I like metal and other styles of music played on non-conventional instruments such as 2 Cellists, Apocolyptica and even Fade to Bluegrass.
Awesome! We haven’t placed any ads, but many have found us from their friends sharing our videos!
The ladies had videos of them playing Iron Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark” and Metallica’s “One”, and I was hooked just like that *snaps fingers*. I have since watched quite a few of their other videos and got my hands on of one of their CDs entitled, “Harp Attack.”
Not only do they arrange and record the music, but they produce it as well. The way play the harp is hauntingly beautiful and stirs the soul. They’ve been kind enough to allow me to interview them for this here blog. Enjoy:
What was it about the harp that first interested you in playing it?
We started playing harp in middle school after we had already been playing piano for years (actually on a keyboard because we couldn’t afford an actual piano). We were both really drawn to the beauty of the harp. It’s always seemed like a magical instrument to us. However, it took us awhile to convince our mom that we were serious about learning the harp. We had to show we were serious by earning some money ourselves. We babysat, walked dogs, did office work, and worked in a local print shop to earn the money for our first harps, which were pre-owned. For a while, we only had enough money to buy one harp, so we shared it!
The harp is one of the oldest instruments in existence, can you tell a little about the history of the harp?
The history of the harp could take up an entire thesis paper! We’ll try to give the highlights. The harp is believed to be one of the oldest musical instruments in the world. Evidence of primitive harps have been found in various places throughout the world, so it seems that many cultures were creating their own different harps simultaneously. The earliest harps were most likely developed from the hunting bow. There are ancient Egyptian tombs dating from as early as 3000 B.C. that show a harp that looks like a hunting bow with strings. These harps had very few strings because the frame couldn’t support very much tension. The harp with a straight column/pillar, also called the frame harp was developed in medieval times and appeared in Western Europe between 800 and 1000 A.D. Art from that time shows these harps with about 10 or 11 strings. In the 1700s the pedal harp was introduced to more easily achieve some chromatic notes. Since that time, great developments have led to the modern day pedal harp. Currently, there are many, many different kinds of harps in a plethora of styles and sizes.
As a person who has listened to hard rock and heavy metal for a long time, I appreciate your take on performing both styles. When I first heard you, I listened to songs such as Metallica’s “One” and “Nothing Else Matters”, as well as Iron Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark” and “Dance of Death.” In fact, I enjoyed it so much, that I got my hands on a copy of “Harp Attack” and can’t stop listening to it. What is it you like about making this kind of music on a harp as opposed to a more classical style of music?
We love classical music and classical music will always have a special place in our hearts. However, we started arranging the kind of music that we liked listening to the most (e.g. rock, classic rock and metal) because we felt like that type of music was “calling” us. Many people don’t realize that at the core of many rock and metal songs is a complex and beautiful melody and rich emotional depth. Perhaps metal is not as far from classical music as some people would think it would be. Harp has been an instrument that has been relegated to the back of the orchestra and weddings for far too long. We love the challenge of arranging music for only two harp parts that was originally played by an entire rock group or orchestra. We love taking the harp where it has never been before and introducing the world to what we can do with the harp. We want to show the world that harps can rock! The people who listen to our music are listening to our music because we’re not average harpists…We’re rock harpists! 😉 😉
I recently saw your “Viking” video, featuring a bear, and it was the first song I’d heard with you two singing in. Are there any singers who influence your singing?
We don’t really consider ourselves singers! Our Vikings Theme and “The Hanging Tree” covers are the only times we have ever included singing while playing the harp. We sang in our conservatory choir, but the harp is really our true passion. Our favorite singer is Stevie Nicks, but our singing isn’t even close to her level of singing awesomeness. 😉 😉
We love to sing, but we prefer to show what we can do with only two harps. When someone sings with an instrument, the instrument becomes background/accompaniment to the vocals and we love our harps to have the center stage! However, our fans seem to enjoy our singing, so we try to occasionally include a bit – even if it’s just at the end of the video (as in Lord of the Rings, Scarborough Fair and The Rains of Castamere).
I’ve read that you produce and arrange your own albums. How did you get into that part of the recording business and what do you like about doing that?
Our “producing” job really came out of necessity. We wanted to start releasing music, but didn’t have the funds to go to a recording studio or hire professionals. So we invested in a mac and learned how to record ourselves into Garageband (free recording software). We have continued to progress in our skills and continued to upgrade our equipment and software as we have the budget. To this day, we have never recorded at a recording studio – all of our CDs and recordings have been done in our living room. We have recently been working with our friend Kevin Bartlett of The Smash Room Studio to have our music professionally mastered. We love being able to produce our own CDs and music videos. We’re A-type personalities and we like having control over every aspect of our career and music.
What other instruments do you play, if any?
We’re classically trained in piano. We were actually able to validate out of the piano requirement courses at our conservatory of music studies. We also dabble in singing and percussion.
On your website, it says that you are both third degree black belts in Tae Kwan Do and you are experts in rifle shooting. Over the years, I’ve read how musicians have different hobbies to help unwind while on the road, such as Alex Lifeson of Rush took flying lessons, Alice Cooper is an avid golfer and Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden has been a sport fencer for many years. What do you like to do to unwind while on the road?
One of our favorite “on the road” activities is actually exploring old cemeteries! We love the interesting history and peacefulness. We also love hiking and spending time in nature. We’d much rather spend our free time in a National Park than in a big city! A silly thing that we like doing while on the road is the person who isn’t driving reads the “terrible” hotel reviews on Trip Advisor for local hotel/motels. They give us endless amusement and as a side-bonus…we can even avoid the worst hotels, 😉 😉
Thank you so much for your interest in us and our music!