“What better place than here? What better time than now?” Zach De La Rocha’s words on Rage Against The Machine’s “Guerilla Radio” always ring true when thinking about revolution — perhaps now more than ever. With ideas, organizations, and movements growing everywhere, every person’s actions count, and vocalist and guitarist Katie Harkin is ready to celebrate that and speak out. Formerly of Sky Larkin and a touring member of Sleater-Kinney, Katie is embarking on a solo project called Harkin, and has devised an all-star team to come together for a cover of Comsat Angels’ “Independence Day.” For the track, she joined forces with Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak, Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint, and Hayden Thorpe of Wild Beasts; Wasner and Mozgawa will be featured on Harkin’s first official full-length, projected to be completed in the next several months.
While recording in LA, the group had the chance to take part in the Women’s March and included footage from the day into the video of their recording session for “Independence Day.” The group stays true to the 1980 original, from its distinct synths to its serious vocal delivery. The song is still able to feel fresh, though, due to its unmistakable relevance and the musicians’ passion behind it. Harkin went more in-depth about what led her to cover “Independence Day:”
I’ve had the chorus of this song rattling round in my head since Brexit: “I can’t relax cause I haven’t done a thing /And I can’t do a thing cause I can’t relax.” I wanted to kick-start the year with an act of creative collaboration, and Sheffield’s Comsat Angels’ anxiety anthem with its metaphors of international diplomacy felt crushingly apt. It happened to be the day of the Women’s March in Los Angeles, we were working in a studio downtown so (we) walked up before we started recording. It was such a moving spectacle to behold and an incredibly galvanising way to start the day of working with some of my favourite people. It was also a treat to follow in David Hockney’s footsteps as a Yorkshire bottle-blonde in LA and to be able to sing a song in my own accent.
Watch the video and an interview with the collaborators below.