We last spoke to The Harp Twins way back in 2012, but we've featured their music in various articles over the years since, especially when they do anything Zelda-themed! Musicians Camille and Kennerly Kitt combine the serene sound of the harp with a dynamic live shows and interesting interpretations of popular contemporary songs, as well as a liberal sprinkling of video game music. Breaking down musical boundaries and classically trained, their renditions on both electric and acoustic harps have generated a huge following.
We caught up with Camille and Kennerly just as they were finishing up their first ever UK tour.
Nintendo Life: We're long-time fans on the site, but could you introduce yourselves to those people who perhaps aren't familiar with your work?
The Harp Twins: Hi! We’re Camille and Kennerly Kitt. Many people know us as the Harp Twins. We play rock, metal, TV/Movie soundtrack and video game music on electric and acoustic harps.
Welcome to the UK!
Thank you so much! We felt so honored to be so warmly welcomed by our UK fans for our first ever tour there!
How long has this tour been in the works?
Our UK tour was actually quite last minute, as far as tours go. We announced that we were coming to the UK just three weeks before our first concert in Wales. When the opportunity came up to tour with renowned Welsh triple harpist, Robin Hue Bowen, we just couldn’t pass it up. We then scheduled our own shows in England. We really weren’t sure if we could get the news of our tour out to our fans with such short notice, but we were so honoured that our fans came out to support us! All six of our UK shows were completely sold out!
How has the UK been treating you?
Oh goodness, we absolutely loved our time in the UK. Such gorgeous landscapes, amazing history, cool old cemeteries, crumbling castles and lovely people. What more could we hope for?! We were honoured that our fans came from all over England and Wales, and we even had fans come from Scotland, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Poland, just to attend our concerts!
Was there anywhere in the UK you were particularly excited about visiting?
We think we were most excited about being able to see the old castle and abbey ruins… They definitely did not disappoint. We’re kind of ruin junkies, so we were like kids in a candy store. We also had the opportunity to visit Stonehenge, which was incredible. We’ve seen so many photos and heard so many stories that it almost didn’t look real in person. One of our favourite spots was the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs along the English channel. They were just such a spectacular sight. It was a rather cold and windy day, so we almost had the park to ourselves. It was perfect!
What have you been up to since we last spoke to you?
Hmm. Where do we begin? Haha! We were given a chance to have a cameo appearance as a walker on The Walking Dead. Carol killed us on the season 6 finale. Here is a link to the clip (viewer discretion is advised!) As huge fans of the show, that was spectacular fun.
We’ve also been touring, performing, and recording almost non-stop. We’ve now performed several times in South America including Argentina, Paraguay, and Colombia. In between touring we’ve released a lot of new music, including three original songs. We’ve been writing original material for a long time and it’s exciting for us to finally start releasing it online for our fans. We also did a Christmas album, “Winter Lights”, which is something we have wanted to do for several years; we even wrote two original Christmas/winter themed songs for the album. One fun recent project has been starting a 2nd YouTube channel dedicated to behind-the-scenes stuff, tour vlogs, live performance vids, and lots more fun. The channel is called Harp Twins Happenings and we have a LOT of exciting things coming in the coming weeks and months.
Have your performances changed or developed since we last spoke to you?
Our shows have definitely become a lot more interactive and dynamic. Being trained classically, we were always taught to have this glass wall in between the audience and us. When we discovered that we didn’t have to play by those rules, it really changed our performances. We can really have fun and show our personalities.
Who decides which songs to work on?
Our repertoire is definitely a collaborative effort with each other. The biggest criteria is that we play music that we love. We also try to cover top requested songs by fans. Our list of songs we’d like to cover is always a mile long!
What is the process like?
Once we’ve decided the song we’re going to interpret, we spend a lot of time carefully listening to all of the elements of the song: melody, rhythm, bass, percussion, vocals, etc. We then chart out the piece and discuss any challenges and which harps might be better suited for it. Finally, we start arranging and figure out how to take the parts of an entire band or orchestra into just two harp parts. Many YouTubers these days seem to rely on backtracks or multiplying themselves to play many extra parts in order to get an arrangement that sounds full and complex. However, we always keep our music 100% authentic. What you hear and see us perform in our videos is exactly how we can, and do, perform live at concerts! We are first and foremost live performing musicians, and not YouTubers. We think that our audience really connects to that, especially when they see our live shows! Back to the actual process of arranging: Generally an arrangement isn’t finished until we have it learned and mastered. Even then, we often keep making little changes. It’s a fun and organic process for us. Usually there is a point when we’re playing a new arrangement and we just know that it “clicks”. We think we’ve gotten a handle on the whole arranging thing after having arranged well over 100 songs.
Who's responsible for choosing the set list?
We decide our set lists together. We usually prepare a few different concert sets for a season: one that is on both concert grand and electric harps (our full stand-alone concerts) and one that is just electric harps (usually for festivals, cons and international events).
Do you have a pre-show ritual or warm up?
We actually usually spend our time before concerts with our fans! We know that this is quite unusual, but we love being out and meeting the lovely people who have come out to our shows. We would much rather be signing CDs and chatting with attendees than back-stage twiddling our thumbs. Typically right before we go on, we do a last minute re-tuning of the harps and say a prayer together that they audience will be blessed by our music and have an evening full of fun, joy and light.
Is it easier or more difficult to be family and work together?
We think that being family (and especially being twins) is a huge blessing in our career as a duo. We naturally work seamlessly with each other. We bounce ideas off of each other, write together, work on the business end of things together and always have each other’s backs.
Do your musical tastes differ much?
No, we definitely love the same music!
Who influences you?
Our biggest influences are anyone who steps out of the box and does something different. We love Stevie Nicks and a lot of the old school rockers. We love musicians who are actually really playing everything you hear on stage! So much of live concerts these days is all about backing tracks, elaborate stage sets, LED lights and back-up dancers. Musicians who can get up on stage and wow people with just their instruments, wit, and camaraderie inspire us.
What current video games or video game soundtracks are you into right now?
We’re kind of on an Elder Scrolls kick right now. Such epic music. It’s been a while since we covered any Elder Scrolls, so maybe we’ll have to play more sometime! Our Morrowind/Skyrim theme medley arrangements keep popping back into our shows! We first released it years ago, but it is just so much fun to perform live.
What can new fans expect from a Harp Twins live show in 2018?
Our live shows are much different than our music videos on YouTube. We love having interactive shows. We tell stories, joke around with the audience, have some banter between ourselves, and of course audiences can expect a lot of fantastic music! The most common comment we get from fans coming to a Harp Twins concert for the first time is that it's much cooler to hear our music in person. People who come to a show not knowing much about us always say that they never expected the show that we create. We think people think “boring” when they hear “harp concert”. However, our concerts are far from your grandmother’s harp music.
Did you pick up the Switch yet, or Zelda: Breath of the Wild?
We haven’t, but we’ve heard great things! Hopefully we’ll get the chance to play sometime soon!
Do you play multiplayer games?
Our tour schedule is too busy for us to game very much. However, multiplayer games are a lot of fun! One of the things that we love about video games is that they create so much nostalgia. Even just hearing the music can bring back so many fond and fun memories!
Where can our readers find out more about you?
We would love to connect with readers on our social media sites. We’re on those daily and make it a priority to connect with our supporters. We really appreciate those who listen to our music and support our career. We respond personally on our social media sites, so it’s a great way to connect with us. Here are links to our sites:
What's next for you guys, and when can we expect to see you again on tour in the UK?
We’re currently heading back to Chicago. We have a private event concert the day after we get home, so we’ll have to get over jetlag quickly! Haha! Our first public shows after this tour are at Cleveland Concoction. This is our first time at that particular con and we haven’t been to Cleveland in a few years, so we’re excited!
We’re not sure when we’ll be back to the UK, but hopefully some day soon! We would love to visit more cities in the UK.
We hope you've enjoyed the UK!
Thank you so much! It was an amazing first UK tour and we definitely hope to return some day soon! Thank you, x2!
Thanks to Camille and Kennerly for their time.