EXCLUSIVE: Dhani Harrison Discusses New Album, ‘Innerstanding,’ and the Joys of Working with Blur’s Graham Coxon

Dhani Harrison, son of the late George Harrison, recently released his second official solo album, Innerstanding. The 10-track collection of atmospheric tunes initially was made available via digital formats in October, while physical CD and vinyl editions arrived in February 2024.

Videos by American Songwriter

In an exclusive interview with American Songwriter, Harrison explained that Innerstanding was recorded after he and frequent collaborator Paul Hicks had done the soundtrack to an experimental film titled Futra Days, by director Ryan David. Similarly, Harrison noted, his first solo album, In Parallel (2017), was recorded after he and Hicks worked on the soundtrack to David’s previous film, Seattle Road (2016).

[RELATED: Dhani Harrison (George’s Son) Releases First LP in 6 Years INNERSTANDING]

Harrison said he began working on ideas for the songs on Innerstanding on a laptop while he was spending several months in Australia during the pandemic, noting that the tunes were influenced by the Futra Days soundtrack.

“I just started making this record, using kind of what I had in my head from this film score I’d done,” he told American Songwriter. “So it was kind of all organic, the way that the first album came after the first score for this director, and the second album came after the second movie of this director. So they fit.”

Musicians Who Contributed to Innerstanding

Innerstanding features contributions from Blur guitarist Graham Coxon, longtime Gorillaz touring guitarist Jeff Wootton, The Duke Spirit singer Liela Moss, former Uh Huh Her member Camila Grey, Australian/British singer Mereki, and bassist Nick Fyffe, who played in Harrison’s old group thenewno2.

Harrison said he had almost the entire album recorded when he returned to the U.K. from Australia, with the exception of the main guitar parts. The 45-year-old musician said a highlight for him was putting guitar on the record alongside Coxon, whom he says is one of his favorite guitarists.

“Graham and I did a lot of stuff on this record, and just kind of threw down some insanity,” Harrison said. “You know, his guitar is the best sounding guitar. … [I]t sounds like a scary monster. It sounds like a … ‘Godzilla coming out of the ocean’ kind of sound.”

Harrison also praised Wootton’s contributions to the album, noting, “he’s an incredible player too.” He said that between himself, Coxon, and Wootton there was “very dirty guitar on the record.”

Themes and Concepts Behind Innerstanding

Thematically, Harrison explained that the songs on Innerstanding basically are about people being able to get along with each other despite our differences.

“[I]f you’re gonna be in this world now, we have to be living in our hearts and we have to be coming from a place of love,” Dhani maintained. “Otherwise, everything we do and everything we say and everything that’s around us can be … weaponized against us and used against us. … [A]lso, that whole concept of just, it’s okay to disagree on things and still love each other.”

Harrison also explained that another concept he’s trying to convey in Innerstanding is the idea of growing and learning by trusting your own experiences and intuition.

“[I]if we’re looking at ourselves, and we’re doing our work, and being good people and living … in natural law, you know, then you’re not getting manipulated,” he suggested. “And it’s very hard to manipulate people who are very well-healed and people who are living in their hearts.”

Innerstanding Artwork and Music Videos

The concept of the album also is reflected in the photos featured in the Innerstanding packaging, as well as the music videos that were shot for a number of songs. Among them is a recently released visual for the track “I.C.U.

In the album artwork and video, Harrison is shown in various natural settings in the U.K., including in a cave, in a forest, on a rocky hilltop, and overlooking the sea. He told American Songwriter that going into nature gives one the opportunity for self-reflection.

“[W]hen you’re in nature, it’s very easy to let go of all of your bulls—, you know?” Harrison he noted. “Prejudices … anger or fear, or whatever the [negative] things you’re feeling [are].”

He added, “[I]f this record stands for anything, it’s like taking that pause and kind of introspection of nature and to see if we can get back in tune with ourselves a little bit more.”

Plans for Innerstanding Concert Video, Tour Dates

Harrison revealed that plans are in the works to also release a video culled from two concerts he played at the London club Omeara in October 2023. The shows featured full performances of the Innerstanding and In Parallel albums.

Dhani seemed to suggest that the concert video could be released as part of a deluxe version of Innerstanding.

Meanwhile, Harrison says he’s planning to start touring behind Innerstanding, but no upcoming shows have been announced yet.

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