Stephen Harrison has lived in Edinburgh since 1978 but was born in London and attended school there in Wimbledon, and then secondary school in the Yorkshire Dales. After a year at attending a Foundation Course in Art and Design in Lancashire, he went to Edinburgh in 1978, and the Edinburgh College Of Art where he studied Drawing and Painting for three years. After college, he remained in Edinburgh and until 2007, supported himself with jobs in public transport and then retail. Since 2007, he has concentrated entirely on music.
Writing songs has always been an important part of his self expression. He began writing songs whilst at school in the Yorkshire Dales, and as a sixteen year old, performed at local folk clubs in the area. In Edinburgh in 1978 he was a member of Edinburgh 'post-punk' band Metropak, in which he played guitar, sang and was co-writer of the material along with other members of the group. Metropak were part of the thriving music scene in Edinburgh at the time, and the three records that the group released have, along with those produced by other bands of that era, become sought after and cherished.
After Metropak, he was involved in several other bands and musical projects for a few years including a solo album in 1988. He eventually focused on being a solo writer and performer. In 2007 he created his own record label called Close Up Records UK, which has released five solo albums by Stephen Harrison, the latest of which is called 'Today Tomorrow'.
The musical journey that he has travelled on so far began with songwriting influenced by the sounds of the very late sixties and early seventies. Bands and individuals such as Simon And Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Donovan, John Lennon, Cat Stevens, Leonard Cohen, George Harrison, The Doors.
A definite change came about in the late seventies whilst a member of Metropak, whose sounds could be said to have been influenced by the likes of The Clash, The Fall, Pere Ubu, and The B52's for example. The angular, unpredictable, 'deconstructed' and rhythmic sound that characterized the Metropak songs were in stark contrast to his earlier 'dreamy' songwriting.
In the eighties and nineties there were less successful connections with the synthetic, drum machine orientated and neo-romantic sounds of that time.
In his song writing he seeks strong haunting melodies. Lyrics concerning the personal and the universal are arrived at in harmony with the melody and delivered with clarity and yet they seem enigmatic in places too. Song structures and arrangements grow and develop in line with what feels right for each song, rather than following the more usual verse/chorus formula.
'We Face Extinction' is Stephen Harrison's fourth solo album.