BY JASON LI
Formed in 2012, Schrödinger’s Strings are an award-winning harp-based trio from Norfolk. Ed plays an acoustic guitar, Steve plays a 27-string harp, Carol plays a 38-string harp. They have over 20 original pieces and their quirky arrangements of classics include songs by Pink Floyd, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, and the Foo Fighters. Schrödinger’s Strings played at Woburn Abbey, the private home of the Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb, and large festivals across the United Kingdom including Camp Bestival, The Cambridge Junction, and Oxford’s South Park. We are very excited to have them feature on the Headliner Blog, where they share how they stylise both their original music and unique arrangements of classics, as well as explain the origin of their unique band name.
How did you guys meet and decide to form Schrödinger’s Strings?
Back in 2012, we met through local open mic sessions in Hertford, where we started jamming covers and some of Ed’s original materials together. We never intended to form a band – it all happened organically. Now we cannot imagine not performing together!
What type of event do you like to play at the most?
On a whole, festival gigs tend to be our favourites, because people are there specifically for the music. However, we played at some fantastic weddings and private parties where the audience were really appreciative and allowed us to feel that we are a part of their celebrations.
Can you name the most unforgettable performance the band has ever done?
In 2016, we were lucky enough to be invited to play at Camp Bestival in Dorset. It was a beautiful location and had a wonderful and friendly crowd. That was our biggest festival yet, and our performance went down a storm. This year, we were booked again to play at an even bigger Camp Bestival in September.
What is the band’s favorite genre AND song to perform?
Our favourite genre is rock, but in terms of performance, we gauge the audience and perform songs that we think will thrill and entertain that particular crowd. Our favourite song is one of our own work – ‘Waves’. It is a spectacular set finisher and always goes down well with any crowd.
As a band consisting of two harps and a guitar, obviously there is a lot of music arrangement involved before getting your work out there. how do you select and arrange a song to suit your instruments and performance styles?
Generally, we pick songs we all like and think would be popular, although some of our favourite covers have been requests that we have learnt specifically for a wedding or private party. In terms of arrangement, we work out the basic structure of the song between us, then jam out the song several times until we find a version that suits our unique style and liking.
You compose original music quite often as well. What can audience expect from your original material?
Our original material varies from acoustic rock to music with any classical sounding, but all of them are very close to our hearts and it shows when we perform them with passion. One of our original songs by Ed even entered the final in the United Kingdom 2016 Songwriting Contest.
Have you ever faced any challenges or difficulties being a harp-based trio? How do you overcome them?
To be frank, the biggest challenges has been carrying our bigger harp to and from gigs, not to mention fitting all three of us along with the instruments and PA into one car.
What would you say is the best thing about your job as a trio member?
Ed: Enjoying the unplanned. Being brought up as a heavy metal guitarist, I never expected to find myself sitting between two harpists playing my original compositions, many of which were intended to be performed in a stereotypical rock band setting. Hearing songs that I shelved years ago and having new life breathed into them is an absolute pleasure.
Steve: As a completely untrained, self-taught harpist, I love ‘attacking’ my harp in a way that is probably very inappropriate for such a classical/ folk-based instrument and getting sounds out of it that audiences would not expect. I especially enjoy watching the audience’s reactions when I burst into solos for songs such as ‘Freebird’ or ‘Stairway to Heaven’.
Carol: Initially trained as a classical pianist, I love the freedom to play with a wide variety of styles. Prior to joining Schrödinger’s Strings, I always performed solo, so it is a completely different way of thinking to be a part of this unusual trio. But even more than that, the rapport we build with the audience is second to none!
How did you come up with the name ‘Schrödinger’s Strings’? What does ‘Schrödinger’ mean?
We have tried answering this question in a short and concise manner many times and failed, but we will give it a go again:
Erwin Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist who made many important discoveries in the field of quantum physics. One of his most memorable contributions to science was his 1935 experiment ‘Schrödinger’s Cat’, which tried to demonstrate the supposed absurdity of quantum physics in a layman’s terms by hypothesizing a cat in a box for being either half-alive or half-dead — the point being that the cat is conjectured to be in both states simultaneously until someone opens the box to find out, and at that point the quantum superposition collapses and the cat is either alive or dead.
How this relates to the band is that when we first started playing together we had several configurations of band members and instruments: sometimes Ed and Steve would play together on a 6-string guitar and 22-string harp, other times it would be Carol, Ed, and Steve on the guitar, 27-string, and 38-string harps respectively. Basically, we offered a random mishmash of strings on stage at different gigs so that the audience would never know the exact number of strings performing until they ‘opened the box’ by turning up at that gig.
You can hire Schrödinger’s Strings through Headliner Entertainment. We help you discover and book live entertainment specifically catered to your event.