Many of us grew up with music in our lives. Maybe it was the Beatles that first caused you to scream out in elation, or Donna Summer got you out of your seat to shake your booty. For the synthpop band Probe 7, it was the influence of the amazingly diverse and often quirky electronic music of the 1980s that shapes the band’s overall sound.
Both band members Brent Heinze (myself) and Charlie Harding are a product of this era. It was a time of experimentation, crazy hair styles, and very few rules when it came to what was popular musically. There were rock songs paired with disco-influenced beats and wild, new sounds generated by synthesizers. As fans of bands like Depeche Mode or Erasure, these compositions changed our lives and shaped how we saw bands through the creation of music videos. It was through experiences like these that impacted the conception of the band Probe 7.
Probe 7 started in 1992 as a solo, electronic music project with myself on keyboards and bass for the scifi-necro-punk band Gehennan Scientist. I was five years old when I began playing classical and jazz piano until the purchase of my first synthesizer and drum machine changed my musical trajectory. After many years of occasional live shows and producing remixes for other musical projects, Probe 7 released their first album Over & Out in 2015, which featured other Colorado musicians and produced a remix album and video for the song, “Go Away.” After going through two lead vocalists, the band took a hiatus from performing and writing new material to search for a talented new singer.
Charlie Harding also began his musical exploration at five years old, taking lessons playing violin, piano, and drums before finding his passion as a singer. He created harmonies and duets with his sister, joined school choruses, started an acapella group, and was hired for public events, including singing the national anthem.
Life took unexpected turns, and singing became more of a thing for social, karaoke events, but he never lost the passion for pushing his vocal limits.
He gained notoriety for his award-winning adult film career and fitness modeling, and has gained success as an abstract painter, urban clothing designer, and host of the travel show Underground.
Although long-time friends, it was not until 2018 when they began working on creating the next evolution of Probe 7. Both guys moved to Palm Springs, CA with their respective husbands and discovered more of their musical talents and interests. Brent grew up as a self-professed “spooky kid” dressed in black and listening to primarily synthpop, industrial, and gothic music while Charlie listened to a more eclectic mix of pop, dance, classical, and classic rock. Although the musical interests were diverse, the combination of influences has proved to create a project that blends classic sounds with current themes.
Probe 7 officially re-launched later that year with Charlie as the new lead vocalist joining Brent on synths. Their latest studio album, Strange Angels, was released in February 2019 with a focus on writing songs that celebrate the wide range of emotions and types of relationships that make up the human experience.
They recently released a music video for the single, “No Words,” with Emmy-nominated director Billy Clift. Future remixes in support of this album will feature the talents of many well-known musicians and producers including Jack Chang, Martin Fry & Chris Knightes, Bluetech, Matt Fanale, Peter Barona & Rafael Mesa, Shane Hall, Breye 7x Kaiser, Roven Eros, GSTV, and local Colorado favorites Daniel Culp and Nina Flowers.
Although Probe 7 have spent many hours in the studio recording songs and are consistently working to produce new material, their passion is playing live shows.
Currently, they are focusing on opportunities in Southern California, most recently playing House of Blues and the Off Sunset Festival in Los Angeles, and they have a few shows already booked in San Francisco.
They are in the process of setting up a West Coast tour with the California-based band Vain Machine for September 2019, which includes a Denver performance. It is the band’s first tour. They perform a combination of original songs paired with re-imagined cover versions of some of their favorite tune, including “Creep” by Radiohead and “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga. A duet version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” is currently being produced with the incorrigible singing drag comedian Varla Jean Merman.
Probe 7’s next live Colorado show will be in support of the Exile 7 Fetish Ball on Saturday, August 17 at the Exdo Events Center. This event was created as a large-scale fundraiser supporting sex-positive and LGBTQ-focused charitable organizations locally and nationally. Event information and tickets are available at LokusdorProductions.com or Sol Tribe Tattoo and Piercing at 56 North Broadway in Denver.
For more information about the band, including tour dates, booking information, and upcoming releases, check out Probe7music.org or find them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube under Probe7music.
Photo by Steven Michael Photography.