The past Harper and the Moths record was based on a depressing time. Singer Harper Lines had moved to Seattle for love, and what resulted was a heartbreak record aptly titled Love Songs for the Damned -- released after Lines trekked back to his home state of Arizona and reunited with his bandmates. Though the album was ultra-catchy in a pop-rock vein, bitterness tinged the lyrics.
These days, the group is focusing on the bright side, having added keyboardist and vocalist Kelsee Ishmael for a more dynamic sound, and penning funk/R&B-influenced tracks based on self-identity and the give and take of relationships. A sense of fun is blatant in the group's video for "Nighttime Tremors," a colorful piece shot in a local roller rink.
The band has shifted from an album format to releasing singles one at a time, and plans to drop two new songs by summer amid tour plans. Attendees at their Yucca Tap Room show Friday, March 20 -- where the band is joined by Fairy Bones, Anthony Fama & The Redemptions, and Celebrations Guns -- can expect a flashy show, complete with a light rig set-up, stage attire and props. Guitarist Chan Redfield talked more about what the band is up to, and you can catch their new video after the jump.
Up on the Sun: What is new with the band?
Chan Redfield: Since there are five people with such a wide variety of talents in the band, it seems there is always something going on new. Besides the new song and video, we have another batch of songs we are currently searching for producers to work with, and we have a nice little wish list going.
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Since three of the five in the band work in advertising marketing field, we're always coming up with new ways to keep people engaged. One of those ideas is that each song we put out will now feature artwork by a local artist that goes with the story of the song. With all the songs we have in the works, each piece will eventually be able to fit together in one big art piece. The new artwork for the single "Nighttime Tremors" will be available in shirt-form and posters.
When it makes sense, new songs will also be released with a remix version, sort of a more dance-y version of the tune all remixed by me. "Nighttime Tremors" will be the first time we release a remix. It's a cool way for us to chop up our own material make something new out of it and just give people a different side of the band.
All in all, we're just all trying to come up with ways to be able to spend more time in the public eye, so instead of releasing everything at once, we're going to try a tiered approach -- week one, the song; week two, the video; week three, the remix.
This release is the first recording the features our keyboardist Kelsee Ismael, not just on keys, but also on vocals, as well. Once we got her, we felt the sound and the response to the band live really started rolling, so we're excited to see what people think of the recording.
We are also planning a small tour, and we have a brand-new website Kelsee built.
Other than that, we have new video we're currently in the process of storyboarding for another new song called "Diamonds," that will focus on decline of culture and the destroying of old buildings in the Phoenix area to make room for bigger and newer corporate buildings.
How would you describe your video for "Nighttime Tremors"?
Redfield: We've never really done this before, so we decided to rent out a skate hall, invite all our sexy and stylish friends and anyone who had a GoPro and a creative attitude, and just let them do their thing. We had a real camera guy come down for the important shots, and we packaged it all and sent it off to a editor friend in L.A., Tim Sabic, a really good video guy, who was stoked enough on the idea to pull it all together and make it make sense.
We're stoked we pulled off, all for about $200. Everyone involved donated their time and talents, and without that, we wouldn't have it.
What's in store for the upcoming singles?
Redfield: Musically, we find ourselves lately listening to a lot of funk, a lot of Motown, a lot of Haim, some DJs, Broken Bells, early Michael Jackson, and early Fleetwood Mac. With the addition of Kelsee, we have a fuller sound and tons of harmonies, so we ended up with this awesome dancey funk rock thing that we're still going with on our all new songs. We're super-excited about it.
Plus, Harper busted out his falsetto vocals for "Nighttime Tremors". Often, people have asked if that's Kelsee doing the main vocal, but it's a man. It's Harper, and we love it.
What can people expect from your live show? Why would you encourage people to come out to it?
Redfield: For shows, we really try to make sure every show is a little different. We most recently built this big light rig that sits on the stage behind us and create this awesome vibe. We're usually always going to play some sort of crazy cover song you wouldn't expect, and we're always working on stage attire and props and any idea that will make for an awesome experience.
We always aim for it to be a show, not just a band playing live, but something you will remember and want to tell your friends about. Lately, when we got off stage the most common thing we hear is, "Whoa, we are you guys from?" They seem to also be shocked to find out we're local, and I think that's because all the effort we put into the show.
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