HAREM SCAREM - PART 1 - Pete Lesperance
Thanks Pete for hooking up with me for this interview.
First up - when was the first time you considered bringing back the Harem Scarem name?
After we finished our deal with Warner we were checking out our options and both fans and labels we were talking to seemed interested in another HS record so we tried some stuff in that vein and decided that that is what we would do.
What kind of frustrations lead you to drop the name in the first place?
There was a stigma attached to the name in Canada and we thought the music had gone far enough from HS to warrant the name change.
In hindsight, were the Rubber albums good for you and Harry mentally?
Absolutely ... I still feel that the first Rubber record is some of the best work we have done.
And we were somewhat vindicated by having a top 40 hit in Canada with Sunshine.
Were they successful for commercially, in comparison to HS?
In Canada we had more luck with Rubber but it seemed to throw some of our Japanese and European fans for a loop.
Back to the point...haha...so you decided to bring Harem back and had it in mind to make a more melodic record - what exactly were your blueprints for this release?
The blueprint for any record is always the same for us. We just try to write the best songs we can.
Knowing what we were trying to accomplish we changed the production style, extended guitar solos, added more back up vocals and so on....It's all in the presentation, there's a couple of songs on WOTW that if they had been treated differently could have been on a Rubber record.
From listening to this record - it sounds very fresh and very now... when did you start writing for the album?
We started putting ideas together for the record in mid summer and finished mixing in early January.
And what was going through your minds when writing?
The same things as always, make sure the songs are good and worry about the rest later.
Haha! Are their any songs that were first started or written a few years ago on the record, or are they all vintage 2001?
A couple parts were still kicking around from previous writing sessions but most were brand spankin new.
What was the first song you wrote for Weight Of The World?
Outside Your Window. It was a finished instrumental song for my solo record and we had another look at it Changed some parts, Harry wrote some lyrics and there it was.
You guys have your own studio - how much of a Godsend is it having your own facilities to work out of?
It's amazing having our own studios really gives you the time and freedom to work on the songs and the production at your leisure.
What did you do differently sonically and in the studio to produce the sound of this record? It has a sound like no other HS record!!
A million things have changed in Technology since the last Scarem record and hope fully were just plain old getting better at making records.
I must ask especially about the rhythm section on this record. The bass is heavier and funkier than ever and the drum sound is simply ear shattering. How did you set that up when recording?
Barry and Creighton have are playing better together then ever and sonically.... ancient Chinese secret!
Ah ha...ok, did you at any stage worry about mixing a little of the Rubber sound in with the classic sound?
No.. once again we just worried about writing the best songs we could and since we have been doing the Rubber thing for the last couple years it came out a bit on this record.
Did it work as far as your ears are concerned?
Have you seen the responses and the reviews (I gave it 100%!!) - But the fans seem to have agreed with me, I have not heard such a positive response from an album in ages!!!
Well hopefully that means we did something right, were totally excited about this record and it makes it that much better if our fans agree!!!
Favourite songs on the album?
WOTW, Killing Me, All I Want.
What tunes might be included in the 2002 HS live set?
Most of them.
Speaking of which - when are you planning to play - both Europe and Canada?
Hoping to make it to Europe in early summer. As far as Canada goes that remains to be seen.
You and Harry have a unique writing style, you seem to be able to make a melody out of nothing and out of everything. How do the two of you write together?
It varies. Songs can start from a number of different places, a riff a melody sometimes even a lyric. We work on stuff separately, bring the best of what we have come up with to the table and start slamming ideas together.
How does it vary to write on your own, in a solo context?
Harry and I are both working on solo records. I think the biggest difference is not having the other there to say
that's shit or that's great so it puts a little more responsibility on yourself to make sure it's good..
Any idea how many more Compilation albums might we expect from Warner Japan? LOL!!
Stop it your scaring me!!!!
I heard you are also producing a few artists - who are you working with, so we can go out and buy their records?!!
Harry just finished mixing a band called Great Big Sea and I'm working with a young power pop band called One Short.
Thanks for talking Pete....all the best....