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Harper Lee - Interview

  by Laura Branch

published: 13 / 1 / 2002

Harper Lee - Interview


Brighton based boy/girl combo Harper Lee comprise of Keris Howard (vocals, guitars, keyboards) of Trembling Blue Stars and Laura Bridge (guitars, keyboards, drums) of Kicker fame. Their short history

Brighton based boy/girl combo Harper Lee comprise of Keris Howard (vocals, guitars, keyboards) of Trembling Blue Stars and Laura Bridge (guitars, keyboards, drums) of Kicker fame. Their short history has seen them release two much lauded 7” singles – “Dry Land” and “Bug”, and their debut album “Go Back to Bed”, on the Washington based indie pop label Matinee. Consequently, they have been variously described as “heartbreakingly earnest”, “unquestionably brilliant” and “a little like Belle and Sebastian – but with swearing”. So, read on for an insight into the collective psyche of Harper Lee – a band who feel an affinity with Leon Trotsky. PB : Okay, tell me your role in life, and favourite childhood cartoon please? LB : Chocolate and trying to achieve a life of rich idleness (Have only completed one part of this). Fave cartoon - Mr.Magoo KH : Still trying to find a role in life . Fave cartoon – Scooby Doo PB : What's the story behind the name? KH : Well, I always liked "To kill a Mockingbird" and thought it cool that Harper Lee wrote one marvellous novel and then vanished to live a reclusive life. I'd kind of thought that maybe with the band we could do something similar, release one astonishing, world changing single and then disappear. I thought we'd done it when we released the "Dry Land" 7", but sadly few else agreed so we thought we'd better hang around for a bit longer. Once we succeed, however, in breaking the world's collective heart we'll be out of here. PB : .What made you want to start a band? KH : We're both in other bands anyway (myself with Trembling Blue Stars and Laura with Kicker), so Harper Lee is a kind of side project - it also functions quite nicely as a support group for people with a shared inability to play bar chords PB :.What influences and who inspires your music? KH : General misery and self-pity inspire me most; when I'm happy I simply stop writing – thankfully I've had a crap few months so I've recently been quite prolific. PB : How would you describe your sound ? Is "earnest pop" an accurate description?? KH : Well, I think "earnest" makes it sound dull but worthy. This wouldn't be a good thing. Maybe "melancholic pop" is a better expression. LB : My sound is quite muffled and often out of time, but it's all very low in the mix! PB : What are your plans for the future, and what do you hope to achieve with Harper Lee? LB : To continue with band stuff i.e. music and not badger baiting or anything like that. Maybe a kraut rock number or a speed garage version of 'Bug'. It'd be good to have enough money to buy Keris a beer KH : We're due to record a new CD EP in May. That should be out in the summer, and after that who knows ? We've both got commitments to our other bands so it's unlikely that we'll be embarking on any world tours (though we're open to offers). I'm looking forward to a beer from Laura, although I anticipate when it comes it'll be a half of weak lager. I don't believe Laura will ever give up the badger baiting though. PB : .It has been suggested that no one reads fanzines any more, and that they are no longer relevant . To what extent would you agree with this, and what role does the underground press play in the life of Harper Lee? LB : I hope people still do. We have more access to new fangled technology. I guess so the format may have changed somewhat but the feeling's still there, but unfortunately for Luddites like myself I'm never sure which bit to click to turn the page. The underground press is vital - just the idea that people are still passionate about a subject and will get off their arse and do something. I think we live in an age of lethargy. So hurray for the creative bods! PB : If the band collectively could be a figure from history, who would you be and why? KH and LB : Leon Trotsky - visionary, misunderstood, and doomed to end up with a pickaxe through the back of the head . PB : .What would your band motto be? LB : What was that chord again? PB : What was the last record you bought /book you read/ band you saw? LB : The Tyde / Marianne Faithfull's biography / The Beachwood Sparks KH : The Ash single/ 'No Logo' by Naomi Klein/ the last band was probably someone at All Tomorrows Parties ... the last "proper" band was Low PB : What tip top choons are spinning on the Harper Lee stereo right now? LB : Marvin and Tammi - Ain't No Mountain High Enough / Kicker – City Limits EP / De La Soul - Three Feet High and Rising / Dean Martin - the whole darn lot! / Violent Femmes KH : Malory - (East German shoegazers)/ Low / Echo and the Bunnymen - Porcupine PB : Thank you

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Harper Lee - Interview

Harper Lee - Interview

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Interview with Keris Howard (2006)
Harper Lee - Interview with Keris Howard
Former front man with indiepop groups Brighter and Harper Lee, Keris Howard chats to Chris Jones about one time Sarah Records' signing Brighter's second compilation, 'Out to Sea', which has just been released on Matinee Records


He Holds a Flame (2006)
Familiar-sounding, but also excellent electropop on new EP from Brighton duo Harper Lee, the seventh of Californian indiepop label Matinee Records
All Things Can Be Mended (2004)
Go Back To Bed (2001)
Train Not Stopping (2001)

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