Wednesday 7 December 2016

Q&A: Harlem

On Lady Gaga, Kurt Cobain and Arizona

Published 20/08/2010 | 05:00

Hello Harlem!

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Hello? Who is this?

I was told to call for Michael from Harlem?

Michael's not even here. This is Curtis.

Well, you're the singer. Do you want to do the interview?

Naw....

'Er...

Just kidding. We've been waiting for you to call since forever. I'm excited to be coming to Ireland by the way. I'm Irish -- Curtis O'Meara.

Great. Anyway, here's where I start asking some questions. You played Lollapalooza in Chicago recently. Did you catch Lady Gaga's set? Apparently she gave the performance of a lifetime.

Yeah it was cool. Me and my buddies saw it. I went with my friend Bob and my girlfriend. It was crazy. They had a stage that rose up. She was playing piano with her high-heels. Stuff like that. It was pretty cool.

Are you a fan?

Kind of... in a silly kind of way. Not a devoted crazy fan or anything. But she makes fun music.

How did you end up signing to indie prestige label Matador?

We played a bunch. Matador gave me a couple of Pavement CDs and took us out to eat Japanese food. Next thing you know I've got a pen in my hand and I'm signing a contract.

You're based in Austin, Texas. What do locals think of the South By South West festival: a week of musical bliss or a media circus that's grown too big for its own good?

The city gets kind of thrashed. It's basically a huge carnival. We once played three shows there in one day. It's tough but cool. You get all tired and crazy, your mind's messed up, but you're still playing.

On your MySpace page you claim the only album you're influenced by is Nirvana's Nevermind. Well, here's a news-flash: In Utero is the better record. Or so any discerning Nirvana fan will tell you.

Hmmm. I think Bleach is the more superior to be honest with you. But that's just my opinion. You could say that about all of them. I've gone through phases them all. I don't think you can say one is better than the other. You can say this one is like this and that one is like that. And you can like whichever one you want.

Can you remember where you were when you found out Kurt Cobain had killed himself?

I was 14. I was looking out of my window in my parent's house, talking on the phone. It wasn't like "ohmygod!" It was more a case of "well, whatever".

As a native of Arizona, what's your take on the groundswell of artists boycotting the state because of its clampdown on illegal immigrants?

It's totally stupid. They don't even know what the fuck they're boycotting. It's just so dumb, you know. They don't even know where all the power [electricity] comes from. All the power in California is fuelled by Arizona. How do you boycott a freakin' state? It's a STATE, not a brand of toothpaste. You'll have to drive through it if you want to get to the ocean or wherever. Arizona has done some pretty stupid stuff and there are a lot of crazy in the dark cowboys who live out in the middle of nowhere. At the same time, there are grandmas and grandpas living in Arizona... I don't want to talk politics, but it's ridiculous.

Harlem play Whelan's, Dublin on Wednesday. The album Hippies is out now

Irish Independent

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