Pete Lesperance | interview

It's really a big pleasure to have you for an interview, because I discover hard rock FM with the first Harem Scarem album. Incredible, the joy of your music! And now for your 10th album, a lot of questions really rock, I think! Thanks a lot, Pete!

From Voice of Reason to nowadays, I think you need to explore range of melodic music. Do you think Over:load feels like this point of view?
Pete: I think for us Harem Scarem has always been a vehicle for musical expression. We really have explored some different musical ground over our career and Overload it just the latest version of that. We always try to challenge ourselves to do something a little different with the Harem Scarem sound.

Are you agree with me when I tell you that Harem Scarem is always concentrated on melodic music even it's modern and even you have disappointed fans. Do you understand them and what can you explain to them?
Pete: First and foremost we always try to make ourselves happy musically. Of course we hope the people that follow the band like it but we would never stop ourselves from doing something we believed in musically for the sake of being safe. We did disappoint some fans when we did the Rubber records but the first one is still one of our favorites. No regrets.

How do you do to have these abilities to give us such good albums because I think "Overload" is a new time different from "Higher" and also bigger?
Pete: Well.. I'm glad you like the record and as I said I guess we always try to keep the Harem Scarem sound fresh. Keeping enough of the elements that make it a Harem Scarem record but trying to push the boundaries a little every time. Higher was a little more old school Scarem and I think we really took a step forward with Over:load. We feel it has a much more modern feel to it, while still being melodic.

Tell me about the guitar sound of Pete: it seems more oriented pop-rock with a rough sound but it's typical Harem Scarem feeling with no doubt. Is it the baritone guitar and is it a new evolution? ("Don't come easy" is marvelous from this point of view!)
Pete: I'd been wanting to try a baritone guitar for quite some time so when I started endorsing Ibanez and they offered me one I jumped at the chance. It really put a new spin on guitar playing and mostly the writing for me. Thinks I'd played a million times sounded and felt different. A handful of songs on this record would not have been written without it. It is limited in some ways but it proved to be very inspirational in the writing department.

Have you composed the songs always with Pete? Because you do with him all the production...
Pete: Yes...Other then a few songs here and there Harry and I write everything together. In Harem Scarem these days he focuses on the lyrics and I focus mainly on the music. It works out well.

All the songs are very melodic but I give a special mention to the first half of Over:load. Have you decided to give a new impulsion to your way of composing?
Pete: Absolutely. We always want to forge ahead while staying within the Harem Scarem sound. I don't think Over:load's an exception.

Have you realized that on Can't Live With You and Forgive & Forget, you sing to a higher range of your voice and it's probably the first time! How can you explain it?
Pete: Yes Harry sings at the top of his range on a lot of the record. Due to the more aggressive nature of the songs he felt that it would be more fitting.

I heard all around that the songs express more darkness in their sound. Do you agree? Because for me, it's only a sort of melancholy that gives a real emotion to the songs.
Pete: Yes we do feel that this is a slightly darker record. Some people have even compared it to Voice of Reason though I don't feel it is that dark. The more moody vibe adds a weight that I think was slightly missing off the Higher record. That was a very clean melodic disc.

What do you think when you look behind you with the last 10 years?
Pete: We feel very fortunate to be doing what we love for a living. Harem Scarem has had a long run and we still enjoy it as much if not more then we did in the beginning. Should have cut the hair sooner...

Have you again a lot of ideas for the projects in the coming years?
Pete: We are always working on new projects. Harry and I are starting a record label to release some of the projects we are working on, I have another band called Fair Ground, we all do solo records and work with many artists in Canada. We are busy boys.

Have we a chance to see you on stage in France (it's a real dream!) or in Europe next months?
Pete: We are starting to talk about a possible European tour for the fall and France is definitely on the list.
Thanks for all the support.

Interview by Franck Leber
Originally posted at AntithEtik