Pete Lesperance | interview

Hard rock veterans and melody makers HAREM SCAREM have been around since 1988. Throughout the past14 years, the band has released studio records, live records, acoustic EPs, compilations, changed line-up, changed record label, changed their moniker to RUBBER and then changed it back to HAREM SCAREM. But on this constant process of evolution and progress, the band left some brilliant music for the sake of humankind. All of it shaped in the form of beautiful melodic hard rock.
Their latest gift, entitled "Weight Of The World", their first record for Now & Then/Frontiers Records,sticks to their melodic formula, taking you back to the hard rock golden days, but with a stint of the new millennium.
HAREM SCAREM's guitarist Pete Lesperance explains how a band becomes two...

Are you happy with the final result of the "Weight Of The World"?
Oh yeah, definitely! I'm very happy yeah! We worked really hard for it, we tried to accomplish something with it and I guess we did.

Do the lyrics have special content or are just individual songs?
Hmmm... they are just individual songs. Some have a deeper meaning and some are just love songs!

Why have you decided to change your name to Rubber and then to Harem Scarem again?
Well, we don't look at it like that. I mean, music is a very proud thing to us! We produce all kind of other bands and we do all kind of projects. If you listen to all our records we change from record to record. At one point the changes that we were making took us so far from what Harem Scarem originally was that we thought that it would only made sense to change the name... so that's when we decided to change ittoRubber. And when we finished our deal with Warner, we were talking with some labels... we had known overthe years that the fans really, really wanted another Harem Scarem album, like a proper rock record. So that'swhat we did and because we did of course we call it Harem Scarem because it wouldn't have been a Rubberrecord because it sounds like Harem Scarem! Harem Scarem and Rubber seem to be two very different bands projects... do you know what I mean?

Yeah absolutely... so were you happy with the Rubber albums?
(...a slight pause as some one rings at Pete's door!) Yes, I was very happy with the Rubber albums. The first one it's still one of my favorite records! (...another pause as Pete goes to open the door!)... The first one seemed to be the album we wanted to do at the time! We always been like that... whatever direction we wanted to follow musically we always did. A lot of fans didn't seem to like those records but was one of those things that we had to do for ourselves you know...

What was the fans reaction towards the Rubber albums?
Towards the last two records we gained a lot of new fans but we also lost a lot of the hard core rock fans that we had on the Harem Scarem records, because it was so far different from what we had done with Harem Scarem... but I understand that everybody's like what they like... but I guess we have to follow what wewantedto do rather then to stick to what we knew it work.

Does Harem Scarem plans to release a DVD in a near future?
Actually we are! We are going to play the Gods festival in England, and I believe we're going to do a DVD from there.

Do you plan to include some extra features like clips or behind the scenes?
Hmm... who knows? (Laughs) I have no idea. It all depends on how everything turns there you know.

Your Japanese label has released several live albums and Best Ofs throughout the years. Do you know if they plan to release another one soon? (Laughs)
You know what, that has a lot to do with our label. We always thought that was way too much product out there but it's one of those things, when your record company says "Hey! We're going to put this out..." Imean you want to reach as many people as you can and our fans still seem to buy them and enjoying them, so we just went with it. But no, I think it will slow down a bit now... (Laughs)

Unless this label starts to do those kind of things as well! (Laughs) Which I don't think they will. I think everybody understands that the fans are sick of that shit... (Laughs) We'll try to do what's right for them and as well as for us... generally we spend a lot of time to try to keep it together and keep ourselves amused. I mean, there was even one point where me and Harry were debating about stop doing this. Because it wasn't fun anymore, that's why when we decided to write songs for this album we got excited again, because it was rock! It felt good and it felt comfortable to us.

What are your influences as a musician?
There's so many... It's really hard to say... they're so varied and changed so many over the years, you can't really penned it down. The only thing that I have decided for myself it's that I always been into bands with great songs. It's really about the songs whatever the genre. I really like Hard rock, I like Jazz, I like so many different styles of music. For the only thing that I can choke it up to, it's stuff that I feel that contains great song writing.

So what kind of bands you listen now a days?
These days in the rock vain I listen to Stone Temple Pilots, Weezer, stuff like that. A little more of the modern rock... I don't listen to the AOR style of rock!

So what are the future plans for Harem Scarem and yourself?
We're going to do a European tour in June and a Japanese tour in July. We're going to do the tours. Harry is working on a solo record and I'm also working on a solo record, doing a lot of production work with another young band that I'm very close to get signed for an American label... all kinds of work man, it never ends!

Can you leave a message to the fans?
Yeah! Hope you enjoy the new Harem Scarem record as much as we enjoyed making it! It's fun to have the rockback (Laughs) and if you're near to any of the shows, hope you show up and have fun!

Interview by Jorge Botas
Originally posted at Panzer Magazine