Hard Rock fans know Harem Scarem for many years and even if they don't tour a lot - at least not in Europe - there are many fans who are waiting for every new sign from the Canadians. Now they have a new album which is called Human Nature. Time to talk to Pete Lesperance.
You decided to work without Frontiers this time. Why working without a label? And how did it work out so far?
We have had a great working relationship with Frontiers for the last couple records, but we just felt that it was a good time to try something new and take more control over the selling of our records in Europe.
So far it's been good, but you never know what may happen in the future. It's possible that we could return to a label for the next record.
Your new album Human Nature is out for awhile, especially in Japan. How are the reactions to far?
Reactions to Human Nature have been really positive across the board.
It feels like this record has really connected with fans and critics and we are very excited that people seem to like it.
Your last release Overload kinda split the fans... Do you think that Human Nature can win back the fans who were disappointed by Overload?
I think that fans of the old school Scarem sound were disappointed with Overload because it was too modern sounding and our plan when we started working on Human Nature was to deliver a record geared toward those fans.
Time will tell if we succeeded or not, but as I said reactions to the record so far have been very positive.
What inspires you? What inspired you to write the lyrics of Human Nature?
I think when writing lyrics you really draw from experiences you have or things you see happening around you. As cliche as it is, I think this is why there are so many songs written about being in or out of love. It's something that everyone can relate to and everyone experiences as a human being.
The songs on Human Nature range from love songs like Hanging On to more observational songs about life situations like 21. It's always so hard to talk about lyrical content, because songs always seem to mean different things to different people.
These days almost everybody is releasing a DVDs. Have you thought about a DVD covering the story / history of Harem Scarem? Or another live DVD?
At this point there are no plans to release a DVD, but you never know what could happen down the road.
Have you ever thought about doing an acoustic album? Perhaps some kind of best-of?
We were considering doing an acoustic compilation of a bunch of songs from different records, but have decided to put that on hold and move ahead with the next studio record instead. We'd rather put in the time and make sure the next record is a strong one.
I know that brining a band on tour from abroad can be very expensive. The best way usually is to come over for some festival and add some club shows... Are there any plans to play in Europe? Even Germany?
We are speaking with promoters and are trying to put some European tour dates together for early fall. Hopefully we will make it to Germany.
I realized that e.g. Y&T are coming over frequently to play Spain and the Netherlands, but don't do any shows in Germany. From the fan feedback you get, can you say that in certain territories fans are more interested in your kind of music? Do you think it would help Harem Scarem to play a festival like Sweden Rock Festival to get more attention here in Europe?
I definitely think that doing some shows like Sweden Rock could help our profile in Europe, but again, it is very expensive for us to tour in Europe and it has to make sense financially.
Any news about Fair Ground? Or any other solo projects planned?
Fair Ground is available on www.cdbaby.com and I'm also starting another solo record.
I heard you work with other artists... Please tell us about the bands / artists you work with!
Harry and I recently produced a record for a great Canadian rock singer named Suzi Rawn. Suzi was a runner up on Canadian Idol and actually covered a couple Harem Scarem songs on her record.
I heard that a song of you been used for a movie... Is that right? If yes, how came?
Yes, the Harem Scarem song Higher is being used in a movie called Snow Angels.
We have a company here in Canada that tries to get songs placed in TV and film and they have been having some luck with our music.
The internet makes the world smaller. Do you think that it's easier these days for a band which isn't following the current trend?
I think the internet is a double edged sword for an artist. It can be a very powerful promotional tool, but unfortunately has made it far too easy for people to get music for free.
It is a great tool for hard rock bands that are outside the mainstream, because of sights like www.melodicrock.com that cater to a very specific style of music.
Do you think that MySpace and YouTube will change the business on the long run? Put some pressure on the industry?
I think the industry, as we know it is dead and is in the process of trying to reinvent itself. Web sites like myspace and youtube are all part of the new music industry.
Is that the reason why you are now working with distributors? Promotion agencies? To have more control?
It just seemed like the right time for us to branch out and try something new.
I think it's always in the artist's best interest to have as much control over their own music as possible.
Anything you regret after all those years doing music?
No, good or bad, the experiences we have had got us to this point. I've been fortunate enough to make a living in this industry for a long time and have no real regrets.
And what is the most positive memory you have?
I would say the signing of our first record deal was one of the biggest moments in my musical life.
Last, but not least.... What is the biggest dream you have regarding Harem Scarem?
I would just love to keep making music; it’s been a great ride!
Thanks for the interview!
So keep his dream alive and listen to their music.... And who knows, perhaps they will come over to tour here in Europe... And if it's only for a handful of shows, then go and see them on stage!