What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
Bitter Calm is a band whose beginning is marked by endings.
Following the death of his father, the end of a relationship, and the dissolution of the band Velouria all in a month’s time, Michael Harp’s life was irreversibly shifted and stripped of all familiarity at the age of 19.
The outpouring of music that followed sought to document this new reality, while searching far into his family’s past for answers to questions he never had the opportunity to ask.
Bitter Calm is what comes next, with the help of violinist Meg Ford, members from Velouria, a box full of video tapes, and a hand-me-down watch that doesn’t tell the time. They write loud, slow songs about love and death, and they’ve never had so much fun.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Good Grief is a record about life after death and the expectations and desires that follow. It was inspired by my own experiences grieving the death of my father. It’s an experience that is both deeply personal to me but universally applicable and understood. Everyone is loving and losing all of the time, and we all grieve one thing or another. It’s a blessing to be able to love something enough that its absence causes us pain.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
My Jewish family, my Southern family, the city of Birmingham, my brushes with Zen Buddhism and the writings of Shunryu Suzuki. We have a Spotify playlist on our profile called “Works Cited” that is a compilation of some of our favorite artists like Songs: Ohia, Carissa’s Wierd, The Microphones, and Slint.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
We have a violinist! We exist at the intersection of a lot of styles of music that we really enjoy with an emphasis on tension and release. Not necessarily the cheeriest band, but still a ride worth taking.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, Elvis Depressedly’s New Alhambra, and Carissa’s Wierd’s They’ll Only Miss You When You Leave.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
We enjoy creating music with each other first and foremost, but the addition of an audience is always welcome:)
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
“Night Stand” was tracked in a few different countries and includes audio that was recorded decades apart from each other. It’s a song about emotional claustrophobia, or the fear that your closeness with another will eventually cause you harm.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
We’ll be touring a few times this year throughout the US. Our record is out now, and available at earthlibraries.com 🙂
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Is this the big day?
This is the big day.
Photo credits: Bre Saxon (of Saybre Photography)
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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