It took me about a day to realize that Har Mar Superstar was not indeed finger banged by NME writer Alex Hoban. Tours and all of the energy that surround them can provide enough muck for a library of Marquis de Sade novels, so his tweets were quite believable and I was worried. Especially with a performer like Har Mar, who has in the past month stripped out of his gold lamé on stage probably more than twenty times, ate pasta with meatballs on stage (and fed some to the audience) with bare hands and sung sexualized hymns that are set to smart Brit/Timberlake pop rhythms. However, though it wasn’t until later, it finally became clear to me that these twitter messages were just reactions, and yes, I guess I should mention that a wolf doesn’t care how many times he cries his own name.
I first saw Har Mar perform this summer at the Jane Hotel in New York. That bashful setting of demure style proved perfect for his Dark Touches pre-release party, and there were nothing but the most reserved guests sipping on their gin-on-gin concoctions. A man of modest height, Har Mar, (who used to go by Sean Tillman), told us gently to “Shut the fuck up and pay attention to me!” And then he delivered. (Unfortunately, I’m still not quite sure how, and in this interview, conducted by a game of email, the question got lost in his “I don’t care humor”).
By the end of his Jane set, the crowd was trying to squeeze a tight hold around him, touching and grabbing, screaming lyrics that no one yet knew, and he was naked sans a pair of tighties. The show was a success, and more amazingly, this was all performed with an iPod as the backup band, (like I said pre-release, pre-tour), and only a tenth of the night’s denizens allowed in (Jane had at the time something of a broken door, it seemed like the sweeties in front of it were never able to let people inside because of that).
Currently, Har Mar is on tour, writing love messages to bacon, taking a day off from drinking to try something new and loving a whole lot of You.
Why did you take such an extended “break” between albums?
I didn’t really feel like making a new Har Mar album again right after the Handler. I felt like I had been over-saturating the world, and I needed to take a break. Instead I made a Sean Na Na record, recorded/toured with Neon Neon, wrote a lot of scripts, filmed a bunch of comedy shorts (www.youtube.com/crappyholidays), and created a TV series.
Do you write both the music and lyrics to most of your songs, apart from the catchy “Tall Boy” (co-written with Kurstin), which I’m still surprised Britney didn’t go for.
For the most part, I write the lyrics and melodies. I do play a lot of instruments, so I’ll come in the ground floor of a beat about half of the time. Other times people just toss a track at me, and, if I like it, I’ll run with it. It all depends on the situation.
Are you a strict editor when it comes to your lyrics, or do doozies like the camel toe phrase, etc. just come to you easily?
I am a genius! Just kidding… I scrutinize the lyrics while I write them, but once it’s on paper I never look back or change it.
There are quite a few nice NYC references in the lyrics–could you ever live anywhere else? Oh, but you live in LA, right?
I live in LA. Never actually lived in NYC though I have spent months at a time wandering around Manhattan. I could easily live in Austin, Minneapolis (where I’m from), Portland, Barcelona, Melbourne, Auckland, and Amsterdam.
What make of underwear is your preferred brand?
I usually rock Paul Frank briefs, but now I have my own brand. Har Mar on the crotch.
Any fave pre-show listening songs to help get your groove on?
Weirdly I never listen to music anymore. If I did I’d go for “Danger Zone”.
How do you get my attention?
I feel like when this pops in your new mail box you’ll be super stoked that I’ve done 3/4 of the work by transcribing for you. Does that get your attention? [Ouch!--ed.]
What’s your favorite on-stage sexy antic?
Any touring reading list?
I’m starting the Twilight series now because I’m a horny teenage girl. Seriously.
Do you turn down porn film casting agents regularly?
I turn them out. Fucking sluts!
What are your current favorite musicians? Have you performed with any of your collaborators as yet on the current tour?
I love Adam Green, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Flaming Lips, Yacht, Black Ghosts, Miike Snow, and Flowers of Doom right now. I haven’t gotten to rock with any of the collaborators from the album on this tour yet. It’s still pretty early. I’m sure they’ll jump on stage in various cities.
Where do you draw your energy?
I’m like the little girl from Small Wonder. I sleep standing up in a closet… just recharging for the next day of adorable antics in front of a live studio audience. I’m currently stealing electricity from a cafe in Albuquerque. It’s called the Blackbird. Great chicken sandwich. Highly recommended.
What’s a recent favorite moment in one of your performances?
I love that moment that happens when the audience flips from confusion to pure delight. If you watch it frame by frame it looks amazing. I’ve never done that.
Visit Har Mar’s Safe Place or checkout our slideshow below, the energy even made the film grainy.
–Zabatay/(incredible) live photos by Zabatay