Even if you haven’t yet seen Harper—one of the city’s newest and brightest pop bands—you may recognize the faces. Singer/guitarist Ben Harper played bass for Feable Weiner until earlier this year. Guitarist/keyboardist Raf Cevallos once played in The Pink Spiders and currently plays in The Darling Hearts. Bassist Keith Lowen plays in The Privates and was once a member of Lifeboy along with drummer Sam Smith. All the Rage gathered with the band in the studio where they are recording their debut album.
ATR: How do you guys usually write songs?
KEITH: He gives us a CD with about 5000 songs on it. And we pick ’em.
BEN: What we did for the record we’re recording right now is I had a bunch of demos that I did and I gave them like a CD with a bunch of different demos and I said, “these are what we can choose from for the record! Let’s pick some of these.” And just had the band vote on what songs to do.
ATR: Are you going to put out the record yourselves?
BEN: Um, we will definitely put it out ourselves if we can’t find someone to put it out relatively quickly. ‘Cause we want to get a product out as soon as possible.
KEITH: I think we’ll definitely put it out ourselves. At least at first.
ATR: How do you describe the band to someone who hasn’t heard you?
KEITH: I think it’s a smart-man’s power pop but Ben hates the word “power pop.”
BEN: I hate the word “power pop.” I don’t want to be lumped in with Fountains of Wayne and stuff like that. I like to think that we’re 60s-influenced modern indie rock. 60s and 70s influences. The Beatles and early Bowie and things like that.
ATR: How did you come up with the name for the band?
BEN: Well, it’s actually an interesting story. Keith’s grandfather was actually a harper. He played harp in a traveling polka band. And I know you think harp isn’t normally a polka instrument but it’s an interesting mix for polka. We were just looking at old pictures at Keith’s house one day and came across his grandfather with a picture of a harp and Keith was like, “Yeah, my grandfather was a harper.” And I’m like, “God, that’s it! We should call the band Harper.”
ATR: Why do you rock?
BEN: Why do we rock? Because you asked us.
[This piece appeared in All the Rage]