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Interview/Music Review: The Harlequin’s Interlude

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One of the more enjoyable aspects of my former job as a local newspaper reporter was that it gave me the chance to sit down and talk to people that might not have otherwise ever entered my life. The guys that make up the local band The Harlequin’s Interlude — Carl Bishop (Lead Vocals), Cole Crossland (Guitar, Vocals), Steve-O Addison (Guitar), Sebastian Sparks (Bass Guitar), and Kyle Connell (Drums) — were five such individuals.

 

The Harlequin's InterludeRegrettably, my interview with them that was to have lead to an article occurred less than a week before I resigned and the time never presented itself for me to write anything about the band or their music. Now that I find myself writing for Blogcritics, I thought this might be a rare wrong in my life I might be able to correct.

Hailing from the Grand Prairie region of Arkansas, the five guys that make up The Harlequin’s Interlude find themselves in a unique position. As talented as they are and as eager as they may be to play their music and share it with as many people as possible, there simply isn’t a real local music scene.

“Unless you’re a church band or a bunch of “good ol’ boys” playing country music, there really isn’t any place to play other than the occasional bar,” explains Bishop.

Earlier in mid-2006, the band did get to play at Vino’s, a well-known bar in Little Rock that features rock bands. After hammering out some original songs and practicing for months in their own neck of the woods, the band was definitely excited about the gig.

“It was great. Vino’s was my goal in life,” laughed Connell. “That’s all I wanted to get out of this. At the beginning, I didn’t think we’d make it.” When the band finally did take the stage, though, they were all grateful for the fact that many of their friends and local fans made it there to cheer them on.

“That definitely helped,” said Bishop. “It was nerve wracking, so it helped that we had a lot of people there for us.”

Part of the “fun,” explained the rest of the guys, was how jinxed everything seemed.

“Vino’s is a hot spot in Little Rock for local music, but their equipment has been through so much,” begins Bishop. “Our monitors went out constantly and we had strings break on us. Then, they’d tell us to turn everything all the way up, which meant that we couldn’t hear anything at all,” explained the rest of the band in a laughing chorus.

“The rush of it was a great experience, though,” concluded Bishop.

“Definitely a rush. I remember when we were going — if we’d had more songs, we could have come back and done an encore,” offered Connell. “It definitely fueled my fire. I want to keep going!”

While the guys are having fun and enjoying the rush of getting to play music with a bunch of friends, they know that success won’t come overnight. Their solution to getting bogged down with worries over the future is just to keep lots of little goals up there to let them know they are on the right path.

Playing Vino’s was such a goal.

“We’re enjoying it,” offers Bishop. “If we get rich tomorrow, well, I won’t complain. But, I want to enjoy this — getting to play small venues and building up a fan base. Being in this band is definitely more fun than work.”

Eventually, the fun that makes up the work of being in a band, will lead to them being able to have enough original songs to allow them to set about the process of recording an EP or demo CD.

“We have four original songs, right now. We’re about at the point where we just take those songs and burn people a copy and write our names on it,” says Bishop. “We want to get to where we are played on local radio, where we can play more gigs and people could hear our name and want to come see us play. If we could go ahead and get together a couple more songs, then we would try and do our own small album.”

There.

It’s rough and in no way as polished as it would have been had I written it when the memory was still fresh in my mind, but I think it still makes a nice introduction to five guys just trying to get along and play some good music in Arkansas.

Sitting before me on my desk is one of the burned CDs mentioned above, containing the four original songs that The Harlequin’s Interlude have to their name. So far.

“Turn Away” has this lovely little opening guitar driven groove that explodes — with the help of a nice howl from Bishop — into a fairly heavy song that is just jammed tight with melody. From the first moment I gave these guys, and this song in particular, a spin, I loved it. Holy Moly, can these guys play. And Bishop has just an amazingly solid voice that just howls with talent deserving to be heard.

“Sold As Is” has the distinction of being the first original song the guys wrote together. Pieced together with lyrics originally written when Bishop was overseas and a pre-existing guitar melody that Addison had written, the song came to life right before their eyes (and ears). Amazingly, even on this first effort, there is some very nice guitar and rhythm work on this song. Many bands would be proud to have been able to say that this song is theirs, but not many would have been able to bring it to life as their first effort. Good, solid song.

“Bitter Taste of my Corrosion” begins with a very nice guitar line that is soon accompanied by the low throaty sound of Bishop’s voice. Then, as if signaled by some very nice drum work by Connell, the song roars into this nice heavy thing. It’s a great dynamic and they add to it throughout the song. If I had to choose just one song to introduce someone to the band… this would probably be it.

“Flawed but Beautiful” begins with a guitar riff and a howl of “Come on!” that just dares you not to bob your head or your whole body with the fierce rhythm the song breaks into. Fast, frenetic, but armed with some damned fine vocals and drum work, this song ably rounds out this small CD of songs.

I wish these guys nothing but success in their life, whether or not they actually “make it” as a band and stick to their guns. Each one of this band’s components is talented and sure to have a future playing music. You can just tell that they love it… and if wishes could come true, then I’ll be able to keep in touch with them and do a proper “review” of their debut album, when they make it to that point.

You can find out more about the band, as well as hear these four songs of theirs, by heading on down the electronic highway until you arrive at their Myspace Profile page.

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