January 12 Canadian melorockers Harem Scarem released their new
album which has been available for purchase in Japan since november 22.
The band’s eleventh studio album is entitled ‘Human Nature’ and it is
safe to say that this album has a significantly more melodic sound than
its predecessor ‘Overload’. Through the years Harem Scarem has proven
itself more than once in the AOR scene with classic albums such as ‘Mood
Swings’ (1993) with its solid, melodic rock sound, varying melodies and
strong riffs, followed by ‘Voice Of Reason’ (1995). The following albums
were characterized by a melodic hard rock sound, even leaning towards
modern pop and rock bands. In 1999 the band decided to continue under
the name “Rubber”, resulting in a self-titled album (even so it was
released under the name Harem Scarem in Japan). This change of name was,
however, not quite satisfactory and so, in 2002, the band released the
album ‘Weight Of The World’ bearing their original name (in Canada they
decided to stick to the name “Rubber”). In August 2003 the album
‘Higher’ sees the light of day. This album appears to be a logical
successor to ‘Weight Of The World’, as it returns to a solid mix of
modern and melodic rock. In 2005 Harem Scarem releases the album
‘Overload’ which is received with mixed feelings by the media. The band
then decides to cater to the wishes of their fans, which results in the
release of the album entitled ‘Human Nature’.
Recently I had the chance to ask guitarist and keyboard player Pete
Lesperance about Harum Scarum’s new effort, so here we go!
First of all I want to congratulate you with your new album. So lets
talk about your new album “Human Nature”.
Thanks very much!!
How did you launch into writing the material for ‘Human Nature’
after your previous album,
ideas come easily so that you just had to write them down or was it more
of a careful composing thing.
Once we knew what direction we wanted “Human Nature” to take we
approached the writing the way we usually do.
Had all the songs already been written before you entered the studio, or
have there been a lot of changes during the recording sessions?
Because we have our own studios, the writing and recording process are
intertwined. Most of the tracks from the writing/demo were replaced but
there were some overdubs that were kept from the demos.
Did you have a certain idea of what you wanted to do on ‘Human Nature’
elements you definitely wanted to have on the album.
When we started working on “Human Nature” we knew it was going to be a
record for our die-hard fans in the way that it was recorded more in the
spirit of our earlier albums and would have more elements of the old
Was it a conscious decision to do it this way?
Who was responsible for writing the songs on the new album, can you tell
me something how Harum Scrum works?
Harry and I started coming up with stuff individually then brought in
our ideas and started putting the pieces together.
Creighton actually co-wrote the song “Don’t Throw It Away” for this
record as well.
You recorded this album in the Vespa Studios and Hope Sound, was this a
conscious choice and what was the reason u used two different studios?
They are our studios so of course we record there. I did all the Guitars
and overdubs at my studio (Hope Sound) and we did the Drums and Bass at
Vespa. The backup vocals were done at both studios. Harry also did some
of the lead vocals at his home as well. We always work this way, because
we own these studios.
How did the recording process proceed and how much time did you spend in
total ‘Human Nature’ was about 5 or 6 months in the making including
Was it not hard to produce your own album, as it meant having to
criticize your own band members?
it’s what we always do and there’s really no criticizing to be done. We
all know what we are going for and just enjoy the process. We are most
at home in the studio so it’s very stress free for us.
On this album you seemed to go to the more traditional Harum Scarum
sound, you really got closer to the sound of the ‘Mood Swings’ album.
Was this a conscious decision?
People have wanting a record that sounds more like ‘Moodswings’ since we
made it and though I don’t think this is “Moodswings 2” as a record, I
think we captured more of that spirit and attitude then any record we’ve
Did you already received any feedback on the new album yet and what do
you personally think about this album – are you satisfied with the
outcome or would you liked to have changed anything in retrospective?
are very happy with this record and it has been getting some great
reviews so I can’t say that there is anything at this point that I would
change. Ask me again in a year and I may have changed my mind.
Could you please describe the implications the title Human Nature’ has
for you, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind
the case of this record ‘Human Nature’ is about taking risks or chances
when you just can’t help yourself even though there may be dangers
involved. The cover illustrates it…we all like to play on the railroad
tracks, metaphorically speaking. Also we tend to like to tie in a song
title from the record with the album title.
Who wrote the lyrics for this album and can you tell us something about
Harry generally writes most of the lyrics but there are always some
songs that we collaborate on as well as involving Creighton on the track
he co-wrote. The lyrical content ranges from relationship oriented songs
such as “Caught Up In Your World” to more positive message songs like
“Give Love/Get Love” to songs that explore different sides of the human
experience such as “Human Nature” an “21”
Do you have your favorites on Human Nature’ songs that you think are
somehow above the others?
personal favorites are the title track and “Caught Up IN Your World”.
Harum Scarum has a long history, this is your 11th studio
album, how do you see the future of this band and what can we expect
from Harum Scarum in the near future?
are starting to talk to promoters about some tour dates in Europe and
Japan for late spring early summer.
Can you explain why you changed your band name into Rubber a few years
ago, what was the reason and why did you changed it back?
There were a couple reasons we changed the name to Rubber. Firstly, the
music had evolved into something that didn’t even sound like Harem
Scarem any more and secondly we wanted to have a shot here in Canada.
Harem Scarem was thought of as a hair band and radio programmers
wouldn’t play our stuff. When we changed the name and let the music
speak for itself we ended up with a top 40 hit here with the song
“Sunshine”. We changed it back because that’s the kind of music we were
What is your opinion about the AOR /melodic rock scene these days, do
you miss something?
all honesty I don’t really listen to melodic rock these days and don’t
really know what’s going on in the genre. I know there are still some
great artists like TNT and Jeff Scott Soto but I’m not that familiar
with most of the bands.
Is there anything you want to tell us after these questions?
just like to thank anyone that has supported Harem Scarem over the years
and we hope you like ‘Human Nature’!
Thanks for the interview!
Harem Scarem is:
Harry Hess: Vocals, keyboards, guitars
Pete Lesperance: Guitars, keyboards, vocals
Barry Donaghy: Bass, vocals
Creighton Doane: Drums