To find out everything about the genius of Harley Alexander is not possible in one short interview. The best thing to do is introduce you to the great Harley Alexander, front man of The Universal Lovers, and allow you to revel in music opinion which makes more sense than most. An interview with Harley Alexander...
3rd: It's great to finally speak. Who are Harley Alexander & The Universal Lovers? You're the funk supreme, right? Or are we just being shallow?
Alexander: We're you're squad, Canadian-fellas, Halifax NS to be specific, here to bring a bit of joyfulness to your zone!
Tell us why we like the video for Not New so much? The track isn't so bad either! What would you say if I said Mac Demarco could learn a thing or two?
You must enjoy or relate or have some fascination with the following emotions: love, frustration, confusion, joy, despair, curiosity, and/or pain, and you probably have a sense of humour too! It's pretty flattering to say Mac-Daddy could learn a thing or two. He's definitely taught me a bunch already so it'd be cool to share a bit the other way. If you're out that Mac, holler atcha boi, let's get learnt-together
Your sound in one sentence then?
The sound in one sentence...hope, forever, and love, thank you!
One story which epitomises the band in style, attitude and song?
This is a really tough one because we just played our final show together for the indefinite future. I'm goin' rogue for a while in order to tour to my hearts content. There was a moment at the end of our set in Sackville New Brunswick when we were getting cheered for an encore after playing all the rehearsed songs so the band left me alone on the stage to play one by myself. I was looking for the chords of the song that felt right to close with and was pretty nervous. The band was all smiling at me from the side of the stage, the crowd was chattering to themselves happily and patiently while I said some stuff that probably didn't make much sense. I landed on the Cosmic Latte riff and shy-ishly told the crowd it was a song for my girlfriend and the room erupted with the biggest cheer of the night. it really felt like this intense symbolic transition from band-leader to solo-musician happened all in that moment and I couldn't hold back from just weeping right there on the spot. Moments like that where the room is totally together celebrating friendship, love, and acceptance is what I'm trying to foster every time I play.
"I'm a pretty intense perfectionist and when it comes to songs"
Is there room for the guitar in main stream music any more? It's something we've been thinking about lately, and cannot answer?
Guitar in main stream music eh, tough call. Mainstream music is like Lady Gaga or like some pop Country stuff right? I don't really know what mainstream music is but I know for my own preferences there will always be room for guitar as long as people have a certain connection to the instrument as a way of expressing something they need or want to share with world/themselves. Though when I think more about mainstream I kinda get the sense that a lot of it is about detachment from yourself, like the suppression of unwanted feelings in exchange for some kind of immediately gratifying numbness/weird sexual arousal. And the guitar can definitely be a tool for those things so ya, I think there will always be a place for guitar. Personally though, I think the guitar is better suited for songs of healing and expression that cover a wider spectrum of emotion and experience.
How do you find your singing voice? Not New is like a hybrid of Elvis and Julian Casablanca with a bit of beach soothe!
Singing voice is funny, I'm always finding it in different ways. On Universal Love I really tried to chill-it-out. In my previous bands I've been a really full throttle singer, always projecting and going hard, and so that record was all about slowing down the tempo, playing with the dynamic, and having more fun with less in your face intensity. With Gold Shirt I was really trying to push myself for as much sincerity and thoughtfulness, self-love, that I could gather. I'm a pretty intense perfectionist and when it comes to songs I'll play with tons of different vibes and melodies until I've found the one that feels the most fun and true for me. Then take a step back, sing it a few days later or whenever the energy hits me right and lay it down then. It really is about playing without restraint or boundaries, super super important for me to allow myself to just goof around, twist and contort, and then bring it back to the heart. Hopefully that makes sense!
And finally. Your desert Island drink?
I'm on a huge San Pellegrino kick right now and I think it'd be a great base mix for some very juicy and exotic cocktails that could be made with foraged ingredients from the Island. It'd also keep me hydrated alot better than some pop or booze or something. I am taking this as a "stranded on a desert island" question. If I'm just chilling on the beach with Bae and there's no lack of resources, I'd be sippin on a mojito with a lil umbrella, heart shaped baby and we'd be smoochin till the cows come home!