The Hairs have only gone and reaffirmed our belief in classic hook-fuelled pop. The group, which is basically Kevin Alvir, play it fast and loose – their instantaneous form of indie spewed out with a lo-fi charm and infectious energy. And with a few new single releases recently put out (on WeePOP! Records and Old Flame Records), one of which is poetically titled Birds Shit then Sing, we knew it was time to talk to Kevin about all things pop.
Bowlegs: Firstly we gotta say we can’t stop humming I’ve Been Working Out. When and where did you write that track?
Kevin: Thanks!!! I wrote that track a bit ago (I can’t remember exactly WHEN – maybe a lil’ over a year ago – early 2011) – just in the confines of my bedroom. I was getting fat and slob-like at the time, so it was cathartic.
Bowlegs: Who (if anyone) do you run your melodies past to make sure they meet the high standards expected?
Kevin: I don’t run my songs past anyone really to see if the quality is assured. I just try to use my best judgment, y’know?
Bowlegs: What guitar do you use to get that super jangle sound?
Kevin: Super jangle sound comes from my cheap Danelectro guitar(s). Honestly, I didn’t get them because of their sound. I think they look cool and I thought I would just make due with whatever I had. Also, I like jangly strummy sounds of bands like the Bats and the Feelies – so maybe that has something to do with it. I should ask my therapist.
Bowlegs: What about the Satan Says track, what is it about?
Kevin: Satan Says - It’s a song that kind of happened spontaneously. I think the song is about being who you are no matter how shitty you are.
Bowlegs: You’ve said in the past you don’t have anything to say, yet your songs are packed with quirky observations and clever quips, you didn’t really mean that did you?
Kevin: Yeah I DIDN’T really mean that. At the time, I was uncertain if I was a fraud making music – so I didn’t assume any responsibilty. I hit periods of feeling like a fraud – but y’know – whatever – rock n’ roll. But thanks for thinking that my songs are clever and such. I’ve always looked up to people like Ray Davies, Dan Treacy, Robyn Hitchcock – so I guess that shows what I consider important in song.
Bowlegs: Do you play most the instruments for The Hairs? What’s the recording process like and where did you put these new songs down?
Kevin: I think for the majority of Hairs recordings, I play all the instruments. On a few recordings, my friend Alex (Pains of Being Pure at Heart) played bass. The process is pretty much me dicking around on a guitar, come up with music on the spot, come up with a drum beat on drum machine, and freestyle some lyrics on top. Then flesh it out with more guitar and more vox. I do this on my computer.
Recently I’ve had aband that helps me out with the process – so it’s been a bit varied lately. I’ve had other people record me in bedrooms or studios. It’s kind of a loose thing. I like being adventurous. Some day, I hope to have strings and horns on a Hairs recording.
Bowlegs: I’ve read comparisons include The Clean, Daniel Johnston and Guided By Voices? Are these some of your favourite artists? What’s your favourite Guided By Voices album? Have you seen Daniel Johnston live before?
Kevin: Yeah I definitely love and respect all those artists. Funny enough, when I started doing the Hairs I was really inspired by follk musicians like Joni Mitchell, Judee Sill, Fairport Convention. That might sound pretentious. But I just really liked how they were making really honest music and sometimes it’d be catchy or have some hooks. Sonically – I guess the Hairs music resembles those 3 bands you indicated.
But yeah – I’m a GBV-head! I think my favorite (and a lot of other people’s favorite) is Alien Lanes. I got it at a special time (i.e. post pubescent teen). I still listen to it all the way through after all these years.
And yes – I have seen Daniel Johnston live. He was great! It was just him and a little acoustic guitar. I think a backing band joined him at some point. I was in college at the time. I walked past the bar after class and saw Daniel Johnston standing outside way before the show started. That seemed really endearing to me.
Bowlegs: Do you have an album’s worth of melodic music ready to go? What’s the plan for 2012?
Kevin: I Do! I have about 5 or 6 albums worth of music in my library. However, I do want to write some newer fresher material for a full-length. BUT I do have 4 singles &/or eps that are in the pipeline to get released.
Bowlegs: What book is being read on that promo image? Does it have any relevance to anything we should know about?
Kevin: In the photo, I am reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. It’s a book that I really like and I read it a while ago. I guess out of all the props we had available – that book just screamed out to me as being really appropriate. If you can’t tell, I don’t really think about my decisions.