KOLARS have created their own brand of dance music that anyone can enjoy, and with minimal instrumentation: guitar and a tap-dancing drummer. Yep, you heard that right. While Rob Kolar provides mesmerizing vocals and stunning guitar work, Lauren Brown uses her whole body as a percussive instrument, tapping out the hi-hat rhythm with her feet atop a bass drum while simultaneously playing a stand-up kit. This summer (starting this week) KOLARS will be taking their dynamic show on the road with Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds before the release of their new album in February. Catch them at a show near you, and keep and ear out for new music soon!
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
Can you tell us a little bit about KOLARS for any readers who may not be familiar?
Lauren Brown: We are a duo based out of Los Angeles. I am the tap dancing drummer member of the duo (I tap dance on a bass drum while playing a drum kit), and Rob is the guitarist and singer. The sound is a little rockabilly, a little glam rock, a little disco.
Before KOLARS you were involved with another project, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister. Do you feel your experiences performing and writing together in the past helped strengthen you when it came to creating as KOLARS?
Rob Kolar: Definitely. I like to think all of the experiences we have in our lives, small and large, shape us as artists and creators. HMBSMS was a huge part of our existence for about 5 years. We toured all over America and Europe and saw so many interesting places and people. All of that plays a part in the art we create. KOLARS takes some of the feel and energy of HMBSMS and steps forward into a more modern sonic world. We have embraced samples and technology and instruments beyond guitar, bass, and other more acoustic leaning sounds. It has become a great outlet for the sounds of our imagination as there are no limits with KOLARS and where we can go with our sound.
What is the transition like from a full band to a duo?
Rob: Smaller car. Less gear. Less drama. More money. Longer drive shifts! More flexibility. Quicker decisions. More nudity.
Lauren: More space in the car. Less hotel rooms. More nudity.
Was there anything that you knew you wanted to accomplish as KOLARS that you maybe didn’t have the chance to do in any of your previous projects?
Rob: Absolutely. Exploring new sounds and technology. HMBSMS was very much an "experimental folk rock band". KOLARS takes some of those influences and brings with them more production sounds and modern elements. This will continue to evolve. I produce all of the music so its fun to create a sonic world and then essentially play live along with the creation. We have really embraced the idea of playing along with the studio experiments. Lauren and I embody the 'live' portion of the sound when we perform. As we grow I would love to include more production value with lights and projections to add to this atmosphere. HMBSMS was much more steeped in a grass roots live sound. KOLARS is a hybrid of that and a more modern integration of live and produced audio.
Earlier this year, you released a music video for “Beyond The World Of Man.” Can you tell us about the song and video?
Rob: I was mixing the song "Beyond The World of Man" and I took a break to peruse social media and someone had posted this animation video by BLU. The visuals "blu" my mind but I felt the music didn't really resonate with me. As I was watching the video I couldn't help notice that the theme of the visuals were had an interesting parallel with the theme of the lyrics for "Beyond The World of Man". I quickly pulled up the song and did a makeshift preview where I hit play at the same time on both (Pink Floyd / Wizard of Oz style). I watched and my jaw dropped. It was as if someone had deliberately edited the two together. I immediately reached out to BLU to let them know we would love to re-release his video with our music. And so we did. I made one tiny edit at the very end but other than that I just synced the two videos and released it. It's been awesome to see how it has gone a bit viral on Facebook... People from all over the world have been sharing it especially in Mexico and South America. When you can connect with people thousands of miles away like that really makes this turbulent ride all worthwhile.
You’re currently working on your debut album - is there anything you can tell us about those songs or the album?
Rob: It features 8 original songs including our current live jams "Beyond The World of Man", "Dizzy" and "One More Thrill", a new music video will be out soon directed by Mike Bruce - (Noel Gallagher, Black Mountain, Dandy Warhols, Spindrift). You can get some of the music early at our shows on our KOLARS USB drive which features music, photos, video and whatever other content we throw on there. (that's my not so subtle sales pitch for this interview)
When you’re working on those songs, are there any goals you have in mind?
Rob: I think the goal in general is to be honest. Find a melody and lyric we feel strongly about and not settle on something just cause it feels cool in the moment. It should always be a reflection of our real emotions and of the times we live in. Love it or hate it, it doesn't matter as long as it's authentic.
You’re also hopping on the road this month with Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds. What are you most excited about on these upcoming tour dates?
Lauren: Playing the music live, connecting with people and visiting these cities. I personally love being on the road, and getting to perform the drums every night is a dream - I think that's when I'm at my most relaxed and least neurotic.
I also grew up with Sasha Brown, who plays in Sister Sparrow - so getting to have a scotch with him at the end of every show and catching up is something I'm very much looking forward to.
With a new album in the works, when can fans expect to start hearing some more new music?
Lauren: Our album will be officially released in February, but we will be releasing some new music videos over the next couple months. Stay tuned!