Brian Harding (formerly of Ex Cops) is throwing himself into his new pop project, a musical endeavor that is gaining steam as it races straight ahead to its debut album release. Blond Ambition – the moniker for Harding himself – drops Slow All Over in May, but not before we get a look into the mind of the brainchild himself. Good news? Harding is infinitely hilarious, so we’ll go ahead and let the interview below be evidence of that.
What was the first album or song you remember listening to, and who introduced it to you?
Thriller is the first memory I have of holding a physical piece of music. I was obsessed. I believe it was a Christmas gift from my parents.
Do you believe that moment at all influenced the way you approach your work now?
I referenced Michael today in a session, so the answer would be yes!
Was there an “aha” moment for you, when you decided music was your thing? Or was it always kind of a thing?
I wanted to be an actor and then thought I’d be “realistic” and become a director. I was super close to going to film school in North Carolina. I got like a weird last minute courage injection my senior year in HS and played at the talent show with some friends. We played a Black Crowes song and I experienced a feeling I’ve only felt once. I didn’t go to film school.
You chose to stay in LA after your last Ex Cops tour, which was such a bold move. Are you prone to taking chances like that, or what was that like for you?
My family has always moved for various reasons but at the root is a nomadic gene that I can’t deny. I moved to NYC when I was 20, then to upstate NY with nothing, and I arrived in LA the same way. It’s made me strong but most of the time I envy the people I went to school with who own a home and understand what to do when they’re 65, and I’m getting there, but I just can’t ever stay in one place for too long. I watch twenty things in a night. I don’t like ordering entrees, I’d rather share a bunch of stuff w friends. I commit to music.
How has the music making process changed for you with Blond Ambition, as opposed to with your previous work?
This was the longest I’ve spent on an album because there was no deadline and no label. We (Andrew Miller) and I met when we could or wanted to, with no real end game until Swoon City came into the picture. The first thing they did was pay to record this one song I wrote last minute (“Good News”) that i was prepared to beg for, and they helped me no questions asked. They have been wonderful since.
As far as creative stuff goes, I just really don’t work in studios anymore. It’s like a casino where you don’t know what time or maybe even what day it is. I used to think that was romantic but I have to see the sun now.
You have made quite an important statement with your track “Stupid Boy/Girl”. Was there a moment that inspired that track, specifically?
I’m not sure when I wrote “Stupid Boy / Girl,” but it was before I quit drinking, so throw a dart on the map. The song is about someone who wasn’t so lucky. I was going through a lot in New York. I worked in nightlife. I knew, worked with and for lots of LGBTQ people and formed relationships with many of them. The song is about a particular person, but it’s really about anyone who is getting shit in school or their town or their church, and I’m from the South, and you see these people get absolutely terrorized. And it’s insane to me that this song is coming out the week of our fascist leader’s total betrayal of the community.
You’re prepping to release your debut Slow All Over in May. What are you most excited about with this release?
Just holding the thing!
Who is your favorite superhero? Substantiate that claim.
What’s your favorite comfort food to get you through tough moments? (Or studio moments, tour, etc.)
The chocolate macaroons from Cafe Tropical and off brand jelly beans.
What is the best advice you have heard that you could give to aspiring artists, especially with the looming threat of cutting funds for the arts nationwide?
Well I’d say it’s way past looming. We’ve never had proper arts funding in this country. What’s “looming” is the destruction of basic human rights and freedom of press. The fucked up thing is that all this terrible stuff will make art better. When art is strong you don’t need money.
What’s up next?
I’m gonna watch Frasier and eat jelly beans.
Slow All Over is out May 19th. Keep up with Blond Ambition here.