Here's an old interview with The March Hare during which, among other things, we discover that their music drew on influences we'd never heard. At least some of us, anyway.
An Afternoon Tea Party with The March Hare
On the first hot, sunny day of summer in the city, we sat down over some coffee and grilled veggies with the four bright-eyed and bushy-tailed members of The March Hare to find out more about their genre and ear-bending debut EP, People Dressed as People, where an experimental band finds a home (and a few shows to play) in Philly, and how a band can become prog-rock without actually listening to any.
Four close friends, Zack Guy, Charlie Heim, Chrissy Tashjian, and Jon Hafer have combined their love of jazz with their propensity for wild rock’n'roll energy to create an album that refuses to conform to any sort of specific musical genre. It’s too musical to be hardcore and too noisy to be indie, the only two things it definitely is are interesting and loud. I had to ask:
FO : Where do you feel like you fit in on the Philly music scene?
MH : We can’t really find bands that sound like us. We have bands that we really like to play with like Chamomile, An Albatross, and the Sw!ms. Our audience tends to be a younger audience of people who like something new, something fun. We give so much at shows, our crowd is the crowd that’s ready to give that back.
The music isn’t caustic to your ears - it’s not going to make you cringe, but you have to be ready for something new. Have to be open minded. Our crowd is definitely not the bar crowd.
FO : What’s your songwriting process?
MH : Someone brings in a skeleton or a riff they have floating around, then we fill in the rest as a band. Assembly Line was the first song we wrote together and it was from a skeleton that Chrissy had. Recently John was inspired to bring back a song of Zach’s that we’d put aside when he heard the poppy bass riff Chrissy played for it.
No one person defines the sound of our music. Charlie is really into jazz theory so he fixes things and makes them more musical. He’ll tell us to add a harmony or say, “Try moving that one note.”
Writing as a group we had to shatter our egos. You can start something, but you have to let the rest of the band fix it up. We’re trying to be conscious of dynamics and bounce things off of each other. It helps that we’re best friends when we’re telling each other to change key in a song or to take it back to the drawing board even when we thought it was done.
FO : The record is very complex. Do you try to make your live shows reflect the album?
MH : As much as possible. We only really change little things for fans who might be in the audience. Most of the time it’s the exact same song that’s on the album.
We work some improv into the live songs to make them more alive. If you pay for a show, you want to see a show, so at first we were like, “Fuck musicality, we want to put on an energetic live show!” But we’ve grown more comfortable to where we can put on a show that is both good and crazy.
FO : So we still can’t really define what kind of music the March Hare plays, but what kind of music do you listen to?
MH : We all kind of listen to the same stuff but for different reasons, for instance we all love the Beatles. Charlie knows the most about jazz. None of us really listens to prog rock, but that’s what our music gets related to the most. It’s because of all the different sections in the songs, but those different sections represent the different personalities in the band. (laughing) We became a prog rock band without listening to prog rock. Except Chrissy, she was raised on Yes.