There tends to be a stereotype when it comes to certain acts. You see an act get on stage dressed in costumes or masks, for example, and you assume there is going to be a lot of yelling and G-chord. So when you hear “husband/wife singer-songwriter duo,” certain images come to mind. Simple melodies, female-led vocals, songs about love. Har-Di-Har has always made it a point to go against the grain.
That is why the dream-pop duo, comprised of Julie and Andrew Thoreen, plays sets that include songs that are musically complex and lyrically dense and feature vocals that do not so much harmonize as they intertwine.
“That’s definitely what we’re going for,” said Julie in a phone interview. “There’s a stereotype for the husband/wife duo. That it’s a very singer songwriter-ey, acoustic sort of thing. Right away we started to learn that kind of codependent drumming we do. To a fault, our plan was to never do things the way other people have.”
As mentioned, the pair shares percussion duties in Har-Di-Har, both manning drums of some sort on virtually every song. Equally as enmeshed are the singing and songwriting duties. From the very beginning, the pair wanted to make sure that each of them carried one half of the DNA of Har-Di-Har.
“For our first songs, we took a whole month to write,” Julie explained. “The only rule was that we couldn’t work on anything unless we were together.”
“We use it as a challenge to expand the possibilities of what a duo can do,” Andrew continued. “We like to take painstaking measures to challenge our preconceived notions of what a song is.”
“What we have realized as we’ve developed as artists is why we do that,” Julie concluded. “We’ve always written collaboratively — probably because we’re both stubborn and controlling — and as we’ve played more shows, we’ve come to understand that the codependent drumming and singing style is really reflective of what it’s like being married.”
Har-Di-Har, much like married life, is a shared endeavor. The Thoreens succeed or fail as a team, as much a devoted duo onstage as off. It is not a life that is for the faint of heart. It takes trust. But when it works — in music or in life — the results are gorgeous. CV