Blood On the Harp’s single “My Note To You” is a moving reflection on friendship, loss, and grief. “My Note to You” rides a laid back communal tableau of banjo arpeggios and train beats reminiscent of Dylan’s “wild mercury sound” on Blonde on Blonde. Lead singer Miguel Olascuaga pleads, “it’s another long night / another sunrise without you / when the drinking starts the hell takes over”. Blood On The Harp deliver a single that’s a part-party, part-wake, with heaps of Southern Gothic charm packed concisely into three minutes and thirty seconds.
Blood On The Harp’s Ghosts Vol. 2 will be released on June 1st.
SC: Tell me about these lyrics: “The rain is falling on the mourners head / will the memory of my smile help them to forgive / When they find me in the morning I’ll be dead”
MO: This is very difficult for me to explain without the social frown that comes with anything suicide related, this song is about a really close friend of mine that fell victim to her depression.
The end of suffering, minus absolution, I want the pain to end, but the shame of consequence lends no comfort towards the aftermath of my decision. We all want to be remembered for our sincerity and kindness, not the mental illness, especially not one that carries much ridicule from our peers. Even after death we fear social response and judgment. It’s much easier to say that there’s always help, but help isn’t always what someone in that state of mind needs, “help” is the generic dollar store version of Tylenol for cancer.
SC: I love the break between the first chorus and the second verse. Can you tell me about that dynamic choice?
MO: It felt very atmospheric, a sweetness that reminded me of her, gentle and patient. The folks in Blood On The Harp write beautifully, and everyone does something vitally important to make the song feel right, not only for me, but for themselves and how it translates to them; everyone feels it completely and in return makes us one.
SC: A lot of these songs are about resurrection or the un-dead - “Woke Up Dead” or “Cursed By Love” and this song is pretty final in its depiction of death. Can you comment on that?
MO: It’s no secret that death is my topic of choice, but it’s because I’ve dealt with a lot of it and refuse to let their memories fade. I hold it in and over-obsess, being OCD1 has it’s benefits oddly enough, its a cup half empty, half crazy thing.. The song is final in its description of death, the exuberance of her life is memorialized and explained in a way I hope everyone can relate to. It’s not up to us, the living, to cast judgment upon the dead and make our grievences more important than the meaning or value of their life.
SC: Tell me about writing “My Note To You”?
MO: I had spoken to my friend that had moved away to California, she had been there about a year and was feeling a bit blue. After hours of talking on the phone I could tell her demeanor was in the positive, we ended on a great note, or at least that’s what I felt. This being back in the days of MySpace, I had visited her page early the morning after, in her “about me” section she had wrote “Thank you Miguel for being there, I wouldn’t have made it this far without you.” I remember thinking to myself, what a badge of honor it was to have had the chance to change a friend’s life, how in love with the notion of “being there” I was. At around noon that same day, her father and brother walked in my shop and told me she had taken her life the night before, I was in complete shock, and so you see… Help goes way past the notion of listening, or the understanding of the weight and darkness someone feels, she wasn’t looking for my help, she was preparing me for what was coming next, she was planting the seed, leaving me with the laughter and love I had spent so many years admiring, not the sorrow and weight of her decision to leave. Sacrifice has many layers, as I’ve experienced.
SC: What’s next for Blood On The Harp?
MO: We’ve been talking about a music video for one the tracks off the new record. We are presently speaking with a few folks about the creative process, and hope to have that finished by the end of the year. We’ve been writing a lot and trying to stay busy with booking. With Wildwood Revival approaching, we are preparing ourselves for the biggest show we’ve ever been a part of and just want to make our mark. I can’t stress how important is to let everyone know that Blood On The Harp is a six piece band, although it was my writing that brought us together, its everyone’s input and co-writing that has kept us together, it’s “We”, not I.
SC: How does your community of songwriters inspire you?
MO: By just simply writing and never giving up, dedication and support from one another lends to more fruitful relationships. If I had to mention a few that I’ve really gained inspiration from lately, you wouldn’t have to look any further than Evan Stepp, Ben Trickey, and Casey Hood. Atlanta continues to blow my mind, it's a city that provides you with all the material you could ever need or want, good, or bad.
Thank you again for the chance to be heard, the chance to reach people beyond the melody and let them know that nobody is free from pain, or turmoil, constant support and unconditional love is all the tools we need.
The Tito’s "IDWTBA" is a powerful song about codependence decked out with AM transistor radio splendor. Lead singer Alex Lotito's vocals shift from croon to growl as he offers reflections—“apologies never seen to change a thing / I can sing pretty words but they never mean a thing”. Although IDWTBA has big singalong choruses, don’t be fooled by the track’s breeziness. The bittersweet lyrics about a relationship that has soured offer a heartbreaking narrative. However, this is all sweetened by organist Daniel Kirslis’ Hammond Organ which creates a soft soundbed you can ride towards some happier future.
Pick up a copy of Standard Electric Sessions EP here.
SC: I love the sentiment of the line “I believe our greatest fault comes when we forget to laugh”. Can you tell me a little about the meaning behind this?
AL: This song is essentially about sustaining a flawed relationship out of fear of being alone. The line about laughter is a bit sarcastic in this sense. Even when relationships have run their course it can be hard to let go. Sometimes it is easier to put on a smile, laugh, and shoot the shit like nothing is wrong. It’s not the healthy option, but it can be easier than facing facts. We all rely on delusions a little bit, right?
SC: Can you tell me a little bit about writing “IDWTBA”? How has your writing process changed since the last time we spoke?
AL: I spent a year in Sicily teaching English and I tried to write some songs when I was there. This was the first one I wrote when I got back. The melody actually came to me when I was in the bathroom. I started humming it, then I went and matched it to guitar. I kind of strung some words together to fit the melody and slowly some semblance of meaning started to take shape.
SC: What’s next for The Tito’s?
AL: Well, we released this EP a while ago and I think it’s time to start recording some new songs. We’re going to try to record some stuff at (our drummer) Zack’s house as he has a pretty decent set up. We’ve been writing some new songs this year and I’m really excited to capture these new sounds.
Other than that, we’re playing what might be our biggest show yet Friday May 11th opening for Cicada Rhythm at The Earl and then we play at Avondale Towne Cinema with The Last Tycoon and The Threadbare Skivvies. We’re also doing a little run through the South East in late June early July with stops on the Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina coasts.
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