The don’t-give-a-fuck brother of soul Har Mar Superstar talks touring with Macaulay Culkin and being under Julian Casablancas’s wing.
Last Wednesday night involved a legendary performance at The Bowery Ballroom, NYC. As an actor turned musician, you have to crawl your way up but Macaulay Culkin’s band The Pizza Underground took to the stage with their jovial and pizza related versions of Velvet Underground tunes only to be met by adoring fans. This was followed by a certain Mr Sean Tillmann AKA Har Mar Superstar. The two acts are doing a tour of the US together and what a winning combination. There’s a sexiness in Har Mar’s nonchalance, often de-robing mid verse and never has one been so proud of their potbelly. Tillman counts Julian Casablancas as an old pal and the Strokes singer couldn’t resist but to take Har Mar under his Cult Records umbrella noting the artist’s new album as “Tough, sad, hilarious and rad”. Har Mar’s music career is the stuff of dreams having opened for Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jack Black’s alter ego Tenacious D in addition to writing songs for JLo and Kelly Osbourne. We nuzzle up to the performer of all performers and talk candidly about life thus far…
Tell me about the process of creating your latest album Bye Bye 17…
I basically sat down with a guitar, mainly between the hours of 2 and 6am, and let the songs pour out. I co-wrote a few with pals, but for the most part I took matters into my own hands. It felt great finding the chords that best suit my soul register. After that I went to Austin to record with Jim Eno. Everything fell into place easily after that. 95% of the record was played in Texas. Shawn Everett did the mixes in NYC after I took a shot re-singing it all live.
How does it feel to be under Julian Casablancas’ wing at Cult Records?
I love it. Julian and I have been pals for a long time. I love the aesthetic and everybody who works at the label. It feels like a clubhouse that happens to make really great records.
Have you started working on the follow up?
Yes. Songs are starting to form, and it feels great. I’m hoping to have it all finished by summer time. I’m finally taking a break from the road to get serious about it.
What is it like touring with The Pizza Underground?
The tour has been really fun. Just a big circus of friends. We all get involved in each other’s sets.
What inspires your look?
My look is inspired by dance. I like to wear flashy things that I can move in. I get pretty physical. We’ve been really into ZUBAZ on this tour. The stage jersey for this tour was drawn by Adam Green and made by Elise Diebel. I took inspiration from the Flying Burrito Brothers and Velvet Underground to have a half banana half pterodactyl mid-flight on my chest.
You’ve written songs for the likes of JLo and Kelly Osbourne. How does it feel to hand lyrics over to another artist?
It’s much easier than writing your own songs because you don’t have to give a fuck what you’re saying.
You’ve opened for The Strokes, Tenacious D and Red Hot Chili Peppers. What’s been your most radical backstage experience?
One time I went to get dressed for stage at Mercury Lounge and Ashley Olsen was wearing my stage clothes. I loved it!
Finally, any records or artists you’ve been enjoying of late that we should check out?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Betty Davis, White Fence, Mac Demarco, Cate LeBon, Toby Goodshank, Karen O, and The Association.
Words: Elinor Sigman