Sunday, June 3, 2012

Chicago native Haroula Rose releases new EP, working on next full-length record


Chicago native Haroula Rose writes songs for every season.

Rose, who grew up in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood and now lives in Los Angeles, will release a new EP, "So Easy," on June 4. Even if you're not that familiar with Rose, you probably know her songs, as they have appeared in such TV shows as "How I Met Your Mother," "Being Human" and "American Horror Story."

I had the chance to talk to Rose,, about the new CD and her other projects.

Q - It's great talking to you again. Your new EP, "So Easy," is coming out on June 4, just in time for warm weather listening. I understand the EP was inspired by the spring and summer months.

Yes, well I wanted to push myself to have more variety in terms of arrangements and complexity within the five songs on this EP so there would be a range.

And it's always nice to have some upbeat summery songs as well as some mellow ones that can take you into autumn too.


Q - How did you go about choosing the songs for this EP? How did you get the idea to record "Wichita Lineman" as a spoken word piece?

I love that song and those lyrics and chord changes are subtle and complex at the same time, so I wanted to explore that.  

"Only Friends" is a rare B side from Francoise Hardy, whom I have always adored. They are love songs in one way or another - love good and love gone songs.

Q - I understand you plan to release your second full-length album later this year. Does the EP hint at what the new album will be like? What goals do you have for the new album?

The new album will hopefully be released later this year, yes.  

It may have to be early in 2013, but I am truly hoping I get it done this year as well. It really depends on scheduling some things.

It is the first time I am making an album that has theme/concept woven throughout, so that is exciting for me.  I can talk about it more when it's ready to come out.

Q - Sheldon Gomberg, who has worked with the likes of Rickie Lee Jones, Lucinda Williams, and Jackson Browne, recorded most of the EP. What do you think he brought to the project?

Sheldon is so warm and kind and totally hilarious. It was a lot of fun working with him and his whole crew of people.  

They made me feel very at home at comfortable. He also has a lovely studio with great equipment and sound, and a lot of experience with tons of artists.  

So it was a very positive experience, since we were friends beforehand, and hey, we are still friends afterward! That's a good sign, right?

Q - You said in a recent interview that you think the best thing you ever bought was a 1929 Martin Parlor guitar. Explain.

Well, I do believe in spirits. I have seen and felt some things in my life that are not of this dimension.  

And I swear that guitar has some kind of energy in it. People have offered all kinds of things and amounts of money to buy it from me, but I won't sell it because it has a certain energy that is really unique and it just sounds really unique.  

Has a life of its own, I suppose. I mean it's passed through many hands at this point.

Q - You recently performed at SXSW. How was that experience? Will you be touring a lot this year and when can we expect you coming back to the Chicago area?
SXSW is always overwhelming on every level. It's hard, but also fun and doesn't seem worth it at the time but then it always is later on when I look back.

I performed a lot and it's crazy down there with so many people. But I love Austin no matter what and it's nice to have a reason to go back there.  

I will be back in Chicago for shows in the early fall.
Q - Last year when you were in Chicago, you played at Schubas for the first time. You had told me that it was always a dream of yours to play Schubas. Did the experience live up to the dream?

Well, I have seen so many people I admire play there and it always sounds great so yes, it did.  

I think the bigger dream of mine in terms of Chicago venues was always the Old Town School of Folk, so that is my real dream and hopefully that happens this year!

Q - Your songs have been used in a number of TV shows. Does it ever surprise you to see one of your songs being used in a certain show? Do you think your songs are getting out to a wider audience in the process?

I love when it happens because it's nice when you can hear a song express something outside of the context in which it was written; like the more specific it is the more it can actually be applied to all kinds of situations and that mystery is pretty cool.  

It also helps with broadening audiences for sure. That is always nice; I get sweet messages from people all over the world saying that they heard a song because of a show and that it helps them get through something or whatever and those are unquantifiable moments that make all the challenges worthwhile.

Q - I understand that you are working on a short film. What is it about?

It's about a relationship between two family members. It's evolving, so I will be able to talk about it more soon.

Q - I know you have made short films in the past. Do you see yourself getting more into film projects?