Friday, November 16, 2007

Mini-Interview: Hearts Of Palm UK

Indie pop duo Hearts Of Palm UK are comprised of Ambi D on the glockenspiel, hand-clapper, triangle, tambourine, guitar, and keys and Erica Elektra on keyboards, beats/sequences, and voice so clear it has to be heard live to be believed.

(They’re headlining our free Let’s Independent! event on Tuesday at Boardner’s with Letting Up Despite Great Faults and Marvelous Toy, so there’s your next chance.)

Erica and I spoke via AIM over our lunch breaks yesterday to talk about the band’s secret origins.

RFSL (12:16:35 PM): How long have you two been out in LA?
hopuk (12:16:59 PM): ambi-d has been here a few years longer than me. I've been here about 2 1/2 years.
RFSL (12:17:24 PM): What brought you out?
hopuk (12:18:29 PM): well, i had just broken up with my boyfriend of 7 years (hence the whole Jonathan, the fucking motherfucker song title) and had been living in Europe, and then all of a sudden my life was like totally up in the air. no more boy, no more plans... and i just thought i needed to go somewhere fresh and start anew!
hopuk (12:18:42 PM): ambi-d was my good friend and she said i could live with her for a month and get my bearings
hopuk (12:18:50 PM): so, i just tried LA out with no real expectations.
RFSL (12:18:53 PM): Where were you living before?
hopuk (12:19:20 PM): I was in San Francisco for about 8 years, then i moved to Lisbon (Portugal) and then Berlin. So I was in Europe about two years. Now LA.
RFSL (12:19:30 PM): How are you liking it?
hopuk (12:19:56 PM): i really love LA. it's totally surprising - i didn't expect to. but i think it's the best place for me to live in the U.S.
RFSL (12:20:11 PM): I came from SF a few years back and had much the same experience.
RFSL (12:20:31 PM): It's hard leaving the extremely comfortable urban womb of SF, but there's so much more going on here.
hopuk (12:20:36 PM): yeah? what do you love about LA?
hopuk (12:20:38 PM): i know!
hopuk (12:20:45 PM): there's SO MUCH MORE happening i find.
RFSL (12:20:46 PM): (Maybe I shouldn't have used "womb" there...)
hopuk (12:20:47 PM): and the bands are better.
RFSL (12:20:52 PM): Exactly!
hopuk (12:21:00 PM): and i love bbq's and sunshine
hopuk (12:21:03 PM): and the beach
hopuk (12:21:05 PM): can't complain!
RFSL (12:21:12 PM): You get spoiled here being able to go out every night and see a great band.
hopuk (12:21:35 PM): i know, right? and it's often free, too...
RFSL (12:21:36 PM): And it's funny when the rough nights are, like last night, deciding between like five different great shows.
hopuk (12:21:44 PM): you love your shows
RFSL (12:21:49 PM): It's true.
hopuk (12:21:59 PM): i love places like pehrspace and the cog
RFSL (12:22:08 PM): The cog?
hopuk (12:22:09 PM): it reminds me of like another time somehow
hopuk (12:22:12 PM): yeah! you've never been?
hopuk (12:22:19 PM): it's this cool little gallery/music space.
hopuk (12:22:21 PM): i kinda love it.
RFSL (12:22:32 PM): I heart pehrspace. Surprisingly great sound for a small byob spot.
RFSL (12:22:35 PM): Oh, cool.
RFSL (12:22:41 PM): Have to check it out.
hopuk (12:22:42 PM): we shot our music video there!
hopuk (12:22:46 PM): (pehrspace)
RFSL (12:23:01 PM): Cool. Looking forward to seeing that on Tuesday.
RFSL (12:23:08 PM): So, when did the band start up?
hopuk (12:23:17 PM): It's been about a year.
RFSL (12:23:37 PM): So, you started playing pretty soon after.
hopuk (12:23:48 PM): we did!
hopuk (12:23:55 PM): pehrspace was our first show.
hopuk (12:24:10 PM): we were crazy nervous
RFSL (12:24:16 PM): I think I first saw you with The Black Pine at The Echo?
hopuk (12:24:48 PM): yes, that was i think our second show.
hopuk (12:24:54 PM): again, super nervous.
RFSL (12:24:57 PM): Nice.
hopuk (12:25:01 PM): it's taken a while to get over all that.
RFSL (12:25:15 PM): You're more comfortable on stage now?
hopuk (12:26:00 PM): definitely. now i think it's actually pretty fun, when before it was terrifying. we are just both learning how to let go and not worry about the people who are staring at you. i almost just go into this funny zone now, and it feels great.
hopuk (12:26:20 PM): and we've found that wine really REALLY helps
hopuk (12:26:24 PM): so does tequila
hopuk (12:26:26 PM): tequila
RFSL (12:26:32 PM): I was just about to say that...
hopuk (12:26:34 PM): totally
hopuk (12:26:49 PM): at first, i had this rule about being sober when we played
hopuk (12:26:54 PM): cuz i thought that it'd be better
hopuk (12:26:56 PM): and i was wrong
hopuk (12:26:59 PM): sad, but true.
RFSL (12:27:37 PM): Ha, ha.
RFSL (12:27:40 PM): So, what's the name of the band from?
hopuk (12:27:49 PM): well.... kinda random
hopuk (12:27:58 PM): but i was walking up echo park ave. one day, trying to think of band names
hopuk (12:28:11 PM): and for some reason boards of canada came into my head
hopuk (12:28:16 PM): i liked the sound of it
hopuk (12:28:25 PM): and then i saw a palm tree, and randomly thought of hearts of palm
hopuk (12:28:28 PM): and i do love hearts of palm
hopuk (12:28:31 PM): (in salads)
hopuk (12:28:34 PM): but also, it felt so LA
hopuk (12:28:51 PM): being a girl in LA - like the heart of a palm.
hopuk (12:28:56 PM): palm trees = LA
hopuk (12:28:57 PM): you know
hopuk (12:29:05 PM): and then of course, can't talk about the UK
RFSL (12:29:15 PM): I have eighty-foot tall palm trees lining my block, so agree.
RFSL (12:29:21 PM): You can't!?
hopuk (12:29:33 PM): that's right!
hopuk (12:29:41 PM): but it just felt so fresh, and right.
hopuk (12:29:48 PM): at first it was Erica Elektra and the Hearts of Palm
hopuk (12:29:51 PM): but then that was just out of control
RFSL (12:30:12 PM): That sounds like Lisa Lisa and The Cult Jam.
hopuk (12:30:21 PM): hahah!!
hopuk (12:30:31 PM): again, another laughing out loud situation in my little cubicle at work.
RFSL (12:30:36 PM): You'd have to do some dance moves on-stage with a name like that.
RFSL (12:30:44 PM): Not a bad thing necessarily.
hopuk (12:30:50 PM): totally. girls dressed up in palm tree costumes
hopuk (12:31:00 PM): we've tried the whole dancing thing
hopuk (12:31:05 PM): choreographed little parts
hopuk (12:31:15 PM): and then it's a total joke when we try them out, cuz we can't keep a straight face.
hopuk (12:31:22 PM): much less play the music....
RFSL (12:31:30 PM): Ha.
hopuk (12:31:41 PM): me and ambi-d LOVE LOVE LOVE to do our dancing thing. but not on stage!
RFSL (12:31:57 PM): So, congratulations on winning the Biore contest!
RFSL (12:32:05 PM): How did that come together?
hopuk (12:32:09 PM): so so so random
hopuk (12:32:38 PM): i'd heard that genart was looking for up and coming female music talent, and were taking submissions, so i applied. why not, you know?
RFSL (12:32:41 PM): Drinks are on you next Tuesday, by the way.
hopuk (12:32:45 PM): hahah!!!and then like 4 months later
hopuk (12:32:58 PM): i got a call from them when i was on vacation in miami and they said we were finalists.
hopuk (12:33:05 PM): i almost didn't remember what she was even talking about.
hopuk (12:33:47 PM): and then throughout the next few months, people voted, etc. etc. and there was a panel of expert judges (including Annie from Au Revoir Simone!!) who made the final decision.
hopuk (12:34:02 PM): Now we've got some cash to figure out some strategy.
RFSL (12:34:22 PM): That's fantastic.
RFSL (12:34:32 PM): What was the prize?
hopuk (12:35:03 PM): $20,000 (minus taxes... boo), a year's supply of Biore Skin Care products, and a high-level membership to GenArt.
hopuk (12:35:10 PM): need some pore strips?
RFSL (12:35:35 PM): Actually...
hopuk (12:36:05 PM): hahah!
RFSL (12:36:14 PM): That's great. Glad you won. You're using the proceeds to record an album and film your first video?
hopuk (12:36:20 PM): I have extras, i assure you. biore strips all around!
hopuk (12:36:26 PM): no... not really
hopuk (12:36:39 PM): video - already filmed, cost a whopping $35 or so...
hopuk (12:37:12 PM): and then the album - it's pretty much recorded, and has been done so by friends... so we'll definitely use some to give them cash they might not have expected.
hopuk (12:37:45 PM): mostly i'm thinking that we may end up putting it out ourselves, pay for a publicist, etc....
hopuk (12:37:57 PM): and there's a bunch of equipment that we are paying ourselves back for.
RFSL (12:39:45 PM): So when will the album be due?
hopuk (12:40:22 PM): album.... i'm really really hoping to have it all done within the next two months.
hopuk (12:40:32 PM): and maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to find a good label for it.
hopuk (12:40:49 PM): if not, then we'll put it out ourselves.
RFSL (12:40:51 PM): Cool. How is it different from your EP?
hopuk (12:41:01 PM): oh, that's not an ep
hopuk (12:41:05 PM): it's just our "demo"
hopuk (12:41:10 PM): it's going to have 13 songs
hopuk (12:41:17 PM): and will have better production value
RFSL (12:41:24 PM): Any of the old songs?
hopuk (12:41:42 PM): yes, all four for sure. cuz we never formally released anything at all.
hopuk (12:41:55 PM): we might might might add some live strings
hopuk (12:42:09 PM): and even a third person...
hopuk (12:42:22 PM): that's why i'm holding off on saying it's fully recorded. although our parts are, i might add a third.
hopuk (12:42:48 PM): it'll have really cool album art
RFSL (12:43:20 PM): By who?
hopuk (12:43:33 PM): Margaret Wuller.
hopuk (12:43:42 PM): have you seen those old art noveau posters by mucha?
RFSL (12:44:10 PM): Yep.
hopuk (12:44:55 PM): me and ambi-d are going to be immortalized in that fashion.
RFSL (12:45:04 PM): Excellent.
hopuk (12:45:10 PM): it looks really cool so far!
RFSL (12:45:33 PM): So what else is next for you?
hopuk (12:45:49 PM): 1. making the album the best it can be is #1.
hopuk (12:46:04 PM): 2. would really like to be picked up by a mid-level indie label.
hopuk (12:46:12 PM): 3. publicity blitz.
hopuk (12:46:25 PM): 4. tour - hopefully getting on as an opener for someone good.
hopuk (12:46:42 PM): (and amongst all that, adding member(s) to our lineup.
hopuk (12:46:53 PM): and being cute.
hopuk (12:46:56 PM):
RFSL (12:48:52 PM): Ha!
RFSL (12:49:20 PM): Last question: Who are you listening to these days?
hopuk (12:49:51 PM): oooh....
hopuk (12:49:58 PM): here goes
hopuk (12:52:45 PM): n. lannon, ratatat, the knife, the concretes, the postmarks, stars, great northern, only son, scrabbel, blonde redhead, fionn regan, jeff hanson, elvis perkins, whitest boy alive, rogue wave, feist, my favorite, mary timony....
hopuk (12:52:54 PM): that's just random off the top of my head.
RFSL (12:53:52 PM): Nice.
hopuk (12:54:07 PM): (i've got to get going at 1, just so you know)
RFSL (12:54:47 PM): Well, that's all I've got.
RFSL (12:54:52 PM): Thanks so much for your time!
hopuk (12:55:01 PM): thank YOU!

- Jonathan (the fucking motherfucker) MP3


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