Interview: KOLARS

KOLARS are a music duo made up of Rob Kolar and Lauren Brown.

Rob produces, mixes, and writes the material whilst Lauren uses her whole body as a percussive instrument.

The two perform with energy, sweat, and excitement, thrilling audiences with their unabashed exuberance.

We caught up with the band to talk about developing their sound, dream collaborations, making music videos in the desert and The Detour…

For any of our readers who are being introduced to KOLARS for the first time, please can you tell us how you got together as a band?

Lauren: You know, Rob and I have actually known each other for a very long time. I went to NYU with his sister back, back, back in the day haha… and during our freshman year her brother was planning on coming out for a visit. I remember the first time I met Rob, and I also remember the massive crush I developed on him within 2 minutes of that meeting – but that’s another story.

We remained close over the years and were in a band together called He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, with his sister Rachel and our good friends Oliver Newell and Ryan Richter. When HMBSMS went on hiatus, Rob and I started laying down the groundwork for KOLARS – having fun in the studio, creating new songs and envisioning what we wanted this project to be. And it has really turned into a dream music project for me… tapping and drumming is my favourite thing to do on earth and getting to do it with my favourite person on earth just makes me feel like I’ve won the life lottery.

Interview: KOLARS 3

Your music is described as ‘sonic’ sounding and that you ‘straddle genres’, did you spend a lot of time in the studio experimenting before coming up with the KOLARS sound?

Rob: We definitely like to straddle genres.  Some of the songs like Dizzy were written in the studio and came from me exploring various keyboard and synth sounds. Then from that emerged melodies, guitar riffs and percussive elements.  In the past I mostly wrote on an acoustic guitar and developed it into an electric version.  With this band many songs are written backwards with the track and production elements coming first and the identity, lyrics and melody coming after. It’s been an exciting experiment and inadvertently creates a different type of sound for us.

Was there one song or one moment when you thought, ‘we’re onto something here, this is THE sound for our band…‘?

Rob: I think the sound continues to change and evolve based on what we are excited about or listening to. Lauren and I both have a great love for everything from soul like Tina Turner to indie rock like Wilco to psych like Temples to new wave like the Cars to experimental blues like Tom Waits. Our goal is to mix all of these influences and add some nuance unlike anything else we’ve heard.

‘One More Thrill’ was a perfect song for the summer of 2016, we loved it, tell us about the track?

Rob: Thanks so much! It’s a song about breaking free from the constructs and paths that modern society lays out for you. Following your dreams over playing it safe. Production wise I wanted this suicide-esque synth drone matched with drum machine elements. It’s essentially a blues song brought into the future. Post apocalypse blues maybe (laughs). Consequence of Sound gave it a really interesting review pointing out that as a song it shares a lot with country even though the production and beat sounds modern.

Lauren: I hope it becomes the perfect song for the summer of 2017 (and 2018, 2019, 2020…) too.

And the video looks like it was a lot of fun to make?

Rob: We nearly died making it. (laughs) So it’s fitting that the song lyric is “one more thrill before I die“. That’s how we felt every time we did a take. It was well over 100 degrees in scorching dry desert heat. We each collapsed several times throughout the day. There was one point I was worried Lauren might have to be taken to the hospital as she was on the verge of fainting. Fortunately we got through it and we honestly feel it’s the best video we’ve been a part of.

Lauren: That was a solid dry heaving day. But we were so happy with the result! So every heave was worth it.

You’re on tour at the moment, how are the shows going?

Rob: Fantastic. The reaction has been wonderful. People are starting to catch the words and sing along.

If you could collaborate with any other band or artist, who would it be?

Rob: I like the idea of collaborating with someone you wouldn’t expect… Snoop Dogg. I’ve always loved the way Snoop raps with this cool easy flow. I could imagine us creating something really chill with him and have fun making it.

Outside of music, what do you enjoy doing?

Rob: I’m a hockey player and big fan of the LA Kings. I play on a team called The Flying Elbows with my friends. A bunch of them work in music and film so we are kind of the artsy hockey team. (Laughs) Lauren and I love to travel and capture our adventures with photos and video (Instagram @kolarsmusic). This year we went to Egypt to see the Great Pyramids and traveled to Turkey to Cappadocia, the turquoise coast and Pamukkale amongst others. It was incredible to connect with the people and discover some truly incredible places.

Rob, you work on TBS’ The Detour, where you provide the score for the show, can you tell us a little bit more about your involvement?

Rob: Sure. I’m the composer for the show. I wrote the theme song and co-write a lot of original songs used in the show with Jason Jones (star, creator, producer, writer). It’s a comedy that is part of this cool new makeover at TBS where they are bringing in new cool, comedy shows and working with cutting edge creators and comedians. It’s been a great challenge as I use symphonic elements and orchestration that I wouldn’t normally explore with KOLARS, but now that I do it comes back into our music and I find myself using timpani and strings and other sounds that weren’t in my bands in the past.

Your debut album is set for release in 2017, what can fans expect from the record?

Rob: Coloured vinyl! The vinyl will also contain a song or two not featured on any of the digital releases. We are currently playing a few of the songs live towards the end of our set.

What are your plans for the rest of 2016?

Rob: We just got added to New Noise in Santa Barbara which is a festival featuring Unknown Mortal Orchestra, STRFKR and others. We also added an LA show at The Troubadour on Nov 23.  Night before thanksgiving! We still have a little bit of recording and writing to do to over the next CPL months, between shows. Looking forward to some more experimentation that will end up in the live show and upcoming recordings.

Let us know your thoughts on KOLARS over on Twitter @CelebMix

Written by Philip Logan

Twitter & IG: @philip_logan