Interview: KOLARS

With a musical style variously described as “Desert Disco”, “Space Blues”, and “Glamabilly”, you know that the husband-and-wife duo KOLARS isn’t your average band. But whatever you call it, it is clear that Rob Kolar (vocals/guitar) and Lauren Brown (tap-dance drumming) bring a diverse set of influences and a whole lot of fun into the mix.

KOLARS grew out of the group He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, which also included Rob’s sister Rachel. The debut KOLARS album was released in 2017 and received rave reviews, but one could argue that the real magic happens when you see them live.

This interview was for a preview article for for the 2/23/19 KOLARS show at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara. It was done by email, with answers received on 2/11/19. (Cortney Armitage photo)

Jeff Moehlis: What can people look forward at the upcoming Santa Barbara show?

Rob Kolar: Audio sex.

Lauren Brown: What’s audio sex?

Jeff: I enjoyed seeing you at the Starry Nights Festival a couple years ago, in the hills above Santa Barbara. Was that a fun gig for you?

Rob: One of our favorites. Great lineup. Great experience. Would love to see more festivals like that one pop up. And for Starry Nights to come back! Was really blown away by The Kills and Thunderpussy. Really inspiring performances.

Lauren: Loved it. Our nephew (who was 3 at the time) saw us perform for the first time at that festival. We looked over and he was sitting in a tree with a smile on his face.

Jeff: If I remember correctly, you kicked off that show with a cover of “King of Carrot Flowers”. Did you catch any Neutral Milk Hotel shows when they performed five-ish years ago?

Rob: No, unfortunately we were on tour with our previous band. Would have loved to see them live. Those two records of theirs, especially Aeroplane Over The Sea… are classics. Still listen to them a lot. Their unconventional production choices have been a big influence on us as well.

Jeff: How does your musical approach to KOLARS differ from He’s My Brother She’s My Sister?

Rob: It’s the next phase for us. There are no rules and even though we have certain limitations we try to shapeshift within those and stay creative with what two people can accomplish.

Lauren: Two people creating together vs five definitely feels different. Things are decided much quicker and we can solve a lot of our arguments by making out.

Jeff: A distinctive and particularly enjoyable aspect of KOLARS is Lauren’s tap dance drumming. What inspired that approach to drumming?

Lauren: It began actually as a necessity. In HMBSMS we had a drummer (and I tap danced alongside him) but he quit, so we needed to fill that role. The band/Rob suggested that I learn how to drum while I tap dance – and that’s how it all began! Started with one drum, then another, then another….now here I am 8 years later.

Rob: ET’s suggested it.

Jeff: Where do your cool outfits come from?

Rob: Ha. Why thank you. We scour thrift, vintage stores and the web for pieces we like. Then I tend to alter them or add pieces. I’ve been designing a lot of my own clothes these days or accessorizing pieces I have. My friend Kacey Barnes (also a musician) has been helping me stitch them all together.

There just isn’t a lot of experimental and creative men’s clothing out there. It’s getting better but sometimes you just gotta do it yourself.

Lauren: Rob is way more creative with his clothing than I am; I just shop. Drag queens have the best clothing. Some of my favorite pieces were originally made for drag queens.

JM: If it’s not too personal, what are the KOLARS doing for Valentine’s Day?

Rob: Potluck dinner with friends!

Lauren: Roses for Rob.

Jeff: What do you miss most about Los Angeles when you’re out on tour?

Lauren: My cat Wolfgang Brown Kolar.

Rob: Potluck dinners with friends!

Jeff: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?

Rob: You’ve got time. Enjoy the struggles, enjoy the highs. If the goal is about “being famous” or “blowing up” maybe it’s worth questioning what you’re really doing it for.

Lauren: Remember to have fun.

Jeff: What’s in the works for KOLARS?

Rob: We have a new single “Turn It Up” coming out on Mike McCready/Pearl Jam’s label Hockey Talkter through Third Man. Mike caught our New Year’s set playing with Thunderpussy. We walked off stage and Mike was smiling in the dressing room, he said, “You guys wanna put out a record?”


No comments for “Interview: KOLARS”

Post a comment