Ex Cops' Brian Harding Outs Bandmate Amalie Bruun's Love of Black Metal
Brooklyn's ace pop stylists Ex Cops have it all: the badass moniker, the underground cred (they were 4th Street record shop institution Other Music's first signing to its fledgling label), the swanky veneer and slick, ubiquitous poptones to match. On its debut True Hallucinations, melodious ear candy-weaver Brian Harding, along with songstress partner Amalie Bruun, juxtapose their soothing voices sublimely with saccharine melodies that echo the playful new wave jangle of kindred spirits the Vaselines, the hooks galore of Teenage Fanclub and the sunny harmonies of the Beach Boys.
Annelise Howard Phillips No One Knows We're Black Metal
We caught up with Harding on the phone to talk signing to Other Music Recording Co, their Replacements-inspired video and, in a glorious twist, the shocking revelation that Bruun is all about the black metal.
How did you hook up with Other Music's label?
Brian Harding: It's funny. I had known one of the guys who's worked there--Gerald--for almost ten years. We hadn't really talked that much but I recorded this EP with a friend of mine in Bushwick named Dan Schapiro and I kinda did a cold call. I stopped in Other Music with the EP and just was like "Here's ten copies. Do what you want to with them" and I guess they sold all of the copies that day because they were playing it on a PA. Coincidentally, they were starting a label. They called me up and were like "Do you want to be the first band on the label?" It was like a super-organic, "universe is on my side" kind of thing. It was really weird.
Other Music's label only has you and a couple of other bands at the moment.
Brian Harding: Yeah, it's us and Nude Beach and a Japanese psych guy (Shintaro Sakamoto) who's awesome.
Ex Cops and Nude Beach have a similar pop thing going on.
Yeah, yeah. They are super-awesome. They are kinda like Tom Petty, Johnny Thunders stuff. Nude Beach definitely rocks harder than us.
I've read the New Zealand comparisons but I hear the Vaselines in Ex Cops stuff.
We definitely love the Vaselines. The whole New Zealand thing kinda threw us for a loop because we had never heard anything from New Zealand [laughing]. We were like "Yeah! New Zealand. Totally." Amalie and haven't written together that much. The album is written mostly by me but we've been starting to write more together for the second album, which is really exciting.
Had you been shopping at Other Music for years?
Yeah, totally. I remember when I was 16 and visiting New York, going to Other Music and being like "What's cool? What should I buy?" I think they told me to get a Black Heart Procession record.
So, you weren't a Kim's Video & Music guy?
I always thought Kim's was just a little too "New York" for me, since I was from North Carolina. I was kinda scared to go into Kim's [laughing]. In Other Music, they were just super nice and it had more of a better vibe. Whenever I went into Kim's, there was a bunch of security guards and shit and that scared me off. I actually went to Kim's last month with Amalie and our 7-inch was in there. We took a picture just for the hell of it and the guy was like "You can't take pictures in here!" They have like five security guards. Dude, relax.
When did you meet Amalie?
I actually met Amalie backstage at a Clean concert. The second time I met her was at a show she was playing at Cafe Vivaldi, then we just started doing some demos at her apartment in Chelsea maybe two years ago. We started playing shows together at the Ace Hotel just for fun and then this whole thing with Other Music started happening and she became more of a full time member of the band.