Trendland got dressed with Class Actress‘ Elizabeth Harper before her LA show at the El Rey Theater the other night. Before her opening set for Miami Horror, the classic beauty brought us backstage where we helped her with accessory choices, and in turn, she shared a little bit about herself. Overbearing sounds of the stage blared into the already bustling dressing room while Elizabeth explained her “Momhead.” Not familiar with the term? Well, it’s what makes her destined for greatness.
As unnecessarily long as the traffic-ridden drive may have been, the So-Cal native chose to skip hotel amenities to stay at home, located about an hour’s drive away from the venue. It makes sense since home was where it all started. “When you have high-achieving parents, nothing’s ever good enough.” With a sense of appreciation, she explains further, attributing tough love to be in direct correlation to finding success. In her career, the key is high standards. “Everything can always use improvement,” she says. It is that perfectionist mentality that has grabbed the attention of The New York Times, Spin Magazine, and a whole slew of adoring fans.
You can call her a perfectionist, but don’t call her chill-wave. “I read somewhere that I was ‘chill-wave.'” Harper sets the record straight, playfully refuting the description: “More like no-wave.” While we were on the subject of rumors, she confronted the widespread online hearsay that she started as a quintessential singer/songwriter in a coffee shop setting. “Don’t get me wrong. I wrote ‘Careful What You Say,’ as a singer/songwriter with guitar in hand…but I wasn’t writing protest songs.” Before Class Actress, she wasn’t sitting in the beatnik atmosphere most made her out to be a part of. She started her career as Elizabeth Harper with momentum and put out a solo record in her own name, which came out in England in 2005, and even Japan in 2006.
“Careful What You Say” – BUY HERE
“Before, I was in my early 20’s Morrissey stage being like, ‘Please channel your frustrations through me.'” Now, known as Class Actress, she just wants to “get real” in her writing. “I look at my earlier stuff now and think, ‘God, did I really need to say all that? Do you really need to be so clever?” The UC Berkley drama major admits her theatrical background has everything to do with it, even citing Sondheim as a major influence in her writing style that remains full of dramaticism.
Harper may be a few years older and wiser, but her career is just beginning to fully blossom. It’s funny that she sits here as a major influence on the electronic scene when the LA scene is what developed her taste for electronic music in the first place. “In the LA scene as a teen,” Harper says, “it was all electronic music.” Although Brooklyn is her hood now, you can sense the strong hold her hometown has on her. “The Cure, Depeche Mode, and New Order, [that] is so LA.” Little does she realize, Class Actress has emerged as one in the same modern brand of electronic influence in both LA and New York.
At this time last year, she recalls, “I can remember Mark Richardson”–her producer and longtime friend–“standing in front of that mirror tuning a keyboard for our first LA show together,” she laughs and points to the edge of the dressing room. Richardson joins Elizabeth for live shows these days when he can, but he’s got quite a lot on his plate. The man of many talents is currently getting his P.H.D. in Psychology, and even juggled his P.H.D. program while recording her debut full-length album, Rapprocher (out in October).
The new album is seductive music for after the rave, as she describes it. “I had these babes from Venice beach come and tell me, ‘we come home and dance to your music on our rooftop at 8:30am in our underwear!'” The truth is, no matter what time of day, Class Actress is about to break herself into the limelight of the world’s musical consciousness and make a solidified place for herself in the electronic pop scene, and more. All she has to do is keep “Momhead” securely atop her shoulders, and not let anything else matter.
“You have to be passionate, but dispassionate. Don’t care what anyone thinks.”
<a href=”Journal of Ardency – EP – Class Actress” target=”_blank”>BUY “JOURNAL OF ARDENCY”, CLASS ACTRESS’S EP HERE