Interview with

Liz Harris / Grouper

Grouper is the solo project for electro-acoustic ambient/ noise musician Liz Harris, of Portland, Oregon. Harris’ music is a mixture of softly-strummed guitar, Wurlitzer keys, and delicate vocals. Reverb and tape delay effects are used widely throughout Harris’ recordings. She layers ethereal vocals that feel less like floating in the clouds and more like sinking into the dark earth; her music is a downcast mix of strummed acoustic guitar and defiantly analog sounding drone and noise-makers. With this small clutch of elements, she’s made more than a half-dozen full-lengths and a number of singles and EPs, all of which sound like they could come from no one else. There are so many people making music that could fall under the broad heading of “dream pop, ” but nobody sounds like Grouper.

Facts

I lived my first month in the world without a name — my parents couldn’t decide between Elizabeth, California, and Poki.
I was a trapeze artist as a child.
My first home was a modified chicken coop.

Questions

What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Honesty

How and when did you get into making music?
Was taught to read and play as a child by my father, who was a composition student.

What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
Gas – Pop
Stephen – Radar of Small Dogs
Siouxsie and the Banshees – Juju
AZ – Doe or Die
Townes van Zandt – Live at the Old Quarter
This Mortal Coil – It’ll End in Tears

What do you associate with Berlin?
Americans. Cold. Good techno.

What’s your favourite place in your town?
A marina that has been taken over by sea-lions.

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
If I could start my career over I would without question be a stunt or race car driver.

What was the last record you bought?
Durutti Column – Vini Reilly
Party Next Door mixtape

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
As a performer: Emmanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo
As a spectator: Fugazi, late 90’s in Watsonville CA

How important is technology to your creative process?
My aversion to it shapes quite a lot. Makes it harder than it has to be to play live or record, but comes up with better mistakes to use.

Do you have siblings and are they proud or jealous of you?
I have three elder siblings. We love each other, and get along fine. If anything I am jealous of them — each has a science-based career. I was a science student in school and I still miss it sometimes, though what I think I really miss is solvable problems.

Our Favourites: Grouper – Cloud in Places | Grouper – Black Out
Links:
yellowelectric | tumblr-fanpage

Photo credit:
Alicia J. Rose | aliciajrosephotography.com
| Interview with Grouper / Liz Harris by Digital in Berlin

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