Q&A: He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister

12 Oct
By Ashley Eliot
Two Sundays ago a folk band from LA celebrated their debut self-titled EP at the Bootleg Theater. Though the band has been together for almost two years and didn’t really pursue it until now, it makes sense why they wanted to wait. He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister wanted to save it all up for the big bang – a diverse and very lovable EP, and a tour with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. And if you’ve seen the band live then you know why Edward Sharpe chose them as the opening band. HMBSMS create a fun and friendly live show through amping up the crowd to yell, snap fingers and jump, plus each individual member is extremely talented with a natural stage presence. A highlight is definitely the adorable Lauren Brown on percussion, which is her intense tap dancing on a wooden block. Siblings Robert (vocals and guitar) and Rachel Kolar (vocals, tambourine and vibraslap) plus Satya Bhabha on cello and Brown make up the group, and occasional sit-in by Edward Sharpe’s drummer Orpheo McCord . With songs “Tales That I Tell,” “Lazy Daze” and “How’m I Gonna Get Back Home,”HMBSMS has the overall package – great songwriting and an amazing stage presence.

Here is what Robert Kolar, singer and guitarist of HMBSMS, had to say about everything that’s gone down this past month.

Ash:  How did opening for Edward Sharpe come about? That’s pretty exciting.

Robert: The Magnetic Zeros voted us on to the tour.   They are quite a democratic bunch.  I dig that about them.  Word on the street is we got six votes.  Not too bad.


Ash: How did everyone meet and become HMBSMS?

Robert: I met Rach[Rachel Kolar] in 1983. I held her and she screamed and threw up on me. Lauren in NY in 2001. She and my sis were housemates at NYU. We fell asleep in the same bed the first night we met. Satya showed up one day. He made us giggle. We asked him to come to Utah with us.


Ash: How did the band come up with this type of sound?

Robert: Evolutionarily by accident.


Ash: Who writes the songs in the band or is it a collaborative effort? Any theme when it comes to writing the songs?

Robert: Rach and I tend to write lyrics and melodies for singing. But it is collaborative. We are all involved in in our parts and everyone has creative contributions. There is a great creative balance in this band.  I feel lucky about that.


Ash: It seems each member of the band have other projects his/her are working on whether it be film or music. How has it been juggling that and HMBSMS starting to pick up speed?

Robert: It is a juggling act indeed. But it’s worth making sacrifices for this project as the excitement has grown and so have the opportunities.


Ash: October 3 was the official release of the band’s debut EP. Tell us about a few of the songs. What do you want people to take from this record?

Robert: It’s a solid introduction to our sound.  A bit of variety with a live feel and energy. I was able to feel more freedom because this band reflects a spontaneous and off the cuff kind of vibe. Two songs we just left the scratch vocal takes (“Coattails” and “The House That Isn’t Mine) and many of the vocals have no edits. We liked the idea of accepting the flaws to maintain a sense of urgency and inspiration. I find, most flaws turn into enjoyments down the line, anyhow.


Ash: What can people expect at a live show?

Robert: A good ol’ time.


Ash: What is each member’s musical background? Other bands?

Robert: I’ve been writing songs for 15 years or so. Had a punky ska sort of band in high school inspired by Operation Ivy and bands like Telegraph and Slapstick. After high school I did a folky sort of record I recorded in my bedroom called Not Quite Honest. Moved to NY and played in subways for a bit. Also, the L train and sometimes near Times Square. I helped start this band Robbers on High Street. Then moved back to LA and formed this outfit Colour, which later became Lemon Sun.  And now I’m doing that band and He’s My Brother She’s My Sister. But HMBSMS covers a couple Lemon Sun tunes.


Ash: So far, what has been the best comment about your music?

Robert: Looking out and seeing the audience singing along.


Ash: What does the band want to accomplish next?

Robert: World peace.

Stay up-to-date with the band by going to http://www.myspace.com/hesmybrothershesmysister.


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