We’ve been big friends and fans of husband/wife Rob Kolar and Lauren Brown for quite a few years now, from their time as members of [what I will forever characterize as a] glam folk outfit He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, to their past several years as KOLARS, who released their debut LP two years ago, which would seem to pick up and evolve where HMBSMS left off. Earlier this month they released “Turn it Up” and “Touch of Lightening” on vinyl, courtesy of Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and his label, Hockey Talkter Records. The two tracks blend garage psych rock of the ‘60s with the best kinds of ‘90s alt rock. KOLARS are currently in the middle of a bunch of headlining dates, which will have them at our very own Boot & Saddle tonight. The last time we saw them was a little more than a year ago, at the very same former-honky-tonk-turned-punk-hangout, in the middle of a snow storm, when the duo was forced to barrel into the venue 33-minutes before curfew and dress, tune, and soundcheck onstage in front of their entire audience. Although it was a great – and super punk – performance, we’re very happy to have them back under more comfortable conditions. I had a brief chat with KOLARS earlier this week about what they’ve been up to in the past year.
Izzy Cihak: So, the last time I spoke with you was about a year ago, last March. Not to be super general, but what have been some of the highlights of KOLARS since then?
KOLARS: Everything and nothing [laughs]. We’ve been touring touring and more touring, played a run with our pal Shakey Graves along with our own sold out shows. Been a good year!
And we just released a vinyl with Mike McCready of Pearl Jam on his label, Hockey Talkter, and Jack White’s Third Man Records — pretty epic.
Izzy: How was working with Mike McCready?
KOLARS: He saw us play a show in Seattle back in 2017, with our friends Thunderpussy, at The Showbox for NYE. We came offstage and the minute we sat down he said he wanted to release our music. It was like a dream. He couldn’t be a nicer, cooler person-a real artist. We really respect him, definitely a mentor of ours.
Izzy: For that matter, do you have any particular favorite works of his (in addition to yours)? He’s done a ton of really cool stuff.
KOLARS: He recently did a visual collaboration with the artist Kate Neckel that is so impressive. He created music while she painted-and they put together an exceptional collection of pieces through that process.
Pearl Jam’s album Vitalogy is a big influence. The guitar parts on that album have definitely played a role in KOLARS’ guitar riffs and melodies.
Izzy: I feel like I’ve interviewed you each quite a few times and we always talk about influences, so I’m curious what you feel are some of your biggest influences at the moment, both musical and otherwise, whether or not they’re related to your all-time biggest influences?
KOLARS: Stanley Kubrick for sure, his work explores unique ways of looking at reality. And his approach to filmmaking-being able to be an independent filmmaker and maintain control of his art is incredible.
Izzy: What can be expected of the live experience when you return to Boot & Saddle?
KOLARS: Well it’s not gonna be a snow storm this year! That’s a bonus [laughs]! We’ll bring our own sweaty wild sex storm.
Izzy: Considering that the two of you always have such amazing style, I’m curious if you would prefer that your fans dress, or style themselves, in any particular way, when coming out to see you?
KOLARS: Dress however you want, come as you are be who you are!
Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you, after these dates wrap? What are you most excited about in the second half of 2019?
KOLARS: Lots more touring, Baby! Just got a bunch of dates supporting Guster this summer, along with some big festivals! And of course, album number 2 next year!