Cincinnati psych-punks , Meet – The Harlequins


The Harlequins are playing some pretty cool tunes on their new album ‘One With You’ . There is a lot of psych pop going on with nods to the best of the 60’s for sure but there is also that new take, a bit sped up like Ty Segall when he gets cranking on rock ‘n’ roll. So go get that second cup of coffee, turn this shit up and jam to the glorious noise of The Harlequins….

from :Dizzybird Records
dizzybird met The Harlequins at SXSW because of Gringo Star. Label owners Nicole LaRae and Brian Hoekstra met The Harlequins in Austin, in 2013, while members of the band were filling in for Gringo Star at a backyard showcase. Lead singer-songwriter Michael Oliva, invited the label to see his bands set later that day at a small Irish club.

It was ferocious. The Harlequins were solid as can be!

When it came time to share the rough sketches of One With You, Oliva sent his songs to dizzybird, who were all-too-receptive. After a year of recording, Oliva and co. had 12 fuzzy, scorching, tracks ready for the vinyl treatment. These songs find sonic kinship with the manic style of Thee Oh Sees, while tipping their caps to the garage-pop perfection of the Kinks.

This is The Harlequins first proper LP. See above about being ferocious.

Meet – The Harlequins

for those unfamiliar with your bands history, can you tell us all how you all met up and decided to start a band ?

-I was young and hungry to form a group, and had been writing and recording for a few years when I met our bass player Alex. We started hanging out, he played bass on a track on my solo album I was working on, and we started writing together from there on out. Started The Harlequins with a friend on drums who was replaced shortly thereafter by our drummer Rob, and it’s been the three of us ever since.

who would you list as your musical influence?.

All three of us have extremely diverse musical taste and it shines when we improvise on extended psych jams or certain parts on songs. We all of course share a love for the music of the 50s and 60s, Beatles, Early Floyd, Link Wray, the UK brit pop and psych rock invasion and American Surf rock. Ive always been heavily influenced by songwriters who thought outside the box, were sometimes unpredictable, and who still remain tactful and not too self indulgent. Ohio bands have been a big influence as well, specifically the Cramps and DEVO (from akron) and Kim Deal (Pixies, Breeders) from Dayton.

whats the coolest thing that’s happened to you as a band since you started up?

All of it really. Playing different music festivals, meeting different artists and musicians and developing friendships. Meeting Dizzybird Records from Grand Rapids, getting our first proper vinyl release and still having the privilege of playing music to people. Surviving is a pretty cool thing in this business.

what are your hopes and dreams as a band for the next few years.

To get more attention/exposure, keep releasing more albums, shine more light on Cincinnati’s music scene that we’ve been a part of for a decade, get a booking agent. Get a private jet.

what are some of your favorite albums from the past few years?

Gringo Star from Atlanta have been releasing great music for years, our label-mates Heavens Gateway Drugs and Heaters have put out some rad albums as well as Las Rosas and Cool Ghouls. Dizzybird Records has been killing it with their roster. Also we all dig what’s been coming out of Atlanta and San Fransisco within the psych/punk scenes. Oh Sees, Segall and co. White Fence, and all the castle face groups have been killing it. Really loved that Mallard record, Yes on Blood! Cincinnati homies Tweens, Electric Citizen, Bummers Eve, and Pop Empire have put out some awesome records too! Music is everywhere these days, I try not to listen to it too much!

Do you see any real use for social media , or is it all just a pain in the ass to keep with?

It’s both very useful and also a pain in the ass. It sucks to have to be glued to your phone half of the time, lose some of the human experience…but that’s unavoidable it appears all around these days.

Do you pay attention to reviews or comments from people about your music or do you just turn that noise off.

It’s hard to completely turn it all off, but a man can try. It’s nice to get some positive reinforcement, but in general all of this can be artist death. I don’t mean bad reviews breaking the spirit, but rather good reviews making the artist lazy and fat, spoiled and turned sour, thinking he can do no wrong. That is a dark place to be.

If you could tour anywhere in the world , where would you want to go.

Tour the entire world, once a year. If only one region though, probably Spain or Japan. Totally different yes, fuck it.

Can music save the mortal soul or is just a good backbeat to your life.


Any last thoughts for your fans?

Don’t believe any hype about anyone ever anywhere, and be cool. Thanks for listening!

The Harlequins:



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Co-founder of 50thirdand3rd, stepped away to spend time with family and write. From Pittsburgh, now in Florida, Cool Canadian artist wife, 4 great kids, and two granddaughters!! I'm a lucky guy!

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