Published on June 27th, 2016 | by TLV News0
Local Musician Spotlight: Alex Von Hardberger
Current Project(s): Al Gore Rhythms—it’s a project that consists of Capel Howorth on drums and alternate percussion, Cade Crook on bass, and Ben Yarbrough on lead guitar and vocal harmonies (when his schedule allows). I write, sing lead, and play rhythm guitar. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, as the name of the band might suggest, and it has been a complete blast. Our last show was at the Blind Pig in late 2015 (I’ve been taking some time off since then to focus on school) and it was probably the most enjoyable show I’ve ever played. I also play solo shows occasionally, but I much prefer playing with the Al Gore boys.
Where are you from? Lacombe, Louisiana, but I’ve been in Oxford long enough to call it my adopted home.
Your music Style/Genre: Quirky Pop/Rock/Punk? If you catch me playing solo, the songs can be very folksy. If you catch the full band playing those same songs, the music has an entirely different feel.
What is your preferred approach to making sounds? I try to make it catchy and sing my lil heart out. I’d rather write a short song that leaves people wanting more than a long song that gets boring before the end. I write a lot of short songs. I have a song called “Shorts On.” Also I like throwing in covers of guilty pleasure songs that people might not expect. At one of my last shows I played “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal and “Dance Hall Days” by Wang Chung.
Early music experience: Dancing to Michael Jackson in my whitey-tighties; listening to Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, and The Beatles with my mom; listening to The Doors, The Rolling Stones, and The Who with my Dad; and, in my formative teen years, going to punk shows with my older sister. She took me to Warped Tour when I was 11, and I got to see Rancid, Thrice, and The Vandals play. I was hooked after that.
Why did you start playing? Because I was obsessed with music while growing up, and one day I realized that it wasn’t some unattainable goal to write my own. My first band was a punk cover band when I was 13 called “The Subdivisionz,” in which I was just the singer. I started writing after that, but since I was a vocalist who didn’t play an instrument it was difficult to translate my ideas to other musicians. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I learned how to play guitar, and the music world kind of opened up for me after getting proficient enough to write the rhythm guitar parts to back my own lyrics. When I was 20 I went to college for Vocal Music Education, and what I learned there helped me write the vocal harmonies and time signature/key changes that went into early Young Buffalo songs.
What are some of your favorite bands? There are just too many to count, but the ones that come to mind easily are: The Beatles, Talking Heads, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Sonics, My Bloody Valentine, Talk Talk, Fleetwood Mac, Daft Punk, and At the Drive-In.