Class Actress: the Beatweek interview

“I’m not using any gimmicks to promote myself, this is authentic shit”

Class Actress a.k.a Elizabeth Harper, has been all about finding balance in the light and darkness these days. In 2013, she went back to her hometown of L.A. to finish up her latest EP, Movies, which is based around danger, desire and her own very personal experiences. “It was the perfect backdrop to see what the excess of success can be like,” Harper says. The EP fuses together 80s electronic pop and sultry vocals like “I’m not your bedroom secretary/ Short on time since February/ Head exec, CEO, GFE that’s all you need to know.”

Harper signed to the infamous Casablanca Records which was founded by the late Neil Bogart in 1973. Evan Bogart, his son was the executive producer of the album. Harper worked with disco king Giorgio Moroder as well who helped produce hits for Donna Summers. Movies is like another chapter to her book. You can think of it as part two of 2011’s Rapprocher. “For me, writing a pop song is the closest I can get to God in that moment,” she says. “Bogart is like a conduit. He brought out things in me I didn’t know I had.” Producing the EP was a lot of stop and start. It only took Harper a couple months to write the songs but she ran into a lot of road blocks along the way, like the untimely passing of her father. “It was like an odyssey,” she says. “A three-act play. It was crazy.”

Harper also drew some inspiration for the EP from one of her favorite authors, Bret Easton Ellis. “He’s like the patron saint of L.A.” she says. “In Imperial Bedrooms he says the most profound thing: I’ve never really liked anyone and I’m afraid of people.” It leads Harper to believe that everyone puts on their own facade. “It made me realize that we’re all just afraid of each other. There’s a deep social fear of judging, rejection and abandonment which is why people wear masks. At the same time, we create such detailed versions of ourselves to exist out in the world. If we didn’t wear these masks, we’d be too vulnerable.” You can tell that Harper didn’t hide behind anything while writing Movies though, she put her heart on the line on every single song.

“GFE” is a prime example. The song tells the story of a former flame, a narcissistic CEO. “There’s been a couple CEO’s,” she laughs. “That’s my type though, I like alpha bosses.” The second to last single on the EP, “Love My Darkness” was written after the death of her father. “I was really numb,” she says wearily. “I thought to myself, why can’t darkness be love?” So, that in turn set her off on a journey to figure out what her darkness was. “It’s all about balance,” she asserts.

Writing pop music has been her saving grace. “It’s a free legal drug. It’s really a healing art,” she says. She tells me that everyone lives in their own movies. “You don’t have to watch a movie to change your life, you can change your own focus and be in your own movie if you want.” According to her, there is no such thing as reality.

Right now, Harper is writing songs for her full length album in her Brooklyn apartment. “It’s all I do, everyday,” she says. She plans on revealing herself even more in her next album. “It’s the sexy and the vulnerability together, that’s the real part. I hope that’s what comes across in my music.”

Upcoming Tour Dates:

Nov. 14th – Cameo Gallery New York City, NY
Dec. 15th – Troubador Los Angeles, CA
Dec. 18th – Popscene, San Francisco, CA

Ashley Goodman

Ashley Goodman

Ashley Goodman is a music writer for Beatweek Magazine
Ashley Goodman

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