(Today’s post is the second in a series of 4 posts containing original interviews with the members of chiptune rock band I Fight Dragons as they geared up for the release of their new album, “The Near Future”, due out December 9 of 2014. Interviews were conducted primarily through email, with supplemental information provided via telephone. This second post focuses on Hari Rao, bassist and puzzling prankster.)
Hari knew at a very young age that rock and roll would be fun. He recalls, “I’d bang on pots and pans pretending to be Tommy Lee, lip synch some Bruce Dickinson lyrics, and mimic Eddie Van Halen on air guitar. Come to think of it, pretending to play the bass guitar is probably not very common. And that’s actually how I came to choose the bass when I bought my first instrument – no one else I knew wanted to play it, which made me a bit of a commodity in the basement music scene of my youth.” The ability to enjoy a less glorious and somewhat workhorse role within a band has served Hari well in I Fight Dragons; other band members, including the front man, Brian, appreciate Hari’s sturdy support, and Hari knows how to keep himself amused…
In the band’s blog material, Hari comes across as a bit of a trickster. The post on February 21 of this year, for example, showcases Hari stealing chocolate from Packy, lead guitarist. Hari explains that pranks were especially important to him over the Vans Warped tour this past summer: “As much as we love performing, in some ways tour life can get a bit monotonous at times. Little things like inside jokes/schemes/pranks help keep everyday life on tour interesting.” But Brian warns that some of Hari’s material can end up puzzling other members of the band. (Apparently during the Vans Warped tour Hari did a running gag of stashing musical instruments in band members’ bunks that was hilarious more because Hari really enjoyed it than for its own sake.) Hari does manage to crack himself up consistently, and some of his jokes can be pretty good. When asked whether it was a good idea to buy The Near Future on vinyl as opposed to a digital copy, he quipped, “I’m not much of a salesman but I can build a pretty mean Excel spreadsheet. You need only enter in a few variables in rows 2 through 6 in column B and I’m sure the results of the built-in algorithm will suggest that buying a copy of the vinyl is in your best interest.”
Hari claims that his life outside of the band isn’t all that interesting. He enjoys craft beers, good food, and movies. He likes to play pool and watch football with Chad. Brian confirms that unlike Chad, who steps behind the scene professionally but is more of a social butterfly personally, Hari “actually is shy and quiet,” and lives up to the stereotype of the bassist not wanting to speak for the band. Brian explains that Hari’s nickname in the band is “Sniper”, because in conversation he’ll be super-quiet until he can deliver the perfect line completely out of left field. He also notes that Hari originally wanted the nickname “Machine Gun” but got shouted down: “You can’t pick your own nickname!”
Brian is happy that Hari has been getting bolder on stage. Hari sang third part harmony during the Vans Warped tour, which was a big deal for him. He also has been enjoying the warm connections between the band and their fan base. “Our fans are creative, talented, and show so much enthusiasm to get involved with the band that they are constantly pulling on our heart strings. From the amazing artwork they share with us on the Advance Guard site to the crafts they so thoughtfully make and bring to the shows… it’s a community spirit.” When asked about the delays in the production of The Near Future, Hari was realistic: “the kinds of things that cause delays aren’t things you can really plan for. When these circumstances arise, you just have to decide what is best for the music, the fans, and the band. Unfortunately, sometimes it means going back to the drawing board. The end result is worth it.” Speaking of the end result, you can still order The Near Future online if you aren’t waiting for your copy to be shipped as a Kickstarter backer!