10Qs with Ron Harrity of An Anderson, Honey Clouds, Peapod Recordings, and more!

Ron Harrity is the owner/operator of the record label Peapod Recordings, and the recording studio Forest City.  He was also a member of the defunct bands Harpswell Sound, and Honey Clouds.  Harrity’s current band, An Anderson, opens for Phantom Buffalo’s CD release at SPACE Gallery on Friday, March 8, along  with Video Nasties.
Ron Harrity and Yeti
Ron Harrity and Yeti

 

Where were you born?
On an army base outside of Seoul, Korea.

What brought you to Portland/Maine?
My friends Nathan Halverson and Kate Adams were living in Lewiston because Kate was teaching at Bates. I was living in Oakland, missed the east coast but didn’t want to go back to Baltimore. They thought I’d like Portland, and couldn’t have been more right.

Do you have a day job, and if so, what is it?
Yes, art director at Kemp Goldberg Partners. I’ve always balanced visual and audio work.

What was your most memorable gig?
This is a hard question, Stephen. The Honey Clouds “Cover The Forest” CD release at Space was probably my favorite show with those guys. We covered .38 Special’s “Hold On Loosely” and I remember being pretty happy with the guitar solo afterwards.More recently An Anderson played The Waldo’s final (?) show at Poland St, which was also super fun mostly because they’re one of my favorite local bands and the few people who were there had braved a blizzard for it.

What was your worst gig?
They’re all kind of weird to me in their own way. I used to have terrible stage fright, so the days before would be sort of preoccupying, usually culminating with some kind of physical sickness right before the show. I like to think I’ve relaxed into the process a bit.

What album or artist has most influenced you as a musician?
Although I don’t make music that sounds anything like his stuff, Dean Wareham and Galaxie 500 were a huge influence for me. Despite being sort of quiet and pretty, their records to me always felt kind of urgent to me. I walked past security backstage after a Luna set at the old 9:30 Club to have him sign his first solo 45. Both he and the band were gracious and unfazed at my fanboy stalking.

Other bands/musicians whose records I never (truly never) get tired of and can listen to every day include: The Verlaines, Bert Jansch, Anne Briggs, Big Star, US Maple, The Kinks, Bill Evans, Elmo Hope, Atlas Sound/Deerhunter, The Nation of Ulysses, etc..

What’s the one piece of musical equipment you can’t live without?
Gear is gear I think. You can be as tweaky as you want or are allowed to be (and I’m certainly guilty) but when it comes down to it you can make great music using whatever. That said I love my Echoplex EP3, an old tape delay. I got it because of the crazy sounds on Miles Davis’ Jack Johnson Sessions. Also I like Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickups for most any guitar.

Any advice for a musician starting out?
Be nice. I’m sure there are those that would argue this point, but I believe in the adage that you see the same people on the way up as on the way down. Or from side to side as the case may be. Also, relax and enjoy the process. Don’t let it become too much like work. Be open, playing with other musicians is always a compromise but you’ll come out of it with something you’d never be able to create on your own.

What’s the origin behind your band name?
An Anderson were invited to play at the Bunker/Tandem Christmas party but we didn’t have a name. We had a pretty big list going, and almost chose “Pants Mountain” but then Evan Parker said it sounded like a boner so we just used the name of the street we were playing on.

I named Peapod after the boat.

What’s your musical guilty pleasure?
I truly listen to everything, completely guilt-free. If you mean categorically “Embarrassing” music I might enjoy, I’m on board with the yacht rock genre (especially Gerry Rafferty and the Michael McDonald related stuff). I also listen to 99.9 The Wolf a fair amount. And everyone knows about my love for Jazz 105.1. They call it our community jazz station, but I know it as my eternal quiet storm. Anita Baker, Sade, Gregory Abbott, Billy Ocean. The best car listening. Join the facebook fan page I setup.

Stephen Quirk

Prior to landing his dream job at Automattic, Stephen served as Associate Director of a Boston-based non-profit overseeing the organization's technology, visual design, social networking, and event planning. For twelve years, he worked in the Technology Department at his alma mater, Maine College or Art.

Additionally, Stephen has exhibited his photography in Portland, Maine, Boston, and California. He lives just outside of Portland with his wife and two children.

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