The Asthmatic is the nom de plume of Sigrid Harmon, who has been performing around Portland since 2013. In addition to her main project, she recently joined Thomas Shadis (aka Father Spatter) of The Doug Quaids for a short collaboration. After playing three times as 4 Star China Taste, they disbanded, but not before recording and releasing six songs on an album called What Happens in The Dark.
- Where were you born?
I was born in Boston, MA.
- What brought you to Portland?
I relocated here in 2008 with my parents, I was still in elementary school.
- Do you have a day job and, if so, what is it?
My day job is writing music, as I’ve just graduated from high school. If anyone’s got a music-related job they’d like to hire me for, I’m all ears.
- What was your most memorable gig?
The most memorable gig was when I played with my band at the time, Metal Sideburns, at Zero Station… It was wall to wall kids and teens because we’d made it under 18. Portland’s filled to the brim with 21+ venues, so we took over Zero Station for the night just for the kids.
- What was your worst gig?
The worst gig was at Yankee Lanes with Metal Sideburns. No one was there, we didn’t know our stuff at all, and there was a smoke machine at the far end of the place. It barely puffed out any smoke, and when it did it would evaporate when it got 10 feet in front of us.
- What album or artist has most influenced you as a musician?
Bjork’s Vespertine is a masterpiece… I want to reach that level.
- What’s the one piece of musical equipment you can’t live without?
I create my backing tracks ahead of time when it comes to performing, as I want to focus more on my voice and the acting side of it. I can go without any sort of equipment… except my albuterol. I can walk in a place and just do an a cappella set because my voice is loud… I may be The Asthmatic, but I’ve got pipes.
- Any advice for a musician starting out?
Advice? Check out bands you’ve never heard of before, talk to people at gigs, don’t leave before a show is over. That’s rude, and the other bands and/or the venue won’t want to book you again.
- What was the origin behind your name?
I’m called The Asthmatic because I AM an asthmatic. I was born with chronic lung disease.
- What’s your musical guilty pleasure?
I listen to “…Baby One More Time” and “Oops I Did It Again” by Britney Spears on repeat… a lot.
- What was the first album/recording you owned?
The first LP I ever bought was T. Rex’s The Slider. It’s stuck with me to this day.
- What are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Plasmatics, Angel Haze, Lady Sovereign, t.A.T.u., The Wipers, The Cigarettes (UK), MC Lyte, The Lady of Rage, Lydia Lunch, Daisy Chainsaw, and Diamanda Galas.
- What was the best concert/musical performance you’ve attended?
On June, 24th of 2016 I saw Sleep at the State Theater… You could feel the sound vibrating your bones. I was at the front, and one of the security guys had bottles of water near him. He’d walk up and down in a line pouring water in everyone’s mouths. The show was wet, I remember a lot of sweat.
Additionally, Stephen has exhibited his photography in Portland, Maine, Boston, and California. He lives just outside of Portland with his wife and two children.