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Interview: British Songwriter Ed Harcourt to Play 'Russian Roulette' at Bordello Bar This Monday

Ed Harcourt
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Although London-based multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt is hard at work recording his next album, he'll be playing a special one-night-only US gig at Bordello Bar on Monday night.

Ever since his Mercury Prize-nominated album debuted eight years ago, Harcourt's music has consistently balanced the dark with the light—rock and pop with instantly hummable depth. His most recent release, an EP called Russian Roulette, covers the emotional and musical gamut—from epic and haunting tracks to an upbeat piece he wrote about his newborn daughter. LAist spoke with Harcourt last Friday to get the scoop on the new album, his obsession with microphones, and the sea shanty writing process.

You've sometimes referred to yourself as a "collector of weird instruments." What’s the weirdest instrument on the EP?

Probably the musical saw. It's the instrument from Jack Nitzsche's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest soundtrack where it comes in and you hear that haunting sound—like a theremin—something weeping, but almost absurd at the same time. It's a lot of fun, but very difficult to play.

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You're currently recording at Bear Creek Studio in Washington, and you’ll soon be in LA. Do you take your collection of instruments with you when you travel abroad to record?

This time I just brought my old Fender Jazzmaster with me. I'm traveling light on this trip. I'm not sure how the TSA people would react to the saw!