Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Jarvis Anderson Of Iglu & Hartly

Artwork for “Cheetah.” Courtesy of Earshot Media.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

Sometimes, you can pick back up right where you left off with something, no matter how much time has passed.

Such was the case for Los Angeles’ Iglu & Hartly, who triumphantly returned from a 10-year hiatus at the 2019 Hermosa Beach Summer Series Festival and recently mesmerized the alt-pop rock scene once again with comeback singles “Cooler” and “Cheetah” and promptly found themselves in the top 5 on the World Famous KROQ.

Although probably best known for 2009 global hit “In This City,” “Cheetah” brings just as much fun, as the energetic song was independently released and co-produced by Mark Needham (The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Walk The Moon) and came a long way from an idea that singer/producer Jarvis Anderson had in 2017 with alternative rockers Night Riots to turn into what he effectively called “the story” of Iglu & Hartly.

The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with Anderson about what they’ve been up to lately and more.

Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music? 

Jarvis Anderson – The thing that excites me about our style is that it is surprising. When I sit down to produce these tracks, I not only want to use a crazy mix of genres, but also make sure the choruses have that “come out of nowhere” pop. I think we got there with “Cheetah,” but that’s for you all to decide!

Music Bugle – What made you want to release “Cheetah” as a single?

Jarvis Anderson – “Cheetah” was always a contender in my mind ever since the bones of the song came together in a writing session with the band Night Riots a few years back. It always screamed, “Iglu & Hartly” to me, because the chorus was so uplifting and positive. It also sounded like something off a classic Toto record. Indeed, the timeless feel of that chorus really made me want to release “Cheetah” as our second single. The verses then started shaping into a personal story of our band’s 10-year hiatus, culminating in us getting back together for a reunion show in Hermosa Beach right before the pandemic. Also, original Iglu & Hartly vocalist Dave Bantz came by and recorded some great backup vox! Once all these elements clicked, it had to fly!

Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians? 

Jarvis Anderson – This is a very good question that a lot of us always ponder. Social media’s presence definitely dictates what portion of musicians that will succeed in the modern world. Now, musicians have to be “on” everyday and be sociable, posting once a day at least and answering fans at any moment. I think the isolated and introverted musicians that have contributed to the musical landscape so much in the past now have a much harder path forward.

Music Bugle – What inspired the idea for the “Cheetah” music video? 

Jarvis Anderson – I wanted the “Cheetah” video to show both the serious side and playful sides of the song. The most obvious thing to talk about is the animal costumes, which I thought set the tone for a fun “fish out of water” concept, but I also wanted to give credence to the serious side of the track too. We used locations that were important to us – El Porto Beach, in the South Bay of LA, has these looming smokestacks from the power plant and were a perfect backdrop for the serious content of the verses. We also ran in our costumes on a track at an aviation park that’s a favorite jogging spot of bassist Mike Bucher. The first vision of the video I had was us in animal costumes, running on a high school track. My buddy and cinematographer Vincent Dale came through with his old school VHS camera and really nailed the vibe. 

Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise? 

Jarvis Anderson – Really digging my friends in The New Twentys, The Foster The People track “All About You,” The Neighbourhood and a lot of random 60’s music, because that is what we are playing on long car rides with my baby daughter, Kennedy.

Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Jarvis Anderson – I have been fortunate enough to have not lost any loved ones or anything like that. I have a newfound respect for our freedoms of daily life. Not being able to do the things we take for granted , like go to shows, movies, out to restaurants etc., really makes me appreciate how amazing we have it during regular times. We are getting back to normal currently and with each step we take, I am grateful. During the pandemic, I took the time to focus on my new family and also dive into a musical journey, which I am so excited to share! “Cheetah” is, of course, a piece of that journey.

Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from? 

Jarvis Anderson – I am from Park Ridge, Illinois. In this small suburb right outside Chicago, I had a pretty classic middle America upbringing. Lots of time outside with friends, skateboarding and getting into mischief. I would say I’m most proud of the midwestern values that this town instilled in me. Being friendly and warm to strangers and appreciating the importance of community are a couple things that come to mind.

Music Bugle – What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 

Jarvis Anderson – “Don’t bore us..get to the chorus!” (Laughs) One of my great musical influences, Tom Petty, said that, I’m pretty sure. I don’t actually always use that rule myself, but it is actually very sound advice to any songwriter that wants people to enjoy their tunes.

Music Bugle – What do you hope for from the rest of 2021?

Jarvis Anderson – In the bigger picture, I hope that people around the world find their footing again after the pandemic and that we all rise as a stronger, more compassionate world community. Personally, I hope more people get back in touch with Iglu & Hartly that have enjoyed our tunes in the past and rediscover us. I am looking forward to putting out more new music for the fans.

Music Bugle – What has been your proudest accomplishment so far? 

Jarvis Anderson – I think my biggest accomplishment has been raising my baby daughter with her awesome momma! Musically, playing the Isle of Wight Festival back in 2009 was a highlight and milestone. That was an incredibly magical day, where we felt so much love – and what a crowd! Of course, I cant leave out our reunion show in Hermosa Beach in 2019 that brought us back on stage for the first time in 10 years. As the sunset over the water and the last notes of our song “In This CIty” rang out… nothing could be better. Here’s to many more years of music!  

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