"I like to inspire confidence. I feel people are too self-aware and worried about their looks or their gut or whatever and I feel if I go onstage and go 'who gives a fu*k?' it really inspires people and helps them throw those inhibitions out the door." Bye Bye 17 by Har Mar Superstar was written in New York City and recorded in Austin, TX. The ten songs, a departure from his previous work, are soulful glimpses into a world of hedonism and heartache, magically embedded in a 3rd generation VHS tape. Poised to break free from the claustrophobic confines of the underground club scene, and after many years of wild shows and after-hours adventures with strangers, Har Mar Superstar will soon be touring extensively to support his strongest record yet.
Sean Tillmann named his flamboyant alter-ego after the Har Mar mall in suburban St. Paul, MN where he spent his youth watching movies and writing songs about passers-by in the food court. "Har Mar Superstar used to be a different person, it used to be my excuse to get away with the more fantastic things in life... it was easier to get onstage as this other guy and be outrageous and have it be glorified. I guess the confidence I got from being Har Mar Superstar translated into my real life so now we're one and the same."
For this new LP, Tillmann was inspired by the excitement and the isolation of New York City, and crafted the songs for Bye Bye 17 there, occasionally collaborating with writers like Fab Moretti ('Prisoner'), Kelly Gately ('Rhythm Bruises'), and Ryan Olson ('We Don't Sleep'), before deciding to permanently relocate to the East Coast from Los Angeles. "Just walking around NY and seeing people constantly being together alone is, I think, a huge influence on the whole record. I was influenced by the city in general because I wrote most of the songs here before I even lived here. And I just didn't want to leave, that's why I moved. It's a very New York record." Tillmann co-produced the tracks with Jim Eno (Spoon) at his Austin studio with a full live band, before finishing work and remixing the album at Cult Records' New York studios. Focusing this time more on his voice, Tillmann says, "I was listening to a lot of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke at the time, and I've always been obsessed with those guys... 'Restless Leg', 'We Don't Sleep', 'Prisoner' and 'Rhythm Bruises' came out of people playing together. But the rest were just like me in a room, gettin' weird, by myself."