Guitars and Lightsabers: HRVRD

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The influence of Star Wars on a generation of filmmakers is well-documented. But George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away has also inspired creators in other arts, including music. In Guitars and Lightsabers, a new series on the Star Wars Blog, musicians discuss the impact that Star Wars has had on their lives and their work. In today’s installment, Jason Shaw and Garrett Leister of HRVRD discuss what Star Wars means to them.

Jason Shaw: Few words have lasted as long in my life as “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” The first time I ever saw The Empire Strikes Back I couldn’t have been more than four or five years old and to this day, at the age of 29, I think I can close my eyes and recount every minute of that movie.  As a child it impacted me with immense enchantment, yet as I carried that enchantment through my adolescence and teenage years I began to evaluate the huge weight that this movie carried with me. That one simple line of dialogue, “There is no try,” spoken by a small green “alien” with pointy ears probably rings in my ears every day of my life. I could literally apply those words to every worry, frustration, anxiety, or challenge I’ve ever had in my life. I’m actually certain that with every challenge I’ve had, the first image that popped into my head was Yoda looking at me with a blank gaze just waiting for me to do something productive and positive to better my situation.

My interpretation of Yoda’s famous phrase is that any individual has the potential to overcome any obstacle no matter how large or small. I don’t mean to sound negative when I say it, but life is definitely hard. Everyone has frustrations and challenges, but making the choice to move forward and use a challenge to your advantage to grow in some way may be the most positive thing a human being could ever do for themselves.

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Garrett Leister: Like Jason, the inspiring Yoda quote made quite a lasting impression on me. The imaginative depth of new universes and interesting characters, as well as the unbelievable amount of creativity that shined through the journey of the original trilogy, is what has impacted me to this day. Thinking back to my childhood years, Star Wars was the first thing I can remember that inspired me to think creatively and it is the sole reason I am obsessed with science fiction and fantasy. It requires a unique mind to create. My father let me watch the trilogy when I was around four years old and my earliest memory was being especially attached to Return of the Jedi and watching it on repeat. As a kid, scenes like Jabba’s Palace and the Battle of Endor were the coolest things I had ever seen. As I got older, my attachment shifted to The Empire Strikes Back. Understanding more of the greater struggle between good and evil, the inspiring message to overcome your fears, and the love story between Han and Leia are why the movie remains my favorite today.

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In HRVRD, we have spacey and atmospheric elements in our sound and we like to make music that encourages the listener to be creative and use their mind to paint pictures. For me, it’s like the inspiration Star Wars gave me as a child to think differently. I truly am influenced by everything about Star Wars, down to one of the most recognizable film scores in movie history by John Williams. I am 25 years old, I have three Star Wars tattoos,  I still collect Star Wars memorabilia from vinyl to Pez dispensers, and I will forever be a Star Wars fanatic.

HRVRD’s new, sophomore full-length record — From The Bird’s Cage — is available now. The Charlotte, NC-based band will be on tour all summer long, performing alongside their Equal Vision Records’ labelmates Say Anything, Eisley, I the Mighty, and Northern Faces. All upcoming tour dates and more information on HRVRD can be found at hrvrdmusic.com or facebook.com/hrvrdmusic.

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