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Harvard raises the bar at Legends

Article Published: Dec. 1, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Harvard raises the bar at Legends


It's Ivy League, sort of.

"I like to think of it as a person's name," Jesse Clasen said. "But you can't get away from the association to the university."

Or the words the institution brings to mind: Prestige, power.

"For me, the music makes the name," Clasen said.

Not the other way around.

Bring in Harvard.

It's loud. It's post hardcore. It's punky and makes it impossible to stand still, and it's coming to Legends Friday.

It's an experimental education for your eardrums and, according to Clasen, a sound the mountains helped carve. Clasen, a 2008 graduate of Appalachian State University, still feels the Boone vibe.

"I am inspired a lot by visual things," he said. "Especially Boone in general, staying in the woods. I lived toward Tennessee on 421, on one of the Old Bristol Roads ... and just the whole scene of winter and being in that environment has inspired a lot of my music."

And, even though the band is based in his new home of Charlotte, you can see what he's talking about in the quiet moments that surround the fast paced chorus of songs like "Memory Police."

The writing process? It's all about collaboration.

"Something sort of small," he said. "It may be the foundation for a song. I'll give it to the other guys (Lee Herrara, Jason Shaw, Tim Cosser and Garrett Leister), and then it sounds almost completely different aside from the melodies."

For Clasen, who you might remember from Boone-based Defending Brooklyn (Split Rail Records), writing music isn't just a hobby. It's his life. Along with being Harvard's vocalist, Clasen just released a solo album ( and is working on a jazz album with his brother.

"I'm in the music mindset, living in Charlotte," he said.

The Raleigh-bred musician is also working on Harvard's yet-to-be-recorded sophomore album and prepping for the band's East Coast tour with the Sleeping that starts Dec. 10.

"We're trying to do as much as we can," Clasen said. "The coming year will be pretty busy for us, as we try to build a strong fan base."

For now, he's just happy to be part of a band he calls truly a "joint effort," one as original as its members.

If you see the tour van this weekend, tiptoe.

"Our guitarist (Jason Shaw), he will not sleep in anyone's house," he said. "When we're on tour, he will sleep in the van."

No one will be able to sleep (or sit down) during their fast paced show Friday, Dec. 3, at Legends.
Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $4 for students in advance and $6 at the door and for guests. BYOB six-pack limit. Lights Resolve ( will open. For more information on Harvard, visit

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