Class Actress Plays the Role of Femme Fatale on Her Latest EP

The synthpop artist's Movies is a concept work, with her native Los Angeles serving as the backdrop.
Class Actress

For her latest EP titled Movies, Brooklyn, NY-based electropop musician Elizabeth Harper (a.k.a. Class Actress) recorded the music in Los Angeles, which is fitting since it’s the city where she’s originally from. Harper admits now that she didn’t know what was going on when as she was making the record there, since Movies was her debut release for major label subsidiary Casablanca Records—she had previously recorded for indie record companies.

“I was so green,” Harper says. “This guy was sitting next to me with these two dudes and he was trying to say something. And I’m like, ‘So am I here to help you work on your album?’ And the guy was like, ‘No, I’m here to help you.’ I didn’t even know how it all worked on a major label scale. So I didn’t understand what the purpose was at first. You know, I recorded everything in my apartment before. I felt like such a little country bumpkin now that I talk about it. I started doing the L.A. thing, writing sessions, and stuff like that.”

Movies, the follow-up to Class Actress’ 2011 full-length album Rapproacher, doesn’t sound like it was made by a ‘country bumpkin’ under DIY conditions. Rather, this six-song electronic dance pop EP is a very sleek, glossy and cinematic-sounding work of infectious beats and swirling soundscapes. With its underpinnings of romance, Movies is reflective of Harper’s own personal experiences in Los Angeles with its Hollywood glamour and dark underbelly.

“I don’t think that the content of what I’m writing about is really that different from anything I’ve ever written about,” she explains, “kind of all the same dark side: love, rejection, am I there yet, desire, how do I get closer. I thought to myself, ‘I’m called Class Actress. I think this time around I’m gonna really show people the reason this is my reality’… taking it back home, taking it to Hollywood.’ Because this is a story that has been done a hundred times — it’s like a classic story. It’s not about showing it in a new light. I think it was just about framing it differently.”

Given her background as a synthpop/dance-pop artist, it seemed like a no-brainer that Class Actress would sign with Casablanca, the storied label that put out many of Donna Summer’s classic ’70s disco hits. With that in mind, it equally made sense that Harper reached out to legendary producer Giorgio Moroder, who collaborated with Summer on those hits. Moroder and Evan Bogart (son of Casablanca’s late founder Neil Bogart) executive-produced Movies, with Moroder himself producing the very Euro-styled dance track on the EP called “High on Love”.