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This Mile Square Musician Just Released an EP

by Samantha Impaglia
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Tara Giancaspro — of the copious Hoboken Giancaspros — is a singer + songwriter that’s a Mile Square local. After discovering her love for making music during the pandemic, getting some inspiration for a song at 3AM, and then hearing herself sing it, she adopted the stage name Sweaty Lamarr and just recently released an EP. The Hoboken Girl had the chance to talk with Tara and her aspirations for the future. Read on to learn more about Tara (aka Sweaty Lamarr), her family, their Hoboken roots, and how her love for music came to be.

sweaty lamarr hoboken

(Photo credit: Evan Stiner)

Hoboken Girl: Where are you originally from? Where do you live now?

Sweaty Lamarr: My family first moved to Hoboken over 100 years ago, and my grandmother lived there for over 95 years. My dad was raised on Clinton Street, a block away from my grandfather’s auto body shop. Joe’s, as everyone knew it, was featured in the Sylvester Stallone movie Lock Up. I wasn’t born when this was filmed so I didn’t get to meet him to my chagrin, but I have a fantastic photo of my Gram flirting with him. I grew up in Hasbrouck Heights, really only known for being the hometown of Jason Biggs and our fire department burning down. I’m not kidding. Z100 talked about it for a week. My dad did the picket-fence life to raise my brother and me, and as the more obstinate child, I moved back to Hoboken the very second I could. Most of my cousins who were raised in the burbs did, too! I now live in my grandma’s apartment, which was bequeathed to me when she passed. I haven’t changed a single thing about her dining room, and never will.

HG: When did you realize you wanted to pursue a professional music career?

SL: God, I hope I get to do this professionally some day. For those of you who do not make music, you earn a shockingly meager amount of money for streaming royalties. Like maybe you can treat yourself to a bacon, egg, and cheese at O’Bagel once a month.

I started this whole music thang as a pandemic hobby gone woefully awry. I woke up with these lyrics in my head at 3AM, got up, emailed them to myself, and went back to sleep. The next morning, I woke up, looked at them, wondered what the hell I’d do with them, and then did the dumbest thing I’ve ever done: sing them out loud. Thus the curse was foisted upon me and I’ve been making music ever since.

Read More: This Hoboken Resident Plays Sax — Most Recently on RHONJ

HG: When did you start writing music? When did you start singing?

SL: I started in May 2020, taking virtual voice lessons with an incredible New Jersey-based opera singer named Chelsea Friedlander and lessons at the Guitar Bar.

HG: How did you come up with your stage name?

SL: The name is a riff on Hedy Lamarr, the classic actress, and brilliant inventor — she even paved the way for WiFi. In a way, this comes from my Hoboken family, and not just because I’m a sweaty Italian. My dad’s side is really into classic films; I have several saved voicemails from my grandmother telling me about this or that movie on TCM that she thought I’d like. I knew I didn’t want to use my real name because 1. No one outside of St. Francis Church knows how to pronounce it and 2. I wanted to set a boundary between my professional life and my personal one, as I do have my day job. That didn’t quite work because my boss demanded to hear my music and actually likes it — and now I feel bad keeping the explicit songs from him!

HG: Who are some musicians you look up to?

SL: I love my Jersey musicians. My parents are not Springsteen fans to the point where Springsteen was on the “do not play” list for the DJ at their wedding, and again, the obstinate child I am, I love Bruce and once waited four hours with a broken foot to see him at a meet and greet. I may or may not have cried when the Gaslight Anthem announced their reunion this year. Brian Fallon once promised to write out a lyric for me (I wanted to get a tattoo of his writing) on the condition, and he made me swear, that I’d never actually go through with it. I didn’t but I still have it written out and cherish that deeply. I love Titus Andronicus, I love Little Hag, I love Bruce. I said that already. It’s still true!

sweaty lamarr hoboken

(Photo credit: Evan Stiner)

HG: If you had to compare your music to another musician’s, whose would you compare it to?

SL: My first two singles are definitely evocative of Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus… especially since her bandmate Jacob Blizard produced them both. The EP features sounds inspired by everyone from Murder by Death to Meg & Dia to Taylor Swift to Radiohead, because my music taste is (so I’m told) staggeringly vast and bewildering. I have maybe 40 songs waiting in a Google Doc to be arranged and produced, and they seem to fit either that Phoebe Bridgers, atmospheric, deeply depressing vibe or very glammy, Harry Styles, Joan Jett kinda rock. I’m currently deciding which sound to go for next, and suggestions are welcome.

HG: What gave you the idea to write a song from Jolene’s perspective? Have you always been a big Dolly Parton fan?

SL: I always found this sequence of events fascinating: affair, mistress gets “chosen,” the dude doesn’t learn a goddamn thing or improve himself at all, winds up cheating, mistress is stunned at how this could have happened. I’ve actually seen this happen in real life, though very luckily not to me (I’m a mess but I’m not that bad). I started writing this song to dive into that perspective (thank you @imdatfeminist on Instagram for discussing relationships so bluntly and inspiring a lot of my thought and growth around them) and quite quickly realized that this could be a sequel to “Jolene.” A friend once told me that they wrote sequel songs, or responses to existing songs, as an exercise when they were out of ideas, and I have done a few of these in the past, but this is the first to get made. As someone who knows the struggle of sleeping with giant boobs and someone who wears a lot of eyeliner, I have always admired Miss Dolly Parton. But I did not grow up a country fan in the slightest — I was all pop and The Beatles as a kid. I developed my appreciation for country in college where I took a ton of electives on music history, including classic country. One of those classic country songs appears as a surprise cover on my EP (which was released on July 8th).

HG: Where do you hope to be in 10 years? What are your big musical aspirations?

SL: I mean, first of all, alive. We’re in a plague, there’s probably some mosquito entirely impervious to DEET on the horizon, I’m pale and rely on the meager ozone we have left to survive as it is, so who knows. Alive would be nice. (If not, please host my repast at the Saddle Brook Diner, thank you!) But within the next ten years, if a girl can dream… I’d love to be on a label so I don’t have to self-fund my releases, I’d love to be a guest on all of my favorite podcasts, I’d love to love my voice because at this stage I feel I never will, I hope to have a great band and not fall in love with the drummer (unlikely), and I hope that people feel seen and heard by the stories I write. I want the novel I’ve written to be published, and I want to be happy.

HG: What are some of your favorite local Hoboken spots?

SL: Fiore’s, number one. It’s the family business. My late uncle Vin worked at Fiore’s for decades, and every time I’m waiting in line with a baguette in hand I miss him handing me a little slice of mutz to try from over the counter. (My order, for the nosy: a roast beef and mozz with sundried tomatoes and gravy on the side, because I love the gravy but don’t want to be covered in it by the time I get home.)

I love Otto Strada, home of the entree meatball the size of your head, and I just tried the short-rib ravioli at Grand Vin and deeply recommend it. La Isla is one of my favorite restaurants in the world, and I love how distinct Uptown and Downtown feel from each other. Their Carne empanadas may be the surest proof of a higher power. I have bought so many CDs for my car at Tunes. You can very often find me walking the pier at night, especially as the summer is here and we have free movie nights and concerts to look forward to. The pier is my happy place.

See More: Meet Husband + Wife Bluegrass Singers Based in Montclair

HG: Have you ever performed live in Hoboken or Jersey City? If not, do you have plans to?

SL: I have not yet but I’d love to. Getting a band together is my big goal, even though I didn’t start my musical journey in time to play at Maxwell’s. I’d be quite, quite honored to play at Pet Shop sometime soon.

HG: Is there anything else you think our readers would like to know?

SL: I texted my friend Alyssa to let her know I landed this interview and she responded, “You’ve
made it!!!” This was a big deal for us! I’m so glad this platform exists.

You can check out Sweaty Lamarr’s EP on SpotifyDisclaimer: this is an explicit album + intended for mature audiences. 

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