Tarah Who? you may ask; and the answer is a band which takes a bite of the senses while igniting the imagination with their punk infused and inventively hungry rock ‘n’ roll. The project of French born and LA based vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Tarah G. Carpenter, Tarah Who? is a band really beginning to entice wide spread awareness with a sound which simply demands attention. We had the pleasure to chat with Tarah (TGC), bassist Matt Peltcher (MP), and drummer Paul Costanza (PC) about the band, its beginnings, inspirations, their latest release and more…
Hello guys and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.
Hi! Thank YOU for your interest in Tarah Who?
Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how you all came together?
TGC: I started writing songs when I was 15. It was not something I thought of doing seriously, I enjoyed playing the drums or bass in different bands better. As I moved to the States, it became more personal, I started writing more and more and taught myself the guitar.
Over the years, the writings became songs. I recorded a few demo songs, playing the drums, bass and guitar. Met people that were interested in the project and helped record my first album more professionally. Then I looked for musicians to play those songs with, and it became Tarah Who?
I have played with a lot of people, in France and in the US. I met Paul through a friend, and Matt through an ad.
MP: Well I met the band after answering an ad. I loved the music and we hit it off.
Have you been involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?
TGC: Yes I am always playing drums or bass on different projects. I also like to write other styles than for Tarah Who?
Playing for other people or in different bands is like taking a little break. I don’t like to play in bands that sound similar to Tarah Who?. It stays in the genre of Rock but it’s usually a different type of Rock.
PC: Nope, this is my first band.
MP: I have been in other bands and I guess the continued love of playing music inspires what I do now.
What inspired the band name?
TGC: The band name is an accident. It was the subject of an email I had sent to my band mates at the time.
Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?
TGC: I am very picky with my musicians. I didn’t mean to be a three piece band. It just happened. I am looking for a guitar player, but it is not a priority. I think we sound good as we are, and until we find someone who fits to our sound and personalities, we don’t have to rush things.
I like our sound to be simple, raw, and full of energy. Plug in and play.
Play with our emotions, more than a bunch of different sounds and effects. It is important that the musicians i play/work with, understand the emotions/story behind each song.
Do the same core essences still drive the band?
TGC: I have grown as a writer; I have been inspired by different events and people, so I think our music has changed a little. We are “angrier” in sounds.
When I started recording, I was influenced a lot by “producers” or other people I have worked with. I didn’t dare to say or talk about ideas I did not like or directions I didn’t want to take. Today, I do it all on my own, which makes everything easier and more satisfying. 🙂
PC: The sound has gotten a lot more angry.
Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?
TGC: I don’t think this far. I write the songs and arrange them until I like them. I do it for myself and because it makes sense TO ME! I don’t follow structures or anything like that.
I write a song. If I like it, I keep it, if I don’t I move on to something else. It is as simple as that.
If I try new things, it is an accident because I am not into effects and new technologies.
Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?
TGC: Yes. I don’t remember if it was an interview that I have seen or read about The Distillers, but Brody has mentioned once that The Distillers wrote albums in two weeks. (I hope I am not distorting her words) Anyhow, that is what I remember.
We all have different ways of expressing ourselves through art, some people take months to write or paint others just do it.
I don’t think there is ONE way to do things, and I don’t think there is a formula either. When Brody said that about the Distillers, it resonated in me because I have never experienced the whole “writing for ever” thing. If anything it supported my way of writing or making art. I have noticed that a lot of people don’t know when to stop while creating. Most of the time, the simplest songs are the best songs.
Is there a particular method to your songwriting?
TGC: When I write, I feel inspired. It is really hard to describe but it is almost like I am somewhere else. (I don’t get high!) This feeling usually lasts a few minutes (maybe 10-15 min) when it is gone, I am done. I can’t go back to it. This is where my writing (or painting) is done. I don’t read back or I don’t paint back on it ever again. I don’t push my writing either. I believe in emotions, not perfection.
PC: I don’t write anything. Tarah writes it and I play it.
MP: Tarah writes the songs and we just basically hammer them out in the studio until they sound just right.
Where do you, more often than not, draw inspirations for your lyrics?
TGC: Events, people, my perception of situations, imagination.
I often look at a situation and just reflect on it on a piece of paper and that is the song!
My lyrics are just ideas and or emotions I need to let out.
Can you give us some background to your latest release?
TGC: Let’s see… Our latest EP is called Federal Circle of Shame. It is available on ITunes.
What I love about this EP is that it is as RAW as it can get!
The drummer Jo Ko, is just a beast behind the drums, Nicolas Bazin played the Bass VI which is an instrument I own that I literally just put in his hands and said “Figure it out!”, Ash played the bass and did some backing vocals, my really good friend Angie (Under The Skin) improvised some backing vocals and I played the guitar and sang. The sound engineer (Titi) and I got along really well, which made everything go really smooth. We recorded five songs in one day, live.
It was my best recording experience so far. Everyone was really into it, focused and just very talented!
We improvised a lot and had a great time!
Please give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.
TGC: There isn’t one theme. Due to the lack of time and finances, we couldn’t record the full album. I picked 5 songs out of the 13 that I wanted to record. We practiced them for a couple weeks until we were ready to go in the studio and record them. I could only afford one day of studio. so we HAD to make it happen!
Cough Drop is the realization that we take everything (including our health) for granted.
Someone Else Will is about letting go of the feelings you have for someone who doesn’t see you the way you see them.
Kids of Ireland: on my last trip to Ireland, I ran into a lot of young adults that were either really high or begging for money to get high. It made me really sad.
Bitchcraft: talks about obsessing over someone you don’t want to!
14 Months is about the media, and a specific headline about a mother drowning her 14 months old baby.
Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?
TGC: I pre-record the album a couple times before I go in the studio, to make sure I know what to play and what I like.
I have never been in the studio for more than a week, so I usually don’t have time or money to develop or try anything new!
I like to come prepared.
In a different project, I wouldn’t mind, developing or exploring. I don’t think Tarah Who? is that kind of project. There is always a little bit of improvisation in a way, with drum fills, or for instance Nicolas that I just let free to play whatever he wanted with the Bass VI or Ash and Angie who didn’t even know that they were going to sing that day! I gave them the lyrics and told them to go out there and sing! So in a way we developed that on the spot, but the songs were structured and already recorded.
Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?
MP: Playing live is the best high energy fun you can have. Our fans get really excited about our live performances.
TGC: Live shows are always really fun…especially if our fans know the songs and lyrics. I love to see people let go and dance! We like to entertain, so when we see that people are having a good time, we are really happy.
It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?
MP: Absolutely nothing is easy but there is nothing I’d rather be doing. Hard work and tenacity is the road to success, don’t sweat the small stuff. There are always opportunities especially in “our neck of the woods”.
TGC: Playing live is easy. Anyone could play live if they wanted to. What isn’t easy is getting the attention for bigger, better and more.
There are a lot of opportunities. You’ll find in time which ones fit your project and desires. We don’t all want the same things for our music careers. The opportunities are there, look where it fits you.
How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?
MP: Consistency is the key to making social media work for you. It’s definitely an advantage to reach out to your fans with a click.
TGC: Social media is great to make new contacts, keep updating our fans, meet more and new fans etc… I think it is definitely increasing our success as we can book shows in different cities and expect people to show up, because they follow our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook page.
Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add?
Yes, check out our new music video and stay tuned for the upcoming album!
The RingMaster Review 25/11/2016
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