NEW MUSIC: Dance/Funk Rockers Carlyle Release New Single "Seaweed"
By: Lucas Hanrahan
Rock Eden recently caught up with 2017 Levee Battle of The Bands winner and wildly entertaining funk band Carlyle to get an inside glimpse into their processes, inspiration, and what to expect next from this ambitious trio.
Rock Eden: Carlyle is one of St. John’s hardest working bands and a frequent performer in the provincial music scene. What are some of your most memorable shows to date?
Jake: Our goal has always been to make people dance and have a good time at our shows, so anytime we are able to achieve that at one of our performances, we are content with how the show went. One show that personally stands out to me is an all-ages show we played at The Rocket Room above Rocket Bakery. It was a fundraiser we were asked to play with proceeds going to help Syrian refugees. The atmosphere was incredible, everyone was sober, because of the fact that it was all-ages and we were playing to a bunch of high schoolers who actually appreciated the music and were there to listen and take everything in - much different from the bar scene that we were used to.
Brian: For me, it would have to be the Make Mean Everything farewell show. I would say it was one of the first shows that really helped us get our foot in the door in the St. John's music scene, and on top of that, it was with my all-time favourite local band.
RE: You have been working on a full-length album. The first single is “Seaweed”. Why did you choose to release this as the first single?
Jake: We chose Seaweed to be our first single because it has some epic dancy elements, but it also has the most mainstream appeal. We feel that it would be beneficial to promote the heck outta this song to widen our audience range and get radio play before the album is released.
RE: Each artist has their own creative process which often results in some very interesting stories. Can you walk us through the process of the song's composition?
Jake: The song [Seaweed] was written probably a year and a half ago now. It started out as an instrumental jam that we had. Brian was playing the main guitar part one day on an acoustic and I just heard this bass line and played it on the nearest instrument I could find, which just so happened to be a ukulele! We played it a bunch in the following weeks until I sat down and wrote some words and melody over it. The development of this song from where it first began to where it is now is substantial. When we sat down in the studio and listened to it from a different standpoint, we re-wrote the second verse, added a bunch of vocal stuff to the bridge, and added a crazy guitar part.
RE: What is the meaning behind the song "Seaweed"?
Jake: This song was written about growing up. I personally wrote the lyrics reflecting on an experience I had when I felt like I was at the point where I had lost my inner child. You know that time when you wake up the next morning feeling like you had done something crazy for the first time the night before, feeling badass or regretful, but also feeling a little nostalgic of who you used to be? You feel changed. You feel like you had lost a touch of your innocence, and you feel like you are a totally new person all because of that one thing; may it be losing your virginity, getting in a fight and giving someone a bloody nose, experimenting with drugs/alcohol, or even something so much as skipping school for the first time! We all have that experience of feeling like you’ve let go of your childhood and are ready to take on a new “you”. Growing up is difficult, but learning from those experiences and the mistakes is what this song is all about! It’s getting past the hurdles that make us who we are, and I’ve always loved that way of thinking and planning out your future paths based on your personal experiences.
RE: Is there any overlaying themes to the album? What does this record represent personally to you?
Brian: Coming up with the final track listing for the album, we realized that there wasn't really one coherent theme that persisted throughout, actually it was quite the opposite. This album is a collection of songs that we've written together over the last 4 years; some old, some new.
Jake: We are looking at this album kind of like an art gallery/exhibit; It is a collection of work that we have been compiling over our time as a band, and though each song has its own feel and emotion put into it, it is still done by the same artist and fits on the same wall that we want to the public to see (hear) and appreciate in its own unique, yet fitting way.
RE: What artists have been the biggest influences throughout the creation of your album?
Jake: Vocally, I derive a lot of my melodies from bands such as Fall Out Boy and Kings of Leon, which I never really noticed until it was pointed out to me. For bass, the last few months I’ve been obsessed with admiring bassists such as Joe Dart of Vulfpeck and Michael League of Snarky Puppy. They serve their purpose and really know how to be proper bassists. But I guess the people who really influenced me and pushed me to be the best I can be are Brian and Dan. Those guys are such incredible musicians and I spend so much of my time just trying to keep up that it makes me sit at home and practice for hours and hours and want to be up to their level of musicianship.
Brian: [For me] John Frusciante immediately comes to mind whenever anyone asks me about my influences. But, seeing as how this took so long to come together, plenty of other artists have managed to find their way in there. Definitely Aaron Marshall, Conor Oberst, John Butler, and of course MC Snax, just to name a few.
RE: How does the creative process of a new song begin for Carlyle?
Brian: When being creative with multiple people in the context of songwriting, it's hard to give you a decisive answer as to how the process beings. It's a collection of many different processes that yield the same result. Sometimes one of us brings up an idea that we've been working on independently, or we'll just be jamming together and something will stick. Though, with the inclusion of Dan, our writing process has started to drastically change. Prior to him, songs usually started with some melodic line, but as of lately it seems we've been writing more from the “ground up”.
RE: What changes do you notice in your songs during the translation from live to studio performances?
Jake: By actually sitting back from a listener’s point of view we can see what fits and what doesn’t. This also allows us to single out each part and work through them separately to make them fit with the rest of the song better.
Brian: The biggest struggle during our time spent recording the album was trying to capture the energy from our live performances in the recordings. We've had to re-track the songs many times because they just didn't feel right, something was missing. There's also been some subtle and drastic reworking of the songs compared to our live performance.
RE: What’s next? What can fans anticipate from Carlyle in the coming months?
Brian: We've been working tirelessly to get this album finished and out to the world. We want it to be perfect and aren't willing to compromise the quality of the album to rush towards imaginary deadlines!
Jake: We have a lot planned. A lot that we cannot discuss... BUT, I can tell you this; we have very very big plans coming soon and we are not holding back. We intend to break into the NL scene and climb our way up the latter and spread the funk as far and wide as we possibly can.