Tarah Who? is an independent band founded by Tarah G. Carpenter. She set off to document her experience of the genesis of the band, how she met her band mates Coralie Hervé (drums) and Joey Southern (bass), and the ways in which she navigates life as a committed musician. The pilot of this docu-series introduces you to Tarah’s view of the independent music industry and the subsequent episodes will delve deeper into the use of social media, women in music around the world, as well as interviews with other artists and bands. We caught up with Tarah Who to find out more about what they are working on and their music.
Tarah G. Carpenter (TGC° : Vocals, Guitar
Joey Southern (JS): Bass, Backing Vocals
Coralie Hervé (CH): Drums Backing Vocals
TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM/ PROJECT?
TGC: We have just released a new Ep last March 8th 2019. It is the first EP with this line-up. Joey had barely joined the band, we went on tour, Coralie and I totally loved Joey's bass playing, behavior on tour, and overall company. When we got back I asked him if he would record the bass with us and stay in the band. Luckily he said yes, and it has been a trip ever since.
"64 Women" was recorded in 2 places. We first recorded the drums at Thomas Lang's studio. Coralie got to play on Thomas's DW drums and Meinl Cymbals, which was a blast! We moved the tracks to Jason Orme's studio in Hollywood to record the bass, guitars and backing vocals. I have had the chance to play on Jason's vintage guitars and amps. For the backing vocals, our friend Matt Houdini joined us the last day of recording for some screams. Good times! It took longer than expected because if we were not on tour, Jason was on tour with Alanis Morissette. but we eventually made it happen and we are really happy with the results.
WHAT INSPIRED ANY CENTRAL THEMES ON THE ALBUM?
TGC: No central themes, ever in our releases. I write my thoughts, perceptions and feeling.. Each Ep is part of a moment or chapter in my life maybe, but there is not one topic per release.
"64 Women" has 5 songs: 'Numb Killer' is about the terrorist attacks in Manchester for instance, 'Hurt' talks about a betrayal and 'linger' is a drums song about boredom... so.. Not really related. The only thing in common is that they were all true emotions felt at one point, songs are personal and autobiographical.
HOW LONG DID YOU SPEND RECORDING?
TGC: So for a 5 track ep, I am used to a day or a weekend at most!
This ep.. because of our different schedules mentioned earlier, we started in January 2018 before Thomas Lang went on tour. Then I went to Europe, we recorded the bass with our previous bass player. Started the guitar. Previous bass player quit the band, find Joey like an angel who drops from the sky, 10 days before going on a west coast tour with our friends DRY CAN. Asked Joey if he wanted to be a permanent member of TW? and if so, we should re-record the bass lines because it would make more sense to release an ep with the current line-up. Jason is on tour with Alanis, we have to wait until he comes back, he comes back, we schedule the bass and the backing vocals. We go on an east coast tour, we come back, Jason is on a Euro tour, he comes back, we finally get the mix done. Fiuuuu... It almost took us a year to get it all done! IN-SANE. Our next ep will not take this long for sure!
HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT THE SONGWRITING PROCESS?
TGC: I write the songs, music and lyrics. I started the band 13 years ago, so from experience, I know that it works better this way. Luckily, I am dealing with professional musicians who understand this! I write the songs, then I make demos where I play all of the instruments. I don't write or read music so it is easier for me to just send a version of the structured song if it is done. Then I send the tracks to Coralie and Joey who learn the structures and the intention, emotions of the songs. When we meet, we are ready to play. With this line-up we have grown a sound of our own. I have redone my pedal board, with effects that sound better with Joey's bass and touch. Etc.. by the time we meet, we re-work the songs because obviously Coralie and Joey have their own way of playing and making their instrument sound, they also bring new ideas, and as long as it doesn't change the overall mood of the song, it works. Coralie for instance has way better technique that I do on the drums so I will play simple on the demo, when we get to rehearsal I tell her. I actually want you to play this. Joey has a lot of great ideas that he suggests, same thing he is more technical so it really helps the songwriting process overall. The best is to work on the live versions of the songs, because we really have fun exploring each other's musical capacities. They know that on a recording, you should just play the song, and live, that is when we can show off. Coralie and Joey are amazing people to work with. I am extremely lucky.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE TRACK FROM THE ALBUM?
TGC: You know.. those tracks are very personal. They remind me of a moment i felt or a situation I was in at one point in my life. They are all special to me. I do love playing 'Numb Killer' because it is fun, loud, and people love this song! 'Linger' is more experimental but i love it too. 'Copycat' is a BLAST to play. Copycat is like the little break in the set:)
CH : ''64 Women'' is the first EP that I recorded with Tarah Who?, I really like it !! Like Tarah said the songs are really fun to play, each song is different and people like it so it's perfect hahaha.
JS : If I had to pick one I would say "Copy Cat". It had a great groove and still hits hard. Overall I adore all tracks on the EP. Like Coralie, this is my first Tarah Who? recording!!!!
WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
TGC: I am sure that i was influenced by the bands I used to listen to growing up (The Distillers, RATM, Pantera, Motörhead etc....) I don't listen to much music lately. I don't really have time to be honest but also, if I am not playing, I enjoy silence. Everything and everyone inspires me to write. I am not looking up to anyone in particular and I am not trying to sound like anyone either. I write because I have something to say and emotions to express and share.
CH : I love Nightwish, a symphonic metal band from Finland, I like this genre a lot! More generally I'll say rock and metal.
JS : Players like Lemmy, Geddy, Les and PNut!!! All different styles of bass have influenced me and one example is growing up I listened to 311 non stop and learned every bass line I could possible. Their music is a collaboration of various styles. I am grateful being exposed to so many styles in one band at a young age!
HOW DID YOU FORM THE BAND?
TGC: I started playing drums and bass in bands when i was 14 years old. When I moved to Kentucky to be an exchange student, I could not play the drums so I bought myself an electric guitar and an Alanis Morissette songbook and taught myself how to play the guitar!
When I came back to France to finish my high school, I started new bands playing the drums and bass. Then maybe at the age of 17 or 18 I wrote my first song. I didn't consider myself a writer or even a singer. I was looking for a singer but I did not like the way they sang. It was not their voice, It was the interpretation. I realized that I was too attached to the songs because they were my stories. Over the years, I got a little more confident to produce myself as a singer songwriter, and at the age of 21 I moved to LA. Initially to play music as a drummer or bass player in bands, but then I made a demo of my songs, playing all of the instruments and posted those on myspace. I got a few gigs like that until someone hit me up (actually a few people) but i started working with a sound engineer named Matthias Lange, who helped me record my first album. I called in a few musician friends and we record the debut album. That is when it all got serious, and crazy at the same time. I was really shy and believed what everyone said about my music and how it should sound like. Even when I was not happy with the result but I thought that they knew better because they had the experience, degree or maturity. A few years and musicians later, I finally am more confident about the sound I am looking for and the directions I want for the band. In 2017 Coralie joined the band and last year Joey showed up to go on our first West Coast tour.
It may sound like we are a fresh band but It definitely isn't for me and as far as Coralie and Joey, we have gone through so much together already, that I feel like I know them better than past band members. It is a different scenario each time you can't really compare. Bottom line is, we are solid, and we are ready to move forward as is!
CH : Yeah !! I joined the band in the summer 2017 and a lot already happened which is amazing and I know that a lot more is coming so I'm really exciting to share that with Tarah and Joey.
JS: I am the newest member of the band. We met back in April 2018 via Facebook messenger...
"Hi Joe, I am contacting you because I am looking for a bass player for my band Tarah Who? If you like what you hear hit me back. Have a good day! " Tarah...
Random, it seemed strange and went unanswered for six whole days. The idea rolled around in my head enough and I decided I needed to listen to the songs. Two weeks later we left on a west coast tour and we have been constantly working ever since! Each experience seems better than the last.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYONE STARTING OUT?
TGC: Be yourself and don't let anyone put you down. It will be hard. You will have great days when everything works out and people really support you, and some other days when you feel alone.Keep the focus on your music and what you believe in. Use the slow and down days for inspiration and building your mental strength for later. You can't expect coming into the music scene and for everything to happen from one day to another. If you want good, solid opportunities to come up, you need time to build your character and sound. Also don't expect anyone to just notice you and make you famous. If you go into music for this reason.. you will be really disappointed. It does not always make sense, why another band is being more popular, but focus on YOUR music. Don't worry so much about what other people do or do not do. Finally, if you expect bands to help you out, we also expect you to help us out when you can. We are a community, we are not in competition.
CH : Do what you love, even if it's hard you can do it because you want it !!!
JS : Do what makes you happy and focus on the positive.!!!!
WHAT IS NEXT?
TGC: We are actually taking some time off from the live shows to focus on a few things.. We have a music video coming out soon, for our latest single called 'HURT'. I have finished a documentary about independent bands, women in music and the music industry today.I am currently working on its release. We are working on new material for a new EP next year and in September, we will be touring in Europe. Best is to follow us on our social media. We are pretty much everywhere. On Tour! New EP! Back in the studio, working on 5 new songs! The new Ep is called "64 Women" , more Rock, more grunge, more punk coming soon! We love to meet new people so please do come out and support.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD -
TGC: NEW BANDS : DON'T ACCEPT PAY TO PLAY. FANS/ AUDIENCE: If you have to pay to go see your friends play ask them : WHO DOES THIS MONEY GO TO? if it does not go to the band. If it is not a fair split, do us a favor, DO NOT GO and tell the band members: I will come out to support you when the money I spend to go see you goes to YOU. It will make a big difference.
CH : Hope to see some of you guys on the road! Rock on !
JS : See you on the road!