Following on from our review of their self-titled EP, we fired six questions to Carousel. Here’s what they said.
EP: What’s the Carousel story?
Tom: The Carousel story began with 3 friends from Essex who made music as solo artists, with influences that crossed various singer/songwriter-based genres. Sarah and I had joined forces to form the duo, ‘Land & Sea’ in 2014 , and enjoyed a short run of writing and performing songs together for an EP. We began searching for a larger sound than we could muster with only two of us, so we enlisted our good friends Chris and Toby to form a new, unnamed musical project in the summer of 2015. An intentional 8-month period of writing and rehearsing began before we decided to venture out into the Essex gigging scene and ‘Carousel’ became the chosen name for our new band and project.
Toby: Since then, we have performed loads of acoustic and full band shows in the Essex and London areas – making plenty of contacts along the way. By mid 2016, we decided to choose 5 of our favourite original songs to commit to tape and we are pleased that on the 22nd September our self-titled debut EP will be available worldwide!
EP: Describe your style to us.
Chris: Our style is a blend of all the music that we listen to, whether it be rock, folk, indie, soul or gospel, we try to encompass the whole of the Americana genre that we so love. Another key aspect of our sound is the use of our vocals. We love a good harmony!
Sarah: Tom, Chris and I have all been writing and singing for years now and we’re lucky enough to have found a vocal style that really suits our band, and techniques to layer and stack our vocals in a strong way.
EP: Who are your inspirations musically, and personally?
Tom: Thanks to my father, I come from a very rock, blues and soul influenced background, including artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Robert Cray, B.B. King and even heavy metal groups, such as Metallica and Iron Maiden. I also love Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder to bits!
Sarah: I was brought up in a musical family, listening to popular music of the 60’s and 70’s – a standout band for me was The Beatles. My tastes have recently grown to prefer acoustic and folk artists such as Gabrielle Aplin, The Civil Wars and John Mayer (although my guilty pleasure will always be McFly!)
Chris: Musically, I tend to walk the line between rock and a range of singer-songwriters. These mainly include Foo Fighters, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Don McLean, James Taylor, Nirvana and Chris Stapleton.
Toby: I listen to a mixture of folk, country and blues, such as Sharon Shannon, Mike McGoldrick, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Sarah Jarosz and Eric Bibb. I’ve always liked S Club 7 too.
EP: What’s the best advice you’ve been given by anyone – the advice can be about life or about music.
Sarah: “Be patient and don’t watch back videos of your performance on the day, you’ll only be disheartened.” My dad always told me not to watch performances back straight away, and just enjoy the adrenaline of the gig. More often than not, I’ve been unhappy with how the footage sounds and therefore really glad I waited a few days before viewing it. I’d offer this advice to any musician who is super critical of their work!
Chris: “You walk into a bar and if the bartender, his wife or dog offers you a gig, play the f**king gig!” (Dave Grohl) My dad worked in London for many years as a black cab driver and was surprised to find that he’d picked up Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters one day. He proceeded to ring me and gave Dave the phone, explaining that I was a musician too, and this was the advice he gave! As a band, we always try to accept as many gig offers as possible without burning ourselves out – we like to make the most of every opportunity given.
EP: What’s been your favourite song to perform?
Tom: ‘Comfortable Skin’. 50% of the time, we play this song completely unplugged and standing in the middle of the audience.I think it’s memorable when performed live and really suits a raw, upfront approach, which is what the song is all about.
Chris: For me, ‘Dead Horse’ and ‘Throw Me To The Wolves’ have the most energy and showcase our harder edge, and we all enjoy rocking out together on stage!
Sarah: ‘Show’ always has a buzz about it that I just can’t describe, and it’s such an energetic song to round off a set – it’s heaps of fun. However, performing ‘Porcelain’ is really special to me and gives me chills each time I sing it. We often perform a reprise of the main melody and get the whole audience to sing with us, which is magical.
Toby: It’s not on the EP, but my favourite song to play live in our current setlist is ‘In The Wild’.
EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody ever does?
Sarah: I’d like to be questioned more about mental health and how it relates to the music industry. I’m a keen advocate for creating awareness of mental illness, and it really isn’t spoken about enough. It’s a powerful topic that is very relevant to us as a band, and plenty of other musicians that we know, so we try to spread the message through our music. I’m also a writer and began blogging about my own experiences of mental health problems here – www.sarahsheadspace.wordpress.com
Tom: “How much do you love dogs?” There’s never enough appreciation for dogs! I have two rescue dogs at home that we consider our band mascots, and they both love listening to us rehearse.
Carousel will launch their self-titled EP at The Dickens Lounge, Southend, Essex, on Thursday 21 September. Tickets are available from their official website.
You can also find Carousel online on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.