EMQ’s with TARAH WHO?
Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with French/US Rock band Tarah Who? Huge thanks to them for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Tarah G. Carpenter (TGC): Vocals, Guitar
Joey Southern (JS): Bass, Backing Vocals
Coralie Hervé (CH): Drums, Backing Vocals
CH: My name is Coralie and I’m the drummer of Tarah Who? I joined the band in the summer 2017. I received a message from Tarah saying that she was looking for a drummer for her band.
TGC: I am Tarah, founder of Tarah Who? 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 or 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 recorded 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. I am into Rock music; I like to play fast paced, up beat loud music.
JS: Joey Southern, bassist and backing vocals. I have been in the band for a year and already have played more gigs with these two then any other previous bands combined!!!
How did you come up with your band name?
TGC: Back in 2010 or something, I was playing with other musicians, friends who wanted to help out with the solo project. At the time, there was another artist with the same first name, who played rap. We would either get the gig because they thought I was her, or we would not get the gig because they thought. ‘Why would a Rapper come to a punk venue’? Anyway, I came up with new band name ideas in an email and the subject was “TARAH WHO????” and out of all of the band names I came up with, everyone said “the subject is the best”, kind of implying everything sucked lol! We had a few shows lined up and I didn’t want to think about it too much, we went for it, got more shows, kept the temporary name … we are in 2019… We might as well just keep it now!
What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?
CH: I’m French and there is a good metal scene in France. I took lessons with Nicolas Bastos, drummer of Dagoba. I learnt a lot!!
TGC: I was born and raised in Paris, France. There is a big metal scene there 🙂 Like Coralie has just mentioned there is Dagoba, but I know the scene is bigger than this. French people definitely like metal and unlike punk, it sounds like the metal that you can hear in different countries. It is not like French Punk vs UK punk vs US punk etc…! Metal seems to be pretty universal outside of the language, I think?
JS: I’m from the Midwest of America, a couple hours west of Chicago. The metal scene in Aurora and DeKalb are a lot of fun from what I remember.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)
TGC: Our latest EP is called “64 Women”, released on March 8th 2019. The latest single from that EP that came out is called ‘Hurt’ it is our slowest song on the EP and in general. We dared to do something new and different. We have just finished shooting the music video directed by Javier Arcelus and Benny the Jet Urquidez, who co-directed and choreographed the video. The song is about a friendship and betrayal, the music video illustrates that conflict within yourself when you feel hurt and abused, and how you should react towards those emotions. It is kind of like a victory, fight against your thoughts or negative emotions, when you accept the situation and move forward with your life.
Those situations making you stronger and more aware in the future.
Who have been your greatest influences?
CH: I’m a big fan of Nightwish, a symphonic metal band, so I’ll say them, but more generally classic rock and metal.
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. I used to listen to Alanis Morissette growing up and then discovered, the 90’s punk grunge era and totally fell in love with the sounds and energy. I am pretty sure I was influenced by all of it, since my taste in sounds is similar. I like what is raw, authentic, and not perfected. I love accidents in music. I like rage; I like feeling my muscles, and sweating. I like re-living the songs and emotions. It is not about playing loud because you turn the volume up, it is about that anger you feel when you perform. Live shows happen so fast and we have no idea what we will do. It depends on the vibe of the venue, the response from the audience etc. It is an exchange really so I was influenced by a lot of sounds and bands. No one in particular, I was more into a song that resonated within me rather than people or a band. It had to mean something to me at the time. Not by an attitude or a character.
JS: Tool, Primus, 311, Radiohead, Motörhead to name a few.
What first got you into music?
CH: I don’t remember but my mom took some guitar lessons in the music school of our town and I followed with drums.
TGC: I have no idea. I just remember wanting to play the drums and the bass. Later I felt the urge to write, so i did, and started playing the guitar just to accompany myself, but I don’t see myself like a singer or a guitar player. Those are just tools I use to express myself. I actually have no idea what I am doing to be completely honest. If someone asked me what I play I would have no idea what to respond.
I started playing in bands since the age of 14 and I just never stopped. It is my balance, and what I need to feel good and happy about myself. When I don’t play I feel miserable. So I keep playing. 🙂
JS: My parents are music lovers and they exposed me to music at a young age. They took me to see ZZ Top when I was 12 and Metallica the next week!
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
CH: I would like to collaborate with Nightwish of course, it would be a dream!!!
TGC: At this time, I don’t want to collaborate with anyone for Tarah Who? It is a very personal project. Coralie does amazing on the drums and Joey does everything that needs to be done as a bass player. Eventually we will add a second guitar player but only if it doesn’t affect our trio. The reason why it works currently with this line-up is because Coralie and Joey trust me, and let me be creative, as much as I trust them and their ability to play pretty much anything I have in mind or, they surprise me with great new ideas and suggestions. We work really well together, and they don’t try to add anything extra to show off. We all understand that it is about the music and not about ourselves and this is very rare these days. Working on our record with Jason Orme, is also a big factor. Jason, as a producer, does not try to change the songs; he understands the artist’s perspective.
On other projects, I would be happy to collaborate with other musicians. Brody Dalle would be definitely on this list? I don’t mind inviting people on stage to sing along or to perform our song ‘Pay to Play’, for instance, because it is fun and also because ‘Pay to Play’ is really shitty. For our song ‘Linger’ we are actually working on contacting a few drummer friends who would play their version of the song, but when it comes to lyrics and actually writing, it would need to be on a separate project.
JS: Tool!!! It would be amazing to work with these living legends.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
CH: I would like to play the Hellfest in France because I always wanted to go but didn’t and the bands that play there are amazing, it will be such an experience!!!
TGC: Festivals are fun all around. I would be happy to play any festival in the world as long as the crowd is cool and the organization is good. The name of the festival is just a brand. It could sound really cool to play somewhere, but once you are actually dealing with the festival, is when you realize that it might not be as cool as people seem to think it is. So, happy to play anywhere in the world, as long as everything is cool and fair 🙂
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
TGC: I have received really nice gifts actually. Nothing weird, just really sweet gestures, letters. I appreciate it when our fans take the time to get in touch, or think of us, and send us things. I have not received anything weird yet. If anything, the weirdest comments were from drunk punks who wanted to do “things” after the show… but I politely declined. 🙂
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
CH: Thank you for listening to our songs and coming out to our shows, it’s awesome!! Always a pleasure to meet you guys!!
TGC: Definitely, Thank you for your support, your messages, requests, and good vibes at the shows. It is the best feeling to play and then meet people who confess to relate to your stories. Sometimes it is just rewarding to look at the crowd and see people have good time, or smiling. You can also tell sometimes in people’s eyes that something is happening in their mind right now. They are being inspired or something. It is really cool, so keep doing it, and definitely come talk to us and get in touch. It motivates us to do more 🙂
JS: Be yourself and enjoy it!!!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
CH: I think it will be Freddie Mercury.
TGC: Lemmy, I really wanted to collaborate with him one day 😉 hahahah, on another project of course! Anyway… that’s out!
JS: It would be interesting to hear what Kurt Cobain would be playing these days.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
CH: Playing and discovering new places is always awesome!! There is nothing I hate but as an independent band, we are doing everything by ourselves and it can be really hard sometimes but we are doing it anyway because we love it and it’s our job!!
TGC: I love it all to be honest. I love everything about it, from the writing to the recording (where all of the magic happens) to sharing with the audience and seeing the reactions or seeing people mosh, singing along, being inspired or having a good time. I love it when people can relate to the songs and we can inspire them. I do not like accidentally stopping at a dirty gas station with stinky bathrooms; finding bed bugs in hotel rooms (ask Joey). The money part is hard yes, but I ‘d rather have it hard and not owe anything to anyone rather than having the illusion that we have a lot and finding out later that we owe $XX for things we have not chosen or needed. I hate going to shows with good sounding bands and realizing that they are not as cool as they seem to be. I believe in a community and support going both ways. I can’t stand meeting bands who think they are better, or have it all, but good songs! Lol, anyway I don’t hate it, it is what it is! Any career has their fakes and good share of insecure people. Something I passionately hate though is meeting people who supposedly want or can help you, but they are total scammers. I hate pay to play, and I hate so called producers, promoters or bookers.
JS: I enjoy the connection between the musicians and friends I am grateful to play with. I hate phony people.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
TGC: What I hate! Lol! I would definitely make sure that pay to play shows don’t exist anymore. Let people know what pay to play shows are and how wrong they are to everyone. For the rest… all of the answers will be soon available online: Watch our upcoming documentary series. 🙂
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
CH: It’s really hard because all Nightwish’s albums are amazing!! But I’m gonna choose “Once” because my favourite song is in it ‘Ghost Love Score’.
TGC: Coral Fang – Distillers. I don’t like favourites but I guess I am not tired of this album yet so… it must be one of my favs!
JS: Grassroots – 311. This album is nostalgic.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
CH: I love to have the physical material with me so I’ll say CD’s but I really like vinyl too.
TGC: Depends where you are and what you do. I think they are all great music sharing tools. Vinyl can be really romantic and a decorative! CD’s are very useful to me still. I drive a very old car so I definitely use CD’s 🙂 I also like holding CD’s and going through everything, reading everything there is to read etc.! Cassettes: They are useful if you want to have a specific sound but it is getting harder to use. Downloads are just convenient when you travel and want to listen to a variety of artists if you are getting tired of your favourite album 😉 So I think they are all great tools!
JS: I love sound of vinyl!!!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
CH: I really like the one that we did at the Satellite in December; it was a really good one!! But every show is great, I like playing with Joey and Tarah.
TGC: My favourite with this line up is one of our latest shows at the Sugar Mill in Tarzana. Packed house, all of the bands were good, everyone stayed and supported each other, Your mum from the UK was there, we hung out, we made money, the staff was great, sound was good, and cocktails were tasty. There was not one thing that was not working out that night. 🙂
JS: I agree with Tarah and Coralie! I’m torn between both these gigs.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
CH: I don’t think I could do something else but if I have to choose I’ll say archaeologist.
TGC: I am someone who does what she wants and love. So if there was something else that I wanted to do I would be doing that. Trust me, when I had all of my family trying desperately to get me to find another career or path, I looked into a lot of other jobs or options. I just don’t have the passion or joy to do anything else. Being an independent musician is not JUST playing music. Outside of the rehearsals and owning your craft, and getting better on a daily basis, it is also a business. No one is going to work on the business aspect if we don’t. So I work a lot on that. Booking, managing, promoting, coming up with new ideas and branding. Writing, recording, producing, performing… I have a lot of other hobbies, and subjects that I am interested in, but I do what I love. There is nothing else I would rather be doing. If I did, I would be doing and focusing on that. 🙂
JS: I would most likely be working with the family business. My family has a construction business back home in Illinois.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
JS: Maynard James Keenan, Justin Chancellor, Geddy Lee, Les Claypool and Victor Wooten.
TGC: Brody Dalle, Meryl Streep, Anika Nilles, Michelle and Barak Obama
CH: Nightwish!!! (They are 6 hahahaha)
What’s next for the band?
JS: I’ve been learning the massive catalog of Tarah Who? songs for the upcoming European Tour in September!!!
TGC: I am working on new songs for a new EP. We are also releasing a music video for ‘Hurt’ soon and a docu-series about independent bands and women in music.
CH: Same as Joey, I’m working on Tarah Who? songs for the European Tour.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
JS: Best of both worlds!!
TGC: I have never had one but from the picture it looks like a biscuit or a Pimm’s!
CH: I don’t know what it is so I’m gonna follow Joey on that hahahaha.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
JS: Thank you and Rock on!!!
TGC: Thank you so much for your support. Hit us up on our social media, and come out to live shows. All bands need it! 🙂
CH: Hope to see some of you on the road!!
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