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I first got the opportunity to speak with Carmen right before the record came out and it was a time where he couldn't really discuss the record at all but most recently he found himself in a different position. In our most recent interview during his time with A Great Big Pile of Leaves, we talked about how he made the songs on his own through programming parts together and the influence that his fellow artist/manager had on him Joseph Marro. Read on for our exclusive and catch Young Statues opening for the prolific Early November in just two weeks!
Obviously you've been doing this tour for a month and it also included South By Southwest which is huge! Maybe how was SXSW in general?
It was great! It was crazy. The way I describe it to people is that it's like going to summer camp. So like you get there and you're seeing everybody that you haven't seen in so long. You're excited that you're there and you're seeing all these friends that you haven't seen and it's crazy and hectic and fun. Then by the end, you just want to get out of there but with that being said, it's really fun. A great way to meet people in the music industry and it's a great way to see your friends in bands who are all traveling constantly and you don't really get to see them. Then when your working schedules allow it so that's another good thing about it. It's fun!
When you're all in the same place.
Then maybe how has the tour been going?
The tour has been great. The tour, everyone's been really surprised. I wouldn't say surprised but being that all three of the bands have always been supporting other bigger bands, for us all to go out on our own. It's like do people come to see our band or do they come to see the bands that we're supporting? So everybody was kind of like a bit curious to how the turn outs were going to be and I think that it went above and beyond what any of us expected. Like the shows have been really good. So the tour has been a success. Everybody gets along really great so that's another plus of it. We really enjoy being around each other so even when some of the shows weren't great but we we're altogether like spending time together and having dinner. It's been really fun and really successful.
Then last time we talked, the record hadn't come out yet and you were kind of keeping everything on the DL in terms of the record. B I know you're managed by an artist Joe Marro but maybe how has that experience been considering he knows what it's like to be a musician, has been a musician for years with Hellogoodbye and The Early November. How has that experience been with him?
Oh it's been a blessing to have him manage and kind of guide me personally because I did this record on my own. From day one the start, it was really only him who I spoke to about anything and he gave me a lot of good advice. A lot of the advice that he gave me resulted in us being where we are now. He kind of was the one who said 'Do it on your own!' You don't need to like form a band before you start. Do the record on your own. Worry about making great songs and then we'll figure it out once the record's done. For me, that was like the most important process I ever had as a musician so I have him to thank for all that and I know I can talk to him at any point about anything. There's nothing that he hasn't been through so it's comforting to know that you have some one in your corner that can guide you the way that he can. He's seen all of it and as much as he tells me the right things to do, it goes equally with as much as he tells me the wrong things to do. The things not to do. So, yeah, it's been great! He's great. He's one of my best friends.
Then like you said, you did the record on your own. You have the band now with you. Maybe how did you go about the writing process for that record? Now that it's come out you can talk about it more.
Yeah I would just kind of write songs. I mean I always grew up thinking that there needed to be a traditional structure in terms a band in writing songs. I needed to have a drummer while I'm writing just to kind of play. I figured out how to do midi drumming where I could actually program drums on my computer myself and write guitar to them so that's how all the songs in the record are. Mapped the drums out on this little computer. I'd sit there all day and be typing like a dork and then I would be able to scope out a song and arrange it around. So I was able to do everything on my own without others and then I was lucky enough to find musicians who actually played. Like our drummer now, Dan, he's been a friend of mine for a long time. I asked him 'Will you take these computer parts that I made and make them better and actually play them?' And he did an awesome job. So most of it yeah was just me and Steve who's our engineer just hashing out songs and once they were produced and totally done, the guys who play the instruments that I didn't play came in and did it.
Then how do you think it's been going over? As your first CD it's pretty scary. To just let it out in the world especially when you did it all yourself but it's been a few months now, like five months or so I want to say.
It's been a really flattering reaction. I'm just happy that people like it enough to the point where I have a band to play shows with. So for people to be responding to it the way they are is really encouraging and it's awesome for me. I've said before, like I felt accomplished even if it never came out. If Nobody had ever heard it and it be just my thing, I would still be proud of it because I proved to myself I don't need anyone to do anything and that was a good feeling. That I could do something creative on my own without thinking about all these other things but the reaction was awesome. I'm so happy! I'm enjoying my life as much as I ever have so I guess I have that to thank to an extent. So it's just been really great!
Then this tour finishes today but what's coming up after this tour? Are you going to take a little time off? Continue touring a bit?
We're doing some one off shows in April. Just like some college shows and then we're doing this thing called Raleighpalooza in May. And we have a couple things and then we're going back on tour. It's not announced yet but it should be this week. I think it will be announced on the 4th of April it should be announced. So I guess that's Wednesday? It's a good tour. It's going to be a great tour! I wish I could tell you right now but I can't. So we're doing two new songs. One is a cover. It's a Billy Bragg cover with the girl from the band Tigers Jaw. The girl Brianna who plays in that band we did a song together. We recorded that awhile ago and have been trying to figure out what to do with it and then finally we're doing a split 7' with another guy so we recorded a new song which we're going to finish when we're home and then do those shows in April and then back out in May!