For those who don’t know her, Carina Round is a British singer/songwriter who crossed the pond and is taking America by storm. After recently joining forces with the King of the Avant-garde, Maynard James Keenan and his side project, Puscifer, she has toured as part of the band. On the latest tour with Puscifer, Carina served as the opening act and her new release, “Tigermending” is due on the shelves on May 1st.
OV: Let’s start off at the beginning, back in England growing up, who were your first musical influences? What artists inspired you?
CR: The very first time I was moved an intrigued by the idea of being a musician was by my grandfather. He would sing constantly. Jim Reeves, Elvis, but most beautiful of all that would resonate around his house was a Slim Whitman song called ‘Indian Love Call’. He would belt it and I would feel so thrilled!
Also, there was always a good Vinyl collection in my house. I first started tweaking out to Roxy Music, Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Van Morrison etc. Around 11 or 12 I discovered Nina Simone, Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Velvet Underground and made my discoveries from there.
OV: What are your best memories of coming up from playing the smaller pubs and clubs to playing larger venues?
CR: I very much like the energy that can be achieved in a smaller venue when everyone is really up in each other’s stuff. It can be so vibrant and on edge. It’s much easier to have a relationship with the audience. This can be achieved in a larger theater but its certainly more work and commitment for both audience and Artist. Especially if you’re the opener. On the other hand when it clicks it feels so good!
Carina Round’s The Last Time
OV: In the beginning of your career you self-released your first two albums before signing with Interscope, then eventually parted ways with a major label and founded your own label, Dehisce, what do you feel like the differences are, do you find having more control more freeing?
CR: I released my first record through a friend’s small label called ‘Animal Noise’, then I formed Dehisce before I put out the Disconnection which then got picked up by Interscope. When I left Interscope and put out ‘Things You Should Know’ I just really wanted it to be no label at all, not even my own.
There are obvious differences. It’s much harder in some ways without a label as no one is helping with funding in any way and it can cost more than you think to record, manufacture and promote a record. We are talking tens of thousands of dollars. Easily. So that can get tremendously stressful at times and is also why its taken so long for me to get to this point, that being said, I can wake up every morning without questioning what I’m doing and being frustrated that I am sliding in the wrong direction. So yes, the freedom makes it all very much worth it.
CR: Mat Mitchell, who produces and co-writes the Puscifer stuff reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in working with them. I went to Maynard’s house, recorded “Humbling River” with a hairless cat wrapped around my neck and the rest is history.
OV: You recently toured with Puscifer and opened the shows as a solo artist, what was the reception to your solo material like?
CR: Amazing! I was ready for an onslaught of bullshit, but am happy to say I (we) only received tremendous support and encouragement during the show, in person afterwards and via telepathic love using the wonder of the internet… oh, and some intense heckling at times but nothing I couldn’t handle.
OV: Let’s talk about the new album, “Tigermending”. What makes this album stand out for you? How does it differ from your first two releases?
CR: This, in my opinion, is the best music / record I have ever made with the best people I have ever made it with. I’m so proud of it and excited about it that I could wee myself.
OV: For the album, where did you draw your biggest musical and lyrical inspirations from? What is your creative process or is it just sort of something that happens?
CR: It happened over such a stretch of time all the songs came so differently. My head-space was vastly different for most of the creation of the songs so they all have a very unique personality. Also, some of the songs are co-writes, which is a totally beautifully absurd process. Some songs took years, literally, to write (“The Secret of Drowning”, “Pick Up the Phone”, “You Will be Loved”) and others were done in about the time it takes to play them (“The Last Time”, “You and Me”, “Mothers Pride”). I can have a tiny piece of music or melody that haunts me for a long time, but I labor over lyrics. I can start a song thinking it’s about one thing and have trouble finishing it until I receive a message that it could be about something else and all of a sudden it makes total sense. “You Will Be Loved” was very much like that…for years it appeared in my daily life and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t be satisfied. I had to bring two things together in order to give it the depth it needed to be completed. My creative process is happening all the time in different ways. Sometimes it’s very deliberate and other times not so apparent.
OV: The “Tigermending” album features a lot of impressive collaborations with very talented artists like Dave Stewart, Billy Corgan, and Brian Eno just to name a few, how did those come about? Was it something that was planned, a wish list, or something that just sort of happened on its own?
CR: Yes, It happened on its own. I have had a friendship with Dave since before I released the Disconnection, and he is good friends with Brian Eno. He sent me a sketch of something they had done 10 years prior to that even (so that seed is pretty old) and I built “The Secret of Drowning” around it. It was an intense song to write. It almost killed me. I worked on it for 72 hours straight at the finish line til I was cross eyed and then couldn’t listen to it for weeks. I met Billy though a mutual friend Kristin Burns (she took the photo that is the cover of the record) and eventually became friends. He came to a show of mine and mentioned that he would like to play guitar on “Got to Go” cause he thought it should be heavier. I wasn’t sure if he was serious and got a little shy so it didn’t happen right away and I thought I’d blown it. Then he mentioned it again and we recorded it at the studio he was using in LA. It’s a thrill to collaborate with these amazing artists.
OV: Do you have any plans for a tour to support the new album?
OV: What do you have planned for the rest of the year, any new projects or collaborations on the horizon for you?
CR: Always! Mostly I plan to be doing as many shows as possible for the rest of this year. I expect I’ll be joining Puscifer in their endeavors and there’s also a few other very exciting possibilities that I can’t really talk about until they are confirmed… but I’ll keep you posted as to when.
Written by Christina Lawler