Tarah Who? – Interview

We recently sat down with a bunch of bands from the Stencil label to find out what makes them tick. We had the opportunity to chat to punk rock band Tarah Who? and jumped at the chance to find out how their year had gone so far!

By Jane Howkins

How is 2018 treating you so far?

Coralie Hervé (CH): 2018 was great for me. I recently graduated from the Musicians Institute, that was an amazing experience!! We did two tours with Tarah Who? So yeah, I’ll say that 2018 has been good for me.

Tarah G. Carpenter (TGC): 2018 has been pretty crazy! I went back home (Paris) for the first time in a couple years to see my friends and family, it was really nice. However, I also lost my dog from cancer which was very emotional. We started recording our new EP 64 Women, our previous bassist was also going through some personal things and had to quit the band 2 weeks before going on tour and that’s how we found Joey, who learned 13 songs in a few days and took off with us on a West Coast tour with 6 other French people!! We came back, finished recording the EP, went on an East Coast tour, came back to CA, and then mixed the EP. We have been really busy playing shows all over the country and learning new songs and working on our sound and set. We have gotten a LOT of attention over the past year, and we have more coming before the end of it. So 2018 has been amazing!

Joey Southern (JS): 2018 has been one of the best years I have yet to experience. I do believe my life has forever changed since joining Tarah Who? and meeting Tarah and Coralie. In March, Tarah contacted me via Facebook messenger with a random message saying a bass player was needed urgently. It was random and it seemed strange and actually 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 have been constantly working ever since! Each experience seems better than the last.

Have you released any music so far this year? If so, what can you tell us about that?

TGC: We are going to release 64 Women in the coming months. I am really excited to share this new ep because Coralie and Joey are on it. It has been the longest recording process I have ever experienced! Until now, Tarah Who?’s albums were made in 5 days and EP’s in one day, two max if needed! This time, we decided to record the drums with Thomas Lang, so we started recording in January before I left for France. When I came back, we started recording the bass with Matt Peltcher, our previous bass player, then did my guitars and vocals. We didn’t have time to finish because our co-producer Jason had a few shows with Alanis Morissette. Then Matt quit the band, 2 weeks before going on tour. I met Joey online, through Facebook. He came in with three songs and we totally hit it off. I was really impressed with his bass sound and playing. Within a couple days he had those 3 songs down. He actually knew the damn songs!

Do you know how many people I have auditioned and I have asked them to learn 3 songs and to just let me know when they would be ready, and after one week they finally show up and they don’t know anything? A LOT!! When Joey showed up actually knowing the songs, it was easy for me to hear his bass playing properly. I also really liked his positive energy and he was clearly motivated. 10 days later we played our first show in San Diego and that was the beginning of the tour. When we came back from the tour, Joey had the songs in his blood – the new ones too – and he had added his personality to the bass lines. We decided to redo the bass lines of 64 Women so that we could promote this new EP as a full band project. Turns out, we were lucky that the recording process was not finished!

We also added some backing vocals and invited our friend Matt Houdini from the band Lujuria to join us during the backing vocals. It was really funny and he brought a lot of interesting elements to the songs. Jason added some really cool lead guitars and for the first time in the world of Tarah Who?, there is a little tiny bit of keyboards on one of our songs, called Hurt. We dared to do certain things differently on this EP, so hopefully you will enjoy it as much as we do. So far, the response from the live shows has been very positive.

JS: Yes! The EP 64 Women will officially be my first recording with Tarah Who? The most fun I had recording was screaming the backing vocals with the group. We all warmed up really quickly to each other and produced explosive mob vocals. We even got a bit trilingual with the intro to Linger, which will be a real treat for you!

Are you working on any new music at the moment? What are you working on, and when will it be released?

CH: We actually recorded a new EP called 64 Women. We will release it soon and will be promoting it on tour next year. We are working on some videos too. A lot of new stuff is coming, be ready for it!

TGC: I always have a few songs in my back pocket and I write a lot of things and thoughts down that I don’t share and I go back to it later and see if anything comes out of it. So, yes there is new music coming out soon. 64 Women is the name of the new EP, and we are preparing for the EP after that one for next year.

JS: We just wrapped up the EP recording that I came into very late. Luckily we snuck in an afternoon and I had the pleasure of recording with Jason. The EP will be released within the coming months.

Have you got any upcoming tours planned? If so, where are you playing and where are you looking forward to going most?

CH: We are planning to go on tour for our upcoming EP. Our first stop will be the south, in the beginning of next year, and we will see after that. I’m really excited!

TGC: Yes, I am actually booking and planning shows and tours at the moment. Working with another band and another booker as well to bring our forces together. As Coralie mentioned above, we are planning to tour the Southwest next, Europe in June, and stay tuned for anything new in or around California.

JS: I can’t wait to tour the southwest. Most states we have played this year I have never even drove through or visited. Seeing the different towns, meeting different people, and exploring my country has been overwhelmingly positive. I can’t wait to jump back in the van and hit the road!

Who/what has influenced you the most as musicians?

CH: I’m a big fan of Nightwish and symphonic metal, I love that style! But in general, I love rock and metal, always have and always will.

TGC: I was a big Alanis fan, then I discovered the Distillers, RATM, Pantera, Motorhead, the Foo Fighters etc… anything fast paced, angry, loud, and 90s sounding I was into. I don’t try to sound like any of the artists that I listen to, but I am sure that my ear is so used to it, that naturally, I prefer similar sounds.

JS: I’m always finding “new” music but I will never be able to hear it all. My point is that in my experience, unintentionally, I have missed or overlooked tons of fundamental groups in music history. My inspiration always comes from the next music that is “new” to me. Like when I was young I liked Metallica, probably because that’s what my parents listened to. I matured and I now only listen to what I actually love, bands like Motorhead that I only recently started listening to within the last ten years, bands that have actually inspired all the bands I’ve already been listening to.

What have you been listening to recently that you can recommend to our readers?

CH: I really like Cyhra and Ghost, both very powerful !!

TGC: Silence haha! I actually don’t listen to much music. We play so much that if or when we don’t play, I just really enjoy silence. If I listen to music it’s usually a song that I need to work on, learn or play. I usually end up listening to what other people play.

JS: To be honest recently I’ve been listening to The Ramones. Always heard of them, but I’ve never actually listened to them. Now I love them.

Why do you think people should pick up one of your records or come and see you live, and what can people expect from one of your shows?

CH: We are giving everything that we have at every show! I really enjoy playing with Tarah and Joey and I hope that people can see it too. It’s really energetic and a lot of fun!

TGC: I think people should give us a chance at least. A lot of people come out to support and end up saying “I had so much fun, I am so glad I came out! Let me know when the next show is!” The way that we see it is that we are musicians, yes, but we are also entertainers. We go on stage with a purpose and we love to share our experience and message. When you come out and you are having a good time and you participate and we have this connection, there is nothing else that we would rather do. Our music is fast paced – pure rock music with heavy drums. At first listen , you may like it or you may not. The live performance is a show. Usually people see the show and then can’t get enough of the music because somehow it all clicked. It suddenly makes sense. The music is loud and if you are not paying attention to the lyrics, you may not “get it” at first. If you go a little deeper, you will realize that every note has an intention. we’re not being loud for the sake of being loud. We play how we feel, and we move in the way that the emotions and the energy of the audience makes us move. Nothing is planned, nothing is rehearsed (no choreography), we are authentic and raw. If you like raw, energetic, authentic, loud 90s rock/grunge with hints of punk and improvisation then come out and give us a listen!

JS: Yes! Just to add to what Tarah said, we are pure energy!!! We like to bring out the best energy in each other and the crowd whilst playing and when the room is in tune, we are all having a great time enjoying the experience of music together.

Any last words for the fans?

CH: We hope to see some of you on the road!

TGC: Thanks for your support! Definitely come out to see us, we love meeting new fans! Don’t be shy! Connect on social media, at the shows, or however else you can. We will be on the road until next year, we have a lot of amazing big steps coming up which is all thanks to you! Stay tuned, and follow us on social media.

JS: We appreciate the love and support! We can’t wait to see you on the road and thank you again for the interview!!!