Tarah Who?, interview

Tarah Who? is female fronted power trio from Los Angeles: Punk, Rock, Alternative from the 90s. Meet Tarah G. Carpenter (Vocals, guitar), Joey Southern (Bass) and female drummer Coralie Hervé.
Tarah Who? is a power trio in every sense of the phrase, bonded together by telepathic musical interplay and profound interpersonal connections. In addition to Tarah, the three-piece band also features bassist/backing vocalist Joey Southern, and drummer/backing vocalist Coralie Hervé. Previously, Tarah Who? has released two full-lengths, two EPs, and one single of raw punky rock n’ roll.
Their upcoming EP entitled ‘’64 Women’’ will be release soon, let’s talks the band about this release and more.

 

Hi guys and welcome into Rockers And Other Animals’ pages. Do you want to introduce yourself to readers?

CH : My name is Coralie Herve and I’m the drummer of Tarah Who? I joined the band a little bit more than a year now and I love it !!!

JS: I am Joey the bassist and back up vocalist. I am the newest member of the band coming up on nine months now. We met back in April 2018 via Facebook messenger...

"Hi Joe, I am contacting you because I am looking for a bass player for my band Tarah Who? If you like what you hear hit me back. Have a good day! " Tarah...

Random, it seemed strange and 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 we have been constantly working ever since! Each experience seems better than the last.

TGC: Hi everyone! Thank you for having us, and thank you for reading! I am Tarah, the lead singer and guitar player. I have started Tarah Who? in 2006, when I moved to Los Angeles, from Paris, France.
 

How did your musical adventure start and how has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?

CH : I began playing drums at the age of 10 in the music school of my hometown. After graduated from high school, I moved to Paris to pursue my musical education by taking lessons with Nicolas Bastos (Dagoba), at Agostini’s and at the Drumming Lab for 3 years.
After that, I moved to Los Angeles to study at the Musicians Institute, that was amazing !!!! I graduated in March 2018.
Since I joined Tarah Who? it has been quite an adventure and I’m really happy to be part of it and can’t wait for the future !!!
 
JS: My name is Joey. I am from outside Chicago. I moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to pursue music. I can remember strumming guitars my dad had laying around but it wasn't until I was about 12 that I began to focus on bass. I played in various bands throughout my youth and into my early twenties until I decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue music full time. One of my music professors in Community College made me realize that I was on the fence. One leg in my nine-to-five job at a hospital "normal life" and the other leg playing in bands at night and doing what I love "not normal". I could never be 100% at both so I had to make a choice. I jumped in my car with some clothes my basses and about $3,000 I had saved and I've been in Los Angeles ever since. That was seven years ago and the best risk I ever took.
I have played with various bands over the past several years and learned and grown as much as possible in my experience. I joined Tarah Who in April 2018 and finally feel like I am where I am supposed to be. After coming back from our first tour in late April I realized this is what I was meant to do. We evolve day by day... I can't begin to count every single time we play we add something new. Maybe a new piece of gear or a new intention and emotion. Always growing... ever changing... we are alive!!!

TGC: I started playing music in bands at the age of 14. I taught myself the drums and the bass guitar. I moved to Kentucky when I was 15, as an exchange student. I was not able to play the drums there so I bought myself an electric guitar and taught myself how to play. I moved back to France to finish High School, played in several rock bands as a drummer or bass player and secretly wrote songs on the guitar. When I turned 21, and after saving some cash, I moved to Los Angeles, recorded some demos of my songs, playing all of the instruments, booked some shows in LA and started getting noticed by other musicians and producers who wanted to help making my sound better. After a decade, working with a bunch of musicians, I am finally more confident about the project, our sound and what we want. Meeting Coralie and Joey definitely helped in this process, and we are happy to present Tarah Who?, today.

What are the themes of your songs?
 
TGC: Well, it ranges from a personal, autobiographical, relationship issues to today's events and shocking news.
I started writing at a very young age, so the songs have matured in the lyrics and music. Typically, I find inspiration when I am sad or angry. The song itself is not necessarily in those emotions, it can be hopeful, sarcastic. All songs and emotions are definitely felt, lived, raw and authentic.

Talk about the EP ‘’64 Women’’, what distinguishes it from other products?
How long will we listen to the new EP “64 Women’’?

JS : Yes!!! The new EP "64 Women". I can't wait to get this out and into your ears!!! I am especially excited because this will officially be my first recording with Tarah Who?
TGC: Like Joey said, "64 Women" is exciting because the current line up is on it. Meaning that we will be promoting it all together, touring, being interviewed, shooting music videos etc...
We have worked on this ep with renowned drummer Thomas Lang. I wanted a killer sound on the drums, so I called Thomas and he happened to be in town when we wanted to record the drums. Coralie and I went to his studio and tracked the drums on his amazing sounding kit, and had a lot of fun during the process. Then I brought all the tracks to our co-producer, Jason Orme who plays with Alanis Morissette. At the time, Matt Peltcher was our bass player. Matt, unfortunately had to qui the band for personal reasons and that is when Joey came in. We had a tour planned, so we went on tour, and when we got back , we re-tracked all of the bass tracks with Joey, so that we could release something with the 3 of us. Jason is a guitar geek:) which is great for me, because I got to record the tracks using his vintage super sounding guitars and his (what I call) spaceship! (gigantic pedal board). We had a lot of fun during the process. It took longer than I could have ever imagined. If we were not on tour, Jason was on tour with Alanis, so it was hard to coordinate both of our schedules but we eventually made it happen! For our last recording day, we invited our friend Matt Houdini from Lujuria to do some screams and backing vocals with us, which made our ep sound a little fuller, and angrier.

 

I have listened to your music and I must say that there is a lot of punk in your compositions.
What are your influences in this genre music?
If you'd describe your own style and involve new fans into your music, what do you’d say?

CH : I’ll say that Tarah Who?’s sound is a mix between rock/punk/grunge but at the same time it’s kind of unique. We all have different influences, and we all bring that in our playing so it makes it interesting in fun!!! For me, I’m a big fan of Nightwish, a symphonic metal band, I just love them !!! But in general I like rock and metal.

JS: Its a touch of this and that, reminding you of the grunge years and the countless sub genres stretching to and beyond rock. Most importantly it is a breath of fresh air, original and meaningful. Every note played with a specific purpose and intention from dynamically soft to chaotically hard and that is evident in Tarah's finger's. I have had fingers bleed as well over time, however Tarah's fingers continue to bleed upon constant use and driving strumming. Tarah drives Coralie and I to play harder and louder than ever before. We play hard, we play loud and we play with purpose!!!
 
TGC: Well, first of all, thank you for taking the time to listen! I personally love punk music. I am a big fan of the Distillers and Motörhead. I like fast paced guitars and driving drums so I try to write fun, up beat music like that. People on the road have said repeatedly " you guys sound like "If Motörhead was fronted by Alanis Morissette" and I think that is the best description that we have ever got! It makes total sense too: I grew up listening to Alanis Morissette, so I am sure that I was influenced by her style of writing (autobiography), but I am more a rock, punk person, and I do prefer heavier sounds like Pantera, Lemmy, and again Brody Dalle, L7, Tool etc.. We don't try to sound like any of those influences but I am sure that my ears are naturally trained to produce, bassy grungy, distorted sounds like this! I like to play fast, I like to feel the energy, and sweat, Joey mentioned my fingers bleeding on stage, it is true and I love it! I don't do it on purpose, but when I happens, I know I played hard, and I love that feeling.
I write to let my emotions, and anger out, but I am not an angry person! I am actually very calm and chilled, which surprises a lot of people! I just think it's fun to play fast and Rock out to be honest! If you are into Mosh pit, dancing, screaming and having a good time, then come to the party!

Obviously there is not only punk but many other genres that blend into your music.
How is your song born? From lyrics or music?

CH : Tarah does everything instruments by herself, she records the demos and give them to Joey and I.
That give us the main idea of the song and the main grooves and riffs. Tarah let us bring our own playing to the songs and it is just amazing!!
 
TGC: Well, it is kind of weird.. it is sort of an impulse. I never push for inspiration or writing. I let it come to me. It comes like a burst of emotions, usually from built up anger or disappointments and I "explode" into tears and put everything down into words. I like to actually write it down so I always carry a pen and paper because I never know when it is going to happen, but I like to feel my muscles get tight and tired in my hand. When I am done, I write the time and date and I let it sit for a while. Sometimes days, other times weeks. I come back to it with a guitar in hand and I just play around and usually, at this point I have the music in my head. The whole song, drums, bass, guitar, some backing vocal ideas and occasionally a lead guitar or other melody. Like Coralie mentioned, I make a demo out of it just so that I can present it to Coralie and Joey, and so that they know which intentions I want for the song. I tell them what it is about so that they know how to interpret the song. I find it important for the stage performance, especially if they can relate to the story. The good thing is that they are both really sensitive as well, so they sympathise with most topics, which helps with their playing, and knowing how to feel the notes. Then we work on the songs and sometimes, Joey or Coralie, who have better chops than I do with their instrument, suggest a few changes or ideas, as long as it doesn't affect the emotions of the songs, we discuss it. Working with Jason is also very helpful because he doesn't touch the song but he comes up with great arrangement ideas: Backing vocals, lead guitars, catchy melodies etc...
Then we record the songs, and magic always happens in the studio. Sounds that we never thought of suddenly appear, accidents that we choose to keep, etc.. 

I could not help but notice the song "Pay to Play", a subject that is very close to my heart, following an Italian band as a manager, I have been subjected to offers at exorbitant prices.
Obviously I am for no pay to play.
As musicians, how do you live this sort of 'exploitation'?

JS : Lead by example. We do not participate in the racket known as "pay to play". We do not support venues who do and refuse to take gigs that are. We almost played The Well in Brooklyn until we arrived, the door guy wouldn't let us in without paying $150 upfront... what a scam... we walked down the street and jumped on a bill last minute and had a great show! Thank you Wayward Social!!!
 
TGC: We avoid it like the pest! Pay to play is WRONG. Musicians should NOT accept those gigs, and people who support musicians should ASK their friends "The ticket I am buying, does it go to YOU? or the venue?" Most people don't even know that their friends that they are supporting are not getting anything for their performance. Pay to play, or selling tickets, or getting paid after X amount of people have showed up,or one of my favorite: "sell tickets to play with famous-in-the -80s- band but can't bring anyone out anymore, you will get some EXPOSURE" type of deal...  it is ALL WRONG and a different type of pay to play.
So, we are very much against it, we avoid it. When we book a show, we ask for the deal and we say no to any type of pay to play. If a pay to play agency or venue contacts us, they usually don't respond, after hearing our song "Pay to Play" :)
It is rare nowadays that a pay to play promoter contacts me, i have to say...

Music in internet era, pros and contras? Don't you find somethings went lost respect to the curiosity to find out new bands, new album looking for stuff in record shops?

CH : With internet it’s really easy to discover and listen to new music. But at the same time, people don’t buy records anymore and prefer to download online so it’s a big con.

JS: It is good for people to see your band and hear your music but it can be bad because that content must be free for people to see it and that is not sustainable.
 
TGC: Internet is a pro for any independent musician who is trying to make it and who is not being noticed by majors, but because the internet is available to everyone, it is very hard to stand out. There is way more competition, and sometimes, you can be really good at promoting yourself, but your music sucks or vice versa, you're an amazing musician but you have not idea how to handle the rest. It is good the get the music out there. I think that is definitely something, how could we, at our level make this happen otherwise? I think that it helps us get the words out, and you have to stay creative and consistent to spread the word out about what you do. Don't expect to make money out of this online, but thanks to the internet, you can also promote your shows, and and hopefully get people to come out, because this is where the money is for musicians today.
I agree with you, when you say that something is lost. I personally still buy CDs from bands that I like. Well, also because I drive a really old SUV and I only have a CD player!!lol! I still like to hold the product, and look at the artwork and touch the pages and read through every name that band is thankful for. I am pretty old school when it comes to that.
The digital is convenient and fast, saves on some pressing costs, which is convenient at times. We only press merch (Tshirts and CDs) for our tours, and people are still very much into hold the album and getting it signed, so that is good

Who wants to listen to you live, do you have any dates scheduled?

CH : We gonna have a residency at the Redwood in January and one in Tarzana in February. We will be on tour to promote our upcoming EP ''64 Women’’ in the South in March and we will be in Europe in the summer.
 
TGC: So, most of our demographics are male over 30 years old which always surprises me because I thought that Women would also like to see a female drummer and female lead singer outside of the pop stars, but there is nothing more flattering to me, than a tough biker who comes up to you after the show and says "hey! pretty cool shit! I haven't heard good music in a long time! at least you guys play every note!"
Our next show is at the Satellite on dec. 27, 2018 . This will be our last for this year. Then we have that residency that Coco is talking about in downtown LA, show in Tarzana, then we are touring the southwest, europe,  and back to the east and west coast hitting up Canada! Woot Woot! We have a very busy year ahead of us and it is super exciting. Definitely follow us on instagram @tarahwho that is where all the news happen and we like to go live once in a while, in case we are not headed your way. Also songkick or bandsintown @tarahwho

 

To conclude the interview say something important that hasn’t said before.

CH : Do what you want and rock on !!!

JS : Rock n roll and see you on the road!!!

TGC: Be yourself, and don't waste your time trying to be someone else or please someone else. Life is too short to worry about what people think, do what you love, believe in yourself, and be kind to others.


Tarah G. Carpenter (TGC): Vocals, Guitar
Joey Southern (JS): Bass, Backing Vocals
Coralie Hervé (CH): Drums, Backing Vocals

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Tarah Who? - "Bitchcraft" (Ep: Federal Circle of Shame) Official Video