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10 Quick Ones with TARAH WHO? – October 2017

According to a recent press release: “The mind, soul, rock’n roll heart beat and operator behind ‘Tarah Who?’ is French / American Singer & Multi-Instrumentalist (drummer, guitarist & bassist) Tarah G. Carpenter. Born in Paris, Tarah got her first drum set at age 14 and shortly after began playing the bass, and the guitar. After performing drums and bass in Paris for a few years,in several bands, Tarah decided to travel to Los Angeles to explore the music scene. Tarah answered an ad on craigslist “looking for an artist to perform original songs at a warehouse Party Downtown”. After performing solo for the first time, the songs she had secretly written on the guitar, she decided she wanted to do her own music and started playing under the moniker ‘Tarah Who?’.” We get Tarah G. Carpenter (Vocals, Guitar), Matt Peltcher (Bass, B/G Vocals), and Coralie Hervé (Drums, B/G Vocals) to answer our 10 Quick Ones about new music, their influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Tarah: That is such an excellent question! Yes, I think that die-hard fans will understand the sense of humor. Tarah Who? Is very loud, energetic, we like to entertain and our shows are really fun, we like to make people dance, and get our fans excited. That’s what you would get at our shows. If you listen to us online, you either are going to like it or dislike it. Our shows are quite different, a lot of people that are not into rock, come to see us just for the experience. Once they come a few times, just to see the show, they get hooked to our tunes and appreciate our recordings. I write a lot about current events, whether they are personal (interactions with people- experiences, thoughts, perceptions and observations) or general, like hearing the news, and being touched by what I heard that just happened (Paris attacks or hearing that a mother drowned her 14 months old etc…) The lyrics are usually pretty dramatic because I write in a moment of sadness most of the time or anger. The music is 90% fast-paced guitars, with heavy driving drums played by Coralie and Low bass by Matt. Each EP or released album has a “slow” song, that’s either really sad, or kind of dark. Half Middle Child Syndrome has an easy listening song called “Little Pieces” that I wrote as a joke because I was in a moment in my life where too much was happening to me and everyone around me let me down. I realize that writing this makes it sound really childish (a lot of things happen to a lot of people every day!) but you know how it is when you are in the situation. My girlfriend at the time was cheating on me while I was away, touring, my roommate and really good friend back then totally covered for her, my band mate let me down and never showed up to record at the studio so I ended up recording the whole album on my own (which was probably a blessing in disguise), My house got broken into TWICE!!, I went out with a friend and got roofied! I mean… the list goes on! So “Little Pieces” is about all of those little incidents that happened during that year, and they kept on coming! At that point, it was just comical ” alright… what’s next! bring it on!” and the full title is “Little Pieces… of shit in plural”.

Matt: Wow Tarah, that’s some really crazy shit that happened to inspire “Little Pieces”!  Yea, Half Middle Child Syndrome is pretty angry E.P. with some humor tossed in just for fun.  The music’s intensity matches the intensity of the lyrics.  The lyrics are jam packed with meaning and I highly recommend anyone to listen to the songs over and over to really hear everything that the songs have to say.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Tarah: I actually don’t remember thinking about it. I was always drawn to playing the drums. I remember wanting to play the drums and the bass for the longest time. I have so much fun playing the drums, it’s a real passion, and I really enjoy the bass as well. The guitar for me is the instrument I write with. I am definitely less obsessed with guitars than I am with the drums. I started playing at the age of 14, I had several bands playing the drums and bass. It’s when I moved to Los Angeles in 2006 that I started my solo project that is today Tarah Who?. I never really planned anything, I was just doing it, going step after step. I didn’t grow up thinking I want to be a musician. I just played. I always played or listened to music. I actually never thought of doing anything else. I was never really into school, I never had any other career plans… After high school, I just played more and more!

Matt: When I was a kid I would have to play an instrument if I saw one.  Best class was music class.  Half the time, if I wasn’t talking about music I would be playing music.  I wanted to be in band in school so bad I took whatever instrument was available and it ended up being the trumpet.  In high school, I was so jazzed when friends of mine wanted to form a band.  When I finally discovered the bass guitar and the beautiful low tones and range I fell in love.  I do play other instruments, nothing is off limits, but I knew this was the instrument I wanted to play in a band.  I formed my first band playing bass with my best friend, who sang and played guitar, and then finding a drummer to be a complete band.  It was more like a moment I realized I could just be a musician, play with other musicians in a rock band and play gigs at local venues all in one shot.

Coralie: I was doing a lot of sports and I had a problem with my heels so I had to stop. That’s why I turn myself into musicians specially drums. It’s when I was in high school that I realized I wanted to do that as my job.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Tarah: I have to start with Alanis because she was a big influence during my teenager years. Then the Distillers, and pretty much anything 90s. Pantera, Motorhead, Early Foo Fighters and Hole. I like music that is raw, or real. I am actually pretty eclectic, as long as the artist is true to their art and themselves. I have a lot of respect for people that believe in themselves and totally go for it. I am less into pop music unless I want to party and dance. I love to drive with country music, don’t judge me. Country music puts me in my happy calm place! I used to be big on electro and raves..I like to have fun. When you watch someone perform, you can tell if they are having a good time, and that is contagious. Don’t you think?

Matt: I have loved The Cure and Depeche Mode for ever and ever. They both are incredible live.  Nirvana was an eye-opener for me.  This “new” thing called “grunge” …intense, raw and real.  Joy Division made me want to play music, their dark lyrics and sound gave me chills.  The Smashing Pumpkins wrote music that had so many highs and lows, it would take you on a roller coaster ride.  The common denominator is that each of these bands created music that became the sound track of my life.  I would listen over and over, writing down what I thought the lyrics were, sing along and try to imitate the music I heard.  I would seriously think about and analyze music almost all the time when I was growing up.  At the time, I just thought I was just really enjoying music but had a huge effect on my inner passion as a musician. I have also been influenced also by some 70’s~80’s rock, progressive metal and classical music. If it’s good music, it’s fine by me.

Coralie:  When I started drums some friends of mine who were older showed me AC/DC and all that kind of stuff. So, I’ll say AC/DC, Guns’N’Roses. I really liked it that was so great!!! Some years later my uncle showed me this band called Nightwish, and that changed my life. They are my favorite band and I discovered this style, symphonic metal, and I love it!! More recently I’m listening Battle Beast, it’s just so great!!

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

Tarah: I would have loved to work with Lemmy but it won’t happen. Brody is my next first choice. Although collaborating is not really my forte… I don’t mind playing with or in other bands, I don’t mind inviting people to sing with us on “Pay to Play” or having guitar players jump in on certain songs live. Collaboration in Tarah Who? is another story… When I started writing music for Tarah Who? I was “influenced” a lot by musicians or producers I was working with. I never dared to tell those guys what I didn’t like or if i disagreed. At the same time, I can’t fake it. When I am really happy, you can tell and when I don’t like something, you can also tell! It’s just not a good environment when you can’t be open or you can’t express yourself because you don’t want to offend anybody’ s ego. I “wasted” a lot of time and money, not daring or not speaking up my mind. Today i realized that it actually made me stronger and way more confident with my choices for my music. Because of that, I am more careful with whom I chose to work with. To answer your question, I would be open to collaborate with anyone on other projects or for one song, but I don’t feel the same about Tarah Who?.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

Tarah: We are a very energetic, 90’s grunge, garage, cow-punk Rock band! Does that sell you? Fast-paced guitars, driving drums, lots of screaming, it will definitely motivate you to run or drive faster! People give us a couple of listens before getting hooked. I have also heard a few now hard-core fans saying ” I listened online and thought… ok… I don’t get it… but I ll check them out, my friend is going, but I really loved the shows. The songs sound different live” Which I agree and disagree. It’s not that it sounds different, because we play the same thing but our intentions are way stronger. It is live performance, you are going to FEEL our songs and passion. We are going to scream way more and you are going to want to scream too! We are going to make you jump or at least head bang if you are that shy! We have a lot of fun and it’s very exciting to see people enjoying our music and smiling. It motivates us to give better shows. There a few songs that I wasn’t really into at a first listen but then I heard it live and now listening to that song takes me back to that moment in the show. Tarah Who? is kinda like that. Our last show at the Viper, I received a bunch of messages from fans saying that they were still “high” from the show. Those are the best times.

Matt: Loud, intense, angry, tight, heavy, straight-up punk-rock, grunge, cow-punk has been used to describe Tarah Who?  I’ve heard from fans that our music, considering the genre, is very well composed.  There is shouting and yelling and a whole lot of fun at our live shows.  If you like fast and intense punk/grunge rock music then you will like Tarah Who?

Coralie:  That’s hard!! Because for me Tarah Who?’s music is a mix of several genres like rock, punk or even alternative but at the same time is unique. So, I’ll let people choose what genre we are.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Tarah: Hmmm… For me, I am just doing my thing really… I feel really depressed when I can’t play. I get extremely bored and cranky actually because I’d rather be in a studio playing. I find everything else boring and I could not care less about anything… When I get to play every day, I feel the opposite, I get my fix, so I am happy, very satisfied, so I can be very social and meet a lot of people. I love to listen to people and to their stories. People can be really fascinating! I think what I love about being a musician, is to be able to express myself. I use playing and writing like a therapy. I think music also made me who I am today. You meet a lot of people, on tour, or in different projects. The more you play the more you build a music identity for yourself, you have a sound and that’s your identity. I love being a musician, I love every aspect of it. I love writing, I love rehearsing, I love recording (from a simple idea, a riff, to a complete song… the process is just mind blowing every time! It makes you proud you know?) I love performing and I love touring. Meeting people, all around the world, and meeting our fans and seeing which song works where. It’s different in every country and It’s really fun to see people reacting to songs very differently. The best part of being a musician is having a project that you believe in and seeing it grow. You create music and inspire people. It’s very powerful when you think about it. Someone told me once ” I was down, and I listened to your songs and It boosted me, thank you, I needed that!” That’s the best feeling in the world! you help people feel better thanks to your music!

Matt: I love being on stage playing with my band mates at the same time that I am playing my heart out for the audience.  The stage is where I feel alive.  Performing live is why we work so hard…to fully entertain our fans.  The adrenaline we feel on stage gets passed along to the crowd as they take it all in.  I love when the audience then feeds that energy back to us making for an even more intense experience.  Touring is a lot of hard work as well but who else but us musicians get to travel from city to city to play live!  It all sounds so crazy but I love it and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.

Coralie: You can express yourself like you want and really be yourself. Say to people what you think or believe through the music, something that most people enjoy. As a musician, you experience a lot of things, most of the time fun, discover the world and people, different cultures…

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Tarah: Fuck singalongs! ha-ha! Oh man, please no! there is a time and place to play! I can’t stand being at a party and you’re either the only musician so people expect you to play, or there is a musician who feels the need to entertain. I can’t stand that shit! Pardon my French. 😉 If we are a bunch of musicians, yes, we are probably going to end drunk, switching instruments and start a new band for the night. Yes, this happens a lot! Only if we are a bunch of musicians from different bands. When Coralie, Matt and I hang out, we usually hang out with pizza and a couple of beers or Jameson by the pool. Very chilled. I used to host big parties, I love making cocktails, and I am a PRO at getting people drunk. I do love to cook, but I am a pretty serious cook. I need a big kitchen and I need to get in the zone. Those are for adult like dinners and parties! I used to live with my old bandmates and I was always cooking, that was a different type of cooking that was not fun. I was just being everyone’s mom, and that is NOT cool! This won’t happen again! (Guys? do you hear me?! don’t count on me for the upcoming tours!) No, when we hang out, we like to get tattoos 😉

Matt: What?!? No, we don’t do sing-alongs.  When hanging out we are our usually silly ass-selves, making each other laugh with the stupidest shit but we really enjoy each other’s company.  We hang out at music stores, go to see shows…well duh, obviously we do A LOT of music related activities together.  I think it’s really a big deal that band members are close and get along.  I don’t know how we could be our best on stage without being connected on a personal level.  Mind you we do have personal lives with our loved ones who we are deeply connected to but we, as a band, spend a lot of time together and it does begin to feel like family…a musical family!  I need my band mates and they need me. How the hell are we supposed to do this crazy rock n’ roll band thing all by ourselves.  Thank you Tarah and Coralie!

Coralie: We like to hang out around some pizza, beers for them and coke for me (the drink of course!!) like Tarah said. But I would like her to cook because apparently, she likes it LOL. We will see how it goes 😉

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Tarah: You know, I never think about this because when I feel like I am going to throw up. I am not even kidding, I just thought about this because you asked and I started feeling sick. There are a lot of things that I like as a hobby but none of those things are career secure: Photography, Martial Arts, Painting, Hiking with my dog (no, I will not become a dog sitter or dog trainer!), Buddhism, psychology, traveling etc. You know what I mean? There is just nothing that I can think of that I can be ” oh yeah, if music doesn’t work out, I can do this”. Even in music, there are careers that I am not into, I am not interested in becoming an engineer, or a teacher or manager … Technically I already do all of this, I manage Tarah Who? I book us and other bands, we are all promoters, etc… We are not just musicians, there are a lot of other things that we have taught ourselves and keep teaching ourselves to make this all work and keep moving. I have learned and keep learning a lot about recording, the music business, promoting, marketing, branding, filming, editing, etc. I wouldn’t want to do anything that takes me away from my music.

Matt: I’ve always wanted to teach, if I weren’t a musician.  I feel like instructors are some of the most valuable individuals in society and, unfortunately, not adequately compensated for their invaluableness. Also, like music, I have this itching desire to “teach”.  I would teach either music, math or philosophy.  Once I tutored Algebra to an 80-year-old woman, who was attending junior college, and she told me I was the only one who got her to really understand Algebra.  It was so gratifying, you know…I helped someone overcome a challenge in their life.  I think if I were to do something other than music it would have to be as gratifying as music is to me now.

Coralie: Hmm… Before thinking about being a musician I wanted to be an archeologist so I’ll say that. I like history, to know what was before us… But now that I do music, I cannot think of doing something different, it’s my life now and I’ll never change that.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

Tarah: There are things that I think “I wish I had done it differently” and then I think about it more and I go “Actually no, I wouldn’t change anything because I have learned so much from that experience, that, hadn’t I have gone through it, I would probably be dealing with it now, and I really don’t have time for those little moments these days. I have no regrets, I have met amazing people and others that were disappointing experiences, but either way, you try. You can’t make everything work, and most importantly nothing is permanent. So, enjoy the ride while it is happening. Don’t think about anything too much and as soon as you stop feeling excited or having fun, move on. This goes for music, but for life in general… People stick to what they know or what (or who) they are used to, but there is SO much going on in this world, it is actually pretty amazing. You can’t experience it all, but you should definitely try everything, and remember to be happy. Focus on the things that make you happy, and don’t worry about anything that is not happening! I have lost a few friends because of music. I am still in very good terms with most of the people I have worked with in the past, others that have too much pride or too big of an ego to realize or just admit that … it really doesn’t matter. I don’t hold grudges… We are only human. People make mistakes… whatever. I don’t care. As long as you own it. Whatever it is that you have done. Be honest.  If you care about the music as much as you said you did, you would know you didn’t fit and that’s okay. We don’t all have to get along and be part of everything. It is impossible and it is also the beauty of this world in a way. Variety. I can’t help people from feeling what they feel towards us (ex-band mates) especially if they don’t see the reason why they are not in the band anymore. I am pretty fair and reasonable. I give a chance (many chances actually) to people, I am the kind of person who always finds excuses for you by putting myself in your shoes. I listen and understand, I believe in communicating, because there is no such thing as mind reading! You can GUESS or assume how people feel but you never actually KNOW so I always invite people to communicate their thoughts and emotions. People have different goals in lives, and moral codes. In the end, they live with their actions, lies, and shitty behaviors. Not me;) Everything that Tarah Who? has been through made us stronger, louder, than ever. We have a lot of support worldwide. I used to worry a lot about what an ex band member was going to say to our mutual friends or whatever… I have learned to trust people’s judgments. Turns out, when you keep on doing your own thing, people quickly realize and understand what went wrong. Stay true to yourself and people are not stupid. They know, they see, they make their own judgement until they have to go through a similar situation with the same person. I have been playing for over a decade now, and finally I stopped worrying about what people may say. I actually hear the opposite “I know you… I don’t care about what they said… I know it’s not what happened”. But people like to be victims. It is really hard and emotional to let go of a band member. Especially if you have been playing for a while together. It’s a horrible feeling and you never know if you are making the right decision (until it’s done). It’s like a break-up. It’s horrible. I used to be really close to my bandmates but I have learned to keep a certain distance. Matt, Coralie and I are still close, but there are things that I wouldn’t do anymore because I want and need to keep our relationship professional and with boundaries. Luckily, Coralie and Matt are mature, responsible, driven people so it’s not a difficult thing to do.

Matt:  I have regretted things in the past and wished I could do it over, but I have learned that regrets are actually quite pointless.  Your life took the course that it was meant to plain and simple.  Everything, like Tarah said, is a learning experience.  I prefer to look to the future and what choices I can make instead of looking back.

Coralie: No, not really.  I’m really proud of what I accomplished and make me be there in LA, that’s just like a dream came true and I hope it’s gonna continue like this.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Tarah: You know… I like what I write and I appreciate listening to the bands and artists that I like because they have made it. It’s their touch, their personality…That is what I find interesting. I like to see what they did and hear what they have to say. I wouldn’t want to go in there and change it, because it wouldn’t be the record I am enjoying today. Does that make sense? I was with Thomas Lang in Germany and we were talking with other drummers. I remember hearing one of the younger drummer say to Thomas that his goal was to play like Thomas Lang. So of course, I knew what he meant, with the techniques etc… who doesn’t want to be able to play like Thomas, right? I asked him “Like Thomas? exactly like Thomas?” just to tease him (he was like 14 years old if not younger) but then he really insisted that he wanted to be him. I asked him ” Why?… wouldn’t it be more interesting to be YOU, with similar technique? there is already a Thomas Lang. Why don’t you focus on being you and making your own sound behind the drums? there is only one YOU” He looked at me completely lost! lol!

Matt: Yea I agree with Tarah, I wouldn’t want to interfere with someone else’s art.  It would be different if I were invited to participate at the moment… but to go back I have to say no.  Now it might be interesting to be a “fly on the wall” in recording sessions of albums by Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins but I would much rather go into the studio with Tarah Who?.

Coralie: OMG that’s so hard to choose!! There are so many great records and amazing artists!! Actually, I’ll say Fallen by Evanescence because I really like this record and hear Amy Lee singing just next to you will be just an amazing experience.

TARAH WHO? LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

10 Quick Ones with TARAH WHO? - October 2017

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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