The Fake Carls: A Cool, Quirky & Sometimes Confusing Genre Of Their Own
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Using their friend Carl as their mascot, The Fake Carls have come to define themselves by their multi-pronged approach to music. It’s kind of folk, kind of funk, some singer-songwriter, and a bit alternative, but the sum of it all is very catchy and fun. Julie Wischan, the lead singer of the Louisiana-based band, took the time to fill us in on why Carl is their mascot and how they came to develop their unique sound.
Hey Carls, all of you, thanks for taking the time to speak with us! Right off the bat, could you tell us a little about how the band came together and where you’re from.
Steve and I (the founders of the band) are both from NH. We actually went to the same high school and both came down to New Orleans to study at Loyola. That’s where we met Carl our freshman year. The three of us hung out all the time and were pretty much inseparable. Sometimes we would play music in our dorm rooms together, but we never were serious about music.
Sophomore year Carl decided to transfer to a school closer to his home in Tacoma, Washington and that’s when Steve and I started writing music. When we had some songs written and decided to start performing them, we had to find a band name, which came from a time when Carl was still at Loyola with us. During “No Shave November,” both Carl and Steve had beards.
At a party, someone knew Carl but not Steve and addressed the two as, “Hey Carl. Hey…. Fake Carl.” Since Carl used to play music with us, we decided to tribute the band to him using that name. Most of our graphics are pictures of Carl. Him, his friends and his family all think it’s a little strange but also love the band and think it’s a hilarious concept.
At times your music seems to draw on funk elements and at others it seems to tend towards Folk. Have those two genres been the bands biggest musical influences?
The reason that the band sounds the way it does is because Steve and I have very different musical influences. I listen to a lot of singer/songwriter stuff as well as some folk and indie rock. Steve is more into straight rock as well as funk and blues. When we write music, a lot of times it’s hard to compromise those musical elements and it takes us a long time to finish songs we start because our tastes are so different. When we are finished, though, we feel that the songs we write are so much cooler than anything we could do separately.
Combining those elements and having different musical tastes are what makes our songs unique. It’s hard to define us under one genre, which can be confusing and alienate some of our fans at times but it also makes every song sound different, which a lot of people appreciate and we are proud of that fact.
The song of yours that we’re featuring is “Sabrina.” Could you give some insight as to how that song came about?
Sabrina was the second song we wrote and it was the easiest for us to put together. I wrote the lyrics and melody one day and immediately knew they were catchy because I had them stuck in my head all week. When I sang them for Steve he almost instantaneously came up with the folk-y guitar part, and in a few hours we had the song pretty much figured out.
One of the most interesting things about the song is that it seems to written to a woman and addressed to a woman as well. Did one of the guys write the song or was it an intentional choice on your part, Julie?
I write all the lyrics for the band and this song was inspired by a girl I had a crush on last year. Loyola particularly is a school that encourages you to explore your sexuality and not be limited by the norm. We are extremely lucky to go to a school that is so accepting based on race, religion, sexuality, etc. I think when I wrote this song it was a way of contributing to the community by saying it’s ok for a girl to be interested in another girl.
You released your EP, “For The Love of Carl,” earlier this year in April. What did you learn from that experience and what musical direction have you decided to go in since then? Are you sticking to your folk-funk roots?
This EP was entirely a DIY project: Steve recorded and mixed the songs for us, we worked on all our own album art and did the marketing and release schedule ourselves. We also planned an EP release show that was moderately successful. I guess what we’ve learned from the experience is that it’s hard work. There were a lot of late nights, a lot of angry messages to each other when we didn’t agree, and a lot of tension in the weeks prior to the release hoping everything would be done on time. But because so many problems arose and the experience was pretty stressful, we’ve learned how to troubleshoot a lot better. For our next release we will be so much better prepared. Hopefully (:
What projects do The Fake Carls have lined up? Are you recording a new EP right now or is the band more focused on lining up show dates?
We’ve been taking it easy on shows to do some more writing and recording. We’re releasing a single on Dec. 5th and there will be a music video for that song released in early January, so that’s been our primary focus right now. We’ve also been in the studio laying down some basic tracks for the rest of our songs so that we can get a head start on another EP next semester, but we have a lot of work to do before then.
Since the band has been together, what’s one of the bands favorite memories? It could be a great show that you played or the recording of your EP. Anything that stands out.
Our favorite memory collectively was the EP release show. It was so cool, so many people showed up, and it was awesome to play for all our friends and have all our hard work pay off. Another favorite memory has to do with our drummer, Randy. He struggles with his blood sugar and he always has a sandwich handy. At one of our first shows as a full band at The Prytania Bar, he started eating his sandwich in the middle of one of our songs because he thought it was over. All of us looked back wondering why there were no drums and there he was, with a mouth full of sandwich. We still joke about it all the time. (:
More recently, we were in the studio for 8 hours recording some basic tracks of all our songs. It was exhausting but so much fun hanging out together. We ordered Chinese food for dinner while we were there and when we hit a wall and were having a hard time finishing the last two songs, we all took “shots” of soy sauce to shock us back to life. It was disgusting, but thats another memory we’re fond of.
Alright, before we sign off, let’s let the fans get to know The Fake Carls a bit better. What’s one thing each of you enjoy doing outside of the band?
Steve, guitarist: He records and mixes all of our songs and works in the studio recording other bands. He also is a part of an organization called NOLA Sound, which sets up sound equipment for live shows. When he graduates he hopes to enter a career doing these two things.
Randy, drummer: Randy also works in the studio recording other bands and he enjoys eating sandwiches and just generally being outside. Recently, all the boys have been playing ultimate frisbee together on the weekends.
Caleb, bassist: Caleb is a chemistry major at Loyola so he spends a lot of his time studying for that, it’s a hard major. He enjoys brewing his own beer. His Mardi Gras ale last year was amazing!
Julie, vocalist: I really enjoy doing the graphics for our band, I think its fun to find awkward pictures of Carl and incorporate them into our logos and posters. Outside of the band, I’ve made this awesome group of friends here in New Orleans and we love hitting up our favorite bar, Snake and Jakes. I’m also working on starting up a music video company.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us! Where can readers go to find your music?
All our music is on bandcamp: http://thefakecarls.bandcamp.com