Last Tuesday (Aug 28th), I sat down with pop-rock band Carolina Liar before they opened for The Fray and Kelly Clarkson at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. This was an interesting one for me as the band has roots originating from South Carolina and Sweden. I spent some time living in Sweden and was anxious to meet up with some artists from the country I call my second home.
You may recognize hit singles such as ‘I’m Not There’ and ‘Show Me What I’m Looking For’ from Carolina Liar’s first album, Coming to Terms. Just last year, the band independently released their second album, Wild Blessed Freedom, that introduces a newer sound and direction.
The band, (Chad Wolf – vocals/guitar, Rickard Göransson – guitar, Johan Karlsson – bass/keyboards, and Peter Karlsson – drums.) gave us an amusing look into their history, and talked about their new sound, current tour and upcoming plans.
Check out what they had to say below:
You guys make up an interesting group of musicians. Chad’s from South Carolina and the rest of the band is from Sweden. How did that come to be?
[Chad] I actually met Johan first in Stockholm. I came over to work on this project with Max Martin and he was recommended to me. And then it was through Johan that I met Peter and Rick.
Sweet, you know any Swedish, Chad?
[Chad] (laughs) A little bit. All the dirty words at least.
Any funny stories you guys can tell me about your time in Stockholm?
[Chad] The first night that Johan and I got together I lit myself on fire and got kicked out of a restaurant.
[Johan] Just a typical night right? (laughs)
On fire?! That sounds awesome…tell me more?
[Johan] Back then you could smoke indoors; some guy smoking was standing next to Chad and had lit his scarf on fire by mistake. I remember telling him, “man you’re on fire” and Chad was like “yeah I know! I’m awesome!”… and me, “no man you’re on fire, your SCARF IS ON FIRE!”.
[Chad] Yeah I think that was about the time I was double fisting some weird green vodka they were giving out.
Hahaha, just another day in Stockholm right?
[Johan] Yup, come party with us?
So it looks like you all get along great. Between all of you though, there must be some interesting contrast in musical influence considering your different origins.
[Chad] I think it’s one of those ‘melting pot things’ where we’ve all come together. We have so much variety to pull from and can access it at anytime. Everyone at this point kind of knows what parts they would play and we all kind of listen to the same stuff. It’s interesting to see how the kinds of things you play become part of your genetic makeup.
Touring with the Fray and Kelly Clarkson throughout the last month must be really exciting. Any memorable moments so far?
[Chad] Along with amazing crowds to play for I have to say the waterslide day was most memorable. That was pretty impressive. We had a parking lot party where we had a two storey waterslide set up for the whole crew to enjoy. Everyone was doing cannon balls during sound checks.
Your latest album, Wild Blessed Freedom has a much larger sound from your first album, Coming to Terms. I really liked your first album. Why the change?
[Chad] The idea was Atlantic Records didn’t feel like we had any more singles left on Coming to Terms – so they wanted us to give them something new and ‘Top 40 Radio’. And that’s what we aimed to give them with Wild Blessed Freedom. As with many artists, there’s always that difference between the band and the label. And that’s what it all came down to. They didn’t necessarily like where we came from with our second album and held onto it for some time. That’s when we made the decision and asked them if we could take the album back on our own.
That’s interesting, so you took the album and decided to release it independently?
[Chad] Yeah, we released it last September and we’ve been giving a good push to get back out there and tour. It finally feels like it’s gotten some wheels now. It’s definitely a different record. Different feel, different world.
That sounds great – what has the response been from listeners?
[Chad] It’s been pretty good – the fans that have been loyal since the beginning have been awesome. They stuck with us on our Facebook and website too. The tricky part has been connecting to the new audience without label support since we’re such a different sound from the first record. This is such a ‘produced’ record – you can’t really play these songs to a small crowd. It sounds like it needs to work on a large level.
So what bands are you guys listening to right now?
[Chad] we’ve actually been listening to a bunch of old country stuff. Our bus driver loves it and we’re constantly pulling stuff like Lefty Frizzel – rootsy stuff which has been cool. Oh, and a lot of Ween. We had a Ween party the other day.
Lefty Frizzel and Ween? Now that’s definitely a different sound from your own.
[Chad] Oh yeah – it’s a totally different world which is great because sometimes it’s the best way to clean your ears out and find something that’s completely opposite from where you’re coming from.
So there’s only a couple weeks left in your tour. What’s the next step for you?
[Chad] Hopefully the idea is to release a little EP and feed it through the fan sites and maybe offer it for free! It’ll probably have some live tracks and some stuff we’ve done in the studio in its rawest form. Thought is to put it out and let it be as something artistic and show where we’re coming from. I don’t know if we’d do another full length album as you don’t necessarily need to do that anymore. It would be fun to just keep working while we’re touring. Maybe come out with a new single that we’d put out for radio later on in the year or early 2013.
That sounds exciting! So what’s the biggest thing you want everyone to know about Carolina Liar?
[Chad] That’s a good question…
[Johan] I’d say it’s probably Peter (points to Peter Karlsson).
[Rickard] Yeah definitely Peter.
[Chad] Haha, he’s the biggest thing about Carolina Liar.
[Me] Nice, the biggest thing to come out of Sweden?
[Peter] (agrees pleasantly)
For my last question – some of our readers have asked us if we have a name for our orange dinosaur in our logo. I have no idea what to name it. Any suggestions?
[Chad] Ohhh he looks psychedelic… what’s a good Swedish Name?
[Johan] ‘Kuk Huvud’
[Me] …that sounds familiar…what does it mean?
[Johan] “Dick Head’
[Chad] Haha, it’s kind of cool – very arrogant rock and roll.
[Me] (laughs) Sweet, Chris and Karl blogging about Toronto with ‘Kuk Huvud’ the Dinosaurus Rex.
[All] (laughs out loud)
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Download: Carolina Liar on iTunes