Friday, March 6, 2020

An EXCLUSIVE Q&A with CAROLINE ROSE



STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: SUPERSTAR is just about to be released. How are you feeling about how the album turned out and the reaction so far?
CAROLINE ROSE: Well, I guess it all feels like a big experiment and I’m excited to see what happens next! The reaction always seems to be better than I anticipate.

SPAZ: The album is a nice mix between sparkly ‘80s Pop and a less-glitzy modern Indie Electropop. There’s also plenty of musical nods to Soul, Experimental, Hip Hop, and ‘70s Rock/Pop. What inspired the musical direction of the album?
CAROLINE: I was sort of headed in this direction when I was finishing up the last record, LONER. I’ve always been impressed with how older records still sound big with so few parts. There is a real economy of space when you listen to say, a Quincy Jones record. It’s all about the groove. I love that because you are really making something out of very little. You’re building songs with a strong foundation because they have to be interesting, there’s no fancy production to hide behind.

SPAZ: Lyrically, the album focuses on an un-named character in search of their destiny. While the album isn’t autobiographical, did you insert incidents from your own life into the lyrics? Or is it easy for you to write from a different person’s point of view?
CAROLINE: Yeah, I definitely took a lot of creative liberties with the story line but it is 100% based on me. My anxieties and, well, really all my most grotesque traits are all over this album. I like to think of it as a movie in my head, where someone else is playing a version of me but really hamming it up for the camera.

SPAZ: When beginning the recording process, did you already have specific ideas in your head on how you wanted the songs to sound or did you let each track evolve organically?
CAROLINE: Yeah, I really had the whole idea for it very early on, but the songs still needed to be fit into the vision. That took some time because each track really represents a different side to the character and a particular feeling within the narrative. If something wasn’t working, I would either rework it to fit or just cut it and write something new.

SPAZ: Outside of music, what influenced this set of songs? Or was it a series of events that influenced the direction that the album was going to take?
CAROLINE: I think it happened pretty naturally. “Jeanne Becomes a Mom” was the last song I wrote off LONER and I feel like it pointed toward where I wanted to go next. I wasn’t done with this sort of character-study mentality. I knew I wanted to explore that idea more in depth but with more of a storyline to follow.


SPAZ: The album is a sequel to your 2018 album LONER. As an artist, did you approach each project differently in regard to writing and recording?
CAROLINE: I think of these two as a character study approach, where LONER is more of an introduction to this loner/loser person and we see vignettes of their personality and life. Kind of like each song is its own short film. I wanted to try one more thing with this idea, but instead of having a series of vignettes, I would basically make an album that plays out like a film from start to finish. SUPERSTAR feels like the filmic version of the idea. But yeah, I’ll probably move on from this approach on the next record and explore something different. Or maybe I could make an even cooler album-movie. We’ll see.

SPAZ: You recorded the album in your home studio and while out on tour. Did you allow the album to come together at its own pace or did you set a time limit for yourself?
CAROLINE: I try to have a pretty militant mentality about working. I have always been a serious person when it comes to work because I really require that direction in life. Sometimes creativity doesn’t happen, and you can’t force it, but usually when I wake up very, very early I’m at my most creative and will work until my brain shuts down.

SPAZ: The album evokes many moods. There’s optimism in the album opener “Nothing’s Impossible” but there’s a sense of uncertainty by the time “I Took A Ride” ends the album. However, in between those tracks, each song brings something unique to the project. The songs offer up slices of strength, fragility, anxiety, hope, and confidence. Did you spend a lot of time in creating those atmospheres on SUPERSTAR or did you just go with your gut and hope the listener connects with the songs?
CAROLINE: No, it was all done very purposefully. My number one goal is to make an album diverse enough that it prevents people from skipping any tracks and that tells an interesting story.

SPAZ: Is there a particular track that you feel works best as a ‘gateway’ track – on that best encapsulates the emotional core of the album?
CAROLINE: I think they all tell a piece of the story so it’s hard to say, but as far as the emotional journey that this person is going through, I’d say “I Took A Ride” probably dictates it best. It evokes a sense of being untethered, not knowing what your fate is or if you’ve made the right decisions. It also feels like a bit of a mental unraveling in my opinion.

SPAZ: What’s next for Caroline Rose?
CAROLINE: Lunch.

SPAZ: What have you been spinning lately on your record/CD players?
CAROLINE: Been spinning a lot of J Dilla lately. And Chopin.

Thanks to Caroline Rose

Additional thanks to Steve Dixon and Dave Rayburn


CAROLINE ROSE

SUPERSTAR

3.6.20

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