Interview: Tarah Who?

1. How did your band get started?

Joey Southern: Tarah G. Carpenter contacted me 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 message seemed strange and it went unanswered for six days. The idea rolled around in my head enough and I decided to give it a listen. Two weeks later we left for a west coast tour!

Tarah G. Carpenter: Ha!! Yes..! I started the musical project Tarah Who? in 2006 when I moved to Los Angeles. I worked with a lot of musicians and producers until now. Over a year ago now, Coralie joined the band, and 6 months ago Joey joined us. Gosh! writing it down on paper seems like it has not been long enough, but after all that we have been through together, it feels like we have known each other for such a long time!
2. What inspired you to go into this genre?

JS: Always wanting to play music that makes people move. Either moshing around or just bobbing your head. The energy is contagious in a room.

TGC: I don’t really think about a particular genre of music when I write. I have a lot of emotions, and I try to transcribe them as they come out. I don’t like cheezy, happy poppy songs. If you hear us play happy pop, it is most likely a song, I wrote ironically. For instance “Little pieces” from our previous EP “Half Middle Child Syndrome” is very pop, nice, and cute. It is on purpose, to make fun of a situation I was going through at the time. A series of unfortunate events that happened one after another. Generally, I like to play fast, otherwise, I get bored, and I don’t like to hear my vocals soft and cute. I don’t consider myself a singer. I tell you my story, or I share my feelings and thoughts. It is just my way of expression. We don’t try to sound like anyone. Everything that is played is because of what the song is about.

3. Who are your inspirations that have shaped the sound of the band and how so?

CH: I joined the band a year ago. So the sound of Tarah Who? was already there, but I think that every musician has his/her own style that adds something to the music. I’ll say that Tarah Who?’s sound will always be evolving, regarding of the musicians playing in it and their inspirations.

JS: Fans on the road after gigs said, “Sounds like Motorhead with Alanis Morissette vocals!”

TGC: I grew up listening to Alanis Morissette, then I discovered Motorhead, Pantera, The Distillers, Foo Fighters, Hole, RATM etc… But like I said before, I don’t write to sound like anyone I listen to. You probably can hear similarities. Like Joey mentioned, a few people have told us after shows that we sound like “If Motorhead was fronted by Alanis Morissette!” well, yeah… NAILED IT! I don’t really hear it, but I can see why… My lyrics are very personal, and raw. The music is fast paced, in the low range … others have asked me if I like “The Distillers” which I totally do! I am totally stuck in the 90s. I like to play every note that we hear. I like it loud, raw, and full of life and energy.

4. What is the creative process your band takes when making an album?

Coralie Hervé: Tarah is writing the music and the lyrics of each song. She’s making the demos of every instrument herself. After that, she sends us the demos and some instructions about how the song should sound like and the structure of it. It’s at that moment that we add our own style, Joey and I while respecting what Tarah has in mind. It’s just amazing to let us bring our own style to her music !!

JS: Tarah gives us the intention and story behind the song. Coralie Herve and I then add our personalities into the playing and hours later we have more Tarah Who?

TGC: Yes, after working with a lot of musicians and producers in the past, I want to make sure that the essence of the song is not lost by anyone’s ego. An emotion can be easily lost when everyone starts to bring something in and then you don’t even recognize your song. I am very lucky to be surrounded by 2 professional, smart, and dedicated musicians who are open-minded, and able to listen and work at the service of the music, and the project. Coralie is an amazing drummer. I started by playing the drums as well, so it is really nice to communicate with her. I don’t have the same skills so when I have an idea that I can’t play, she can easily do it, and most of the time she adds a little Coco style to it and it sounds even better. Joey works the same way. It is hard to work with men sometimes. As a female musicians and female leader, men don’t like to be told, or they just assume that as men, they now or play better. I don’t feel this way with Joey at all. He listens, he has amazing bass skills. He has a great attitude and overall is just an amazing human being. I love working with Coralie and Joey. I love working on new songs because they don’t judge. We are in rehearsal to work on sounds and make things work, and together we can really grow. We know where we stand and we move forward together as a team. We support each other to make things work and we are comfortable enough to suggest ideas. I love these guys. Working with them, I am confident, I can rely on them and I can focus on my own sound, and write more songs:)

5. Lyrically speaking, what inspires the themes that are written about in your music?

JS: Although I feel this is better answered by Tarah G. Carpenter, I do relate to the lyrics in my everyday life of struggle and past trauma.
TGC: I mostly write when I am hurt. So it is usually personal, but I write in a way that anyone can relate to the story. I like to live on a “put yourself in their shoes before criticizing their choices or lifestyles” basis. I write my stories, and everyone can relate or feel touched, maybe people can be kinder to each other.
I also write when events touch me. For instance, “Sirens” (“Half Middle Child Syndrome” EP) is about the Paris attacks, “14 Months” (“Federal Circle of Shame” EP) is about a story that I have heard on the news about a mother who had drowned her 14 months old baby… So yeah.. could be anything or anyone, but It is usually a feeling of anger or sadness.

6. Competition in any music scene is high, so how does your band stand out compared to other bands?

JS: Staying true to ourselves while entertaining and creating a raw mix of rippling energy in any room.

TGC: I agree with what Joey says. We are not trying to be someone else. The only thing that we can do is to be who we are. So that is what we do. We believe in our music and we have fun doing it. I personally do not have time to compare myself with others. If anything, we love meeting other bands because we are all doing the same thing. If anyone feels threatened then they are not playing music for the right reason. If you believe in your art and what you have to say, it is your own. No one can steal that from you. If anyone tries, It is not authentic anyway and it is not going to last. You are correct, there is a lot of competition.. but to me, it’s not competition, it is insecurity. and that … truthfully, it is not my problem.
One of our last shows in Brooklyn, at tender trap, was a great example of what the music scene should be everywhere: SUPPORTIVE BANDS: bands that share their gear, bring people for everyone (not just their set), bands who spend time in rehearsal studios so that their shows sound tight. Band who spend time writing songs and not copying other bands! Every band that played at tender trap that night had their own sound, was effin’ tight! and super cool! We had a blast! This is how the music scenes should be EVERYWHERE!

7. What is your dream tour? Name however many bands you want to create the perfect tour.

CH: My dream tour will be a World Tour! I just want to travel to discover the world, the different cultures of each country, so interesting! And so much fun to do it with Tarah and Joey!
For me, I would love to play with Nightwish, my favorite band of course! haha

JS: Tool, The Missing Men, Tarah Who?

TGC: Dream tour… mmm. I would love to play Big rock festivals around the world. What I am working on right now is to play halftime of Roller derby shows. I would love to tour and meet all the roller derby teams! I think it would be fun!
Bands: The Distillers. I wish we would have played with Motorhead…, I think that it would be fun to play with the Foo Fighters and Dead Sara.

8. If you went into a completely different style of music, what would it be?

CH: I would actually love to play musicals. I always love it and that would be amazing to play in one.

JS: I would play Bluegrass.

TGC: Oh boy! I would most likely stop playing the guitar and only play Bass and drums in different bands. For drums, I would probably end up in a progressive rock, punk, noise band and for bass.. well … actually probably the same lol!!

9. If you can collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?

CH: Tarah sent us, not a long too long ago an interview of Linda Perry and Kerry Brown, the founders of We are Hear. It was mind-blowing! I learned a lot! Very true and accurate about the music business today. It would be amazing to work with them for Tarah Who?

JS: I would love to collaborate with Mike Watt. A living legend and I see him play around town as much as possible.

TGC: I am pretty lucky because I have collaborated with 2 people I really wanted to collaborate with! Jason Orme, (guitar player for Alanis Morissette) who co-produced our last ep “Half Middle Child Syndrome” and who is co-producing our upcoming ep “64 women” and Thomas Lang, who we have had the chance to record the drums with, at his studio. I really like working with Jason. He is a great musician, but also working with him in the studio is very easy. Jason makes us feel comfortable and we really like how the songs turn out. I would also love to meet Kerry Brown and Linda Perry one day, and see what they think of Tarah Who?

10. Where would you like to travel to that you have never been?

CH: I would like to go to Asia. I have never been but I really want to discover it one day.

JS: Yes Coralie Herve!!!! Southeast Asia, in particular, would be my preference. We will be in Europe next year otherwise that would have been my first choice.

TGC: Australia, New Zealand, Africa, South America.

11. What is a goal that you would like to see happen in your career?

CH: Just want to continue playing music !!! To inspire people with Tarah Who?’s music to do what they believe in, whatever it takes.

JS: Small everyday goal is to make people react. Dance, mosh, smile, laugh or even just think. Big goal is to be able to support my family who has given me the support I needed along the way.

TGC: Inspire people to be more loving and understanding towards each other. I would love to have people come to our shows with one purpose only: to have fun and Rock out.

You can check out more about the band via their website and you can buy their music below to support the band:



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