For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to (insert band/artist name here)? How long has the band been around?
Coralie Herve (CH): I played with friends of mine back in France for 8 years. Our name was Black Diamonds and we were just playing for fun. When I arrived here, 2 years ago, I started in Charly&Faust. I joined Tarah Who? a year ago. Recently I accompanied a singer, Mel, for a few months.
Joey Southern (JS): Various past bands included many genres. I joined Tarah Who? in March 2018, several months ago to date.
TGC: I was playing the bass for about two years in a band called So Was The Sun, back in France. I still play the drums for Jane Gray Black Orphan which is a post Rock project that Ash Orphan and I started in 2011? or somewhere around that year? I also play the drums for Angie Joseph’s solo project called October Rain.
I started Tarah Who? in 2006. I started gigging with my songs as a solo acoustic act in Los Angeles. I worked with a couple producers and made my first demo album.
Then I looked for musicians to make a band, but that did not really work out until I had full control and confidence in the project.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
Tarah G. Carptener (TGC): Yes I have had to change the band name once. My first name is also the first name of a French rap artist who was getting really popular at the time. When I booked shows, people thought that I was her so sometimes we got rejected because they did not understand why I was reaching out to punk rock dive bars.. but also we were getting booked because other promoters thought that I was her and were soon disappointed to hear that none of the songs were French rap…She does not use her image to promote so no one really knows how she looks like and she happens to be French-Vietnamese as well.. so everyone believed I was her.
I changed my name and then the band name. I sent an email to my bandmates at the time explaining why I chose my artist name Tarah. The subject of the email was “TARAH WHO????”. In that email, I had also listed a bunch of ideas of band names that were HORRIBLE, all of my band names responded: “I actually like Tarah Who?”! We had a bunch of gigs lined up and the promoters needed to add us on the bill so .. we went for Tarah Who? and it has not been changed since!
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
TGC: I write the songs (music and lyrics). I started writing when I was back in France, playing bass and drums in other bands. I love to write. I never shared anything because I was embarrassed. I am a very open person, but sometimes, I need to write it down. I think because I want more than one person to know that I was hurt, or how I have been hurt. Maybe someone can relate. Sometimes, I just write about the news I have heard that I can’t stop thinking about, and I need to let it out. Telling one person once is not enough.
The topics are very personal, they are my thoughts, life, experiences and emotions. I like to let people feel those emotions, and anyone should be able to relate or put themselves in those shoes.
“In my mind” is one of the oldest songs that we still play today. It is definitely on the “poppier” side but I think that it could still be accurate for some people today. I use to tell people that “In my mind” was about materialism because I did not assume saying ” In my mind” is about realizing that you have everything and you are still not happy because you don’t dare to be yourself. For me, it was about hiding that I was gay, but this could be for anyone, hiding who they truly are.
The songs that I write today, are a little deeper, because I have met other people, I have grown and I have experienced different things. Our world has changed too… Our upcoming single is called “Numb Killer” . It is about the (first) London attacks at Ariana Grande’s concert. Shocked about the event, I wonder if the terrorist felt any guilt or doubt before acting.
JS: Yes I do think the topics will change over time as we grow and the world keeps on around us.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
CH: The three of us have different musical inspirations. For me it’s more oriented symphonic metal, my favorite band is Nightwish, and it’s the combination of these different styles that we have, which makes the Tarah Who?’s sound.
JS: Recently I’ve been rediscovering music I listened to in my youth and hearing it with a different perspective. Finding that punk rock in particular has a lot to do with attitude has inspired me to be true to myself and just be myself. We are not trying to be the next anything that was. Just us, Tarah Who?
TGC: I listened to a lot of Alanis Morissette growing up and I think that it was influenced my writing. Then I listened to Pantera, Distillers, Motorhead etc.. anything that was fast-paced, loud and raw. I am sure that I have some influences especially since a few people now have said: ” You sound like if Motorhead was fronted by Alanis Morissette!” TOU-CHé!! We have also been compared to Nirvana, which is really interesting because I have actually never listened to Nirvana and I only know the songs from the radio… But like Joey said, we are not trying to sound like anyone. I write songs that feel like the emotion I feel at the time. I have a clear picture of how they should sound like” I like to play fast, I like to intensity and the energy. Mainly, I want the feelings to be raw and authentic. I don’t write to be mainstream or to be commercial.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
JS: I was early teens and went to see 311 with my older brother and cousin. I remember watching from the crowd and thinking to myself, “I would much rather be onstage looking out than where I was standing.” It was that simple for me. At that time I could hardly even play bass haha. Just my luck a guitarist approached me at school and said: “You like 311, wanna jam?” (I was wearing the blue album t-shirt). With my little brother on drums we formed our first band.
TGC: I don’t really have one. I wanted to play the drums and bass. I have always loved those instruments. I can’t explain! I have a real passion for the drums, I think drums are beautiful and I love playing the drums. Bass too, It is less a passion, for me playing bass, it is very relaxing ( even if I play punk rock or any heavy metal music) I just love the bass sounds, the growling, and when I play bass it is just a lot of fun for me. In that sense I feel that it is more relaxing. So when I started playing.. I just wanted to play non stop. It was not a particular band who inspired me. It was the bands I was playing in and the people I was playing with who made me want to do this more and more. Going to shows, made me want to be up there and do it myself 😉
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, eat …
CH: I’m warming up with some exercise on the pad, drink a lot of water and do some physical exercise to be loose on stage and not tense.
JS: Stretching is by far the most important. Getting blood moving and remaining loose is essential to a great performance.
TGC: I need a couple Jameson and cokes, and quiet time to concentrate. I don’t like to talk to anyone but Coralie and Joey. They are the only people I can be around. I stretch and warm up, neck, legs, arms, back, hands, fingers etc..and a quick makeup.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
CH: I toured for the first time with Tarah Who? and it was really amazing, I also had the chance to record the drums with the master Thomas Lang, it was so amazing! He is just incredible and so nice, really really great experience.
JS: For me personally was this past summer 2018 tour on the west and east coast of the states. Being new to the band this was a special time to get to know each other and bond.
TGC: The biggest highlight of the band’s career… for me personally it is working with Thomas Lang and Jason Orme. Thomas.. well.. because THOMAS LANG! and Jason Orme, because we have known each other for a little over 10 years because of Alanis and now we record together! I recorded with vintage guitars that he uses on stage with Alanis, and I got to know Jason better. He is such an amazing human being and talented musician and now producer!!
Another HUGE highlight for Tarah Who? is having Coralie and Joey join the band. I have worked with SO MANY musicians worldwide and I feel so lucky to have met these two. They are SO supportive, kind, talented, on the ball! We are like a family together, we can count on each other on and off stage. Despite her young age, Coralie is super mature, VERY professional, I don’t have to deal with egos from either one of them. We are all at the service of the music and it is really rare to find! TRUST me!
It took me 12 years!
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
JS: It would be great to tour with Motorhead because everything is louder than everything else.
TGC: Ditto! Lemmy! I would have LOVED to play a show with Motorhead and Pantera…
Is there anything else you would like to add?
CH: Thank you for the interview, hope to see some of you guys on the road !!!
JS: Don’t be shy come see us live and let go, be yourself, love yourself and someone else!
TGC: Thanks so much for having us again! Please follow our silly adventures on Instagram, and bands in town for all of our latest shows. We will be in your area soon probably, drop us a message or comment, we love your love!