Carol: on developing her sound
by Taylor Seamans / Music 8 days ago
Carolyn Flaherty

Q: Describe your music in 3 words.

Carol: Dream pop, kinda sarcastic, imagery. I have a lot of imagery in it, but a lot of it is making fun of myself in a sarcastic way. I’m not sure if people can really tell; people always ask, “What does this even mean?”

Q: What is your creative process?

Carol: Writing is my favorite thing to do, or my main thing. I started when I was 16, now I’m 19. I would just record voice memos, that was pretty much it. Now, I have all the software programs. I use ProTools and Garageband. So now, I’m writing more with keys. I have a bunch of old Casio keyboards that I collect, and I love the noises on them. They have old drum machines and other cool stuff I’ve been discovering. When it comes to making songs, I just kind of start. I guess it’s never quite the same. But I also keep a journal and draw from that.

Q: Your music has a very “at home” recording feel, in a good way. Do you feel like the technology you’re using is going to change what you’re expressing in your music?

Carol: I’m trying to stick with a lo-fi sound sort of. I want to build it beyond just the guitar and my voice, I’m past that now. I’m building with drum machines and different organ noises, but I definitely want to keep that “at home” vibe.

Q: “Lighthouse Lullaby” is your most listened to song on SoundCloud. Can you talk a little bit about what inspired this song?

Carol: So, I live right by the ocean on the east coast, and there’s a lighthouse about 7 minutes from my house that everyone goes to. I guess that’s what it’s named after. So it’s about being at home. But also about thinking you knew someone really well and realizing that you fantasized all this stuff about them but that you didn’t even ask them their name or questions about their life. You’ll never be able to completely understand anyone but yourself, you know? So yeah, it’s about that  and thinking you knew someone.

Q: Did you you expect it to be big?

Carol: Not really. It was one of the first ones that I wanted to take more seriously. I was teaching myself home recording, how to build it up which adds texture, but I didn’t expect it. It’s definitely one of my more romantic ones — I’m definitely a hopeless romantic.

Q: How do you feel different internet platforms, like SoundCloud, are helping people get their music out there?

Carol: The biggest thing for music now is that no one has a monopoly on it anymore because we can all do it, you know. You can have these recording companies, and distribution—which is obviously still really important and people need that kind of exposure—but if you spend enough time and you want it enough, you can do it all yourself with the internet because they give you these internet platforms where you can reach people all over the world. It’s crazy to look at your stats and see people listening in different states and countries. And Tumblr especially, I started when I was 12 and just never stopped and now I have 35k followers. That’s how I get a lot of my exposure now.

Even though the internet isn’t that personable, it is very personable at the same time. When I’m more involved in my social media platforms and reach out to more people and talk to people, people start to notice things on their dashboard. You make friends on the Internet, people I had as mutual followers on all my accounts. Reaching out to people and talking to people helps my audience grow.

“The biggest thing for music now is that no one has the monopoly on it anymore because we can all do it.”

Q: You said earlier that writing is your main thing. How do you feel about originals versus covers?

Carol: I think cover songs are very important because learning other people’s songs and styles helps you learn what you like and  translate that to your music. I’ve stopped covering stuff lately, I still learn songs of artists that I like, but I’m more focused on originals. I think I might start posting some covers in the future though.

Q: Do you have a music inspiration that you draw from?

Carol: I’ve been listening to The Velvet Underground, I just love the way Nico sings. I love Beach House, you can probably tell by the different drum machines I use. I love the vintage noises that they have. I have a very high, sweet, feminine voice, but I’m very attracted to voices where you can’t really identify the gender of the voice—I think Nico and Victoria Legrand have that kind of voice. But I also love Astrud Gilberto so much, she’s one of my favorite vocalists.

Q: Is there something you hope to communicate through your music?

Carol: I think especially for my early music, it was more timid maybe. But at the same time with things that are feminine, I don’t want them to be viewed as timid or less than something. I think it’s important for girls, especially in music, to be able to know, even if you’re a vocalist, every part of the music and record everything yourself. That’s my goal for myself and to get across in my music.Being a vocalist, you don’t have to know everything about the music, but you should. I think girls now are that much more confident and don’t view themselves as anything less than equal, and I think that’s so important and I hope that comes across in my music. So, hopefully I can continue to do it all myself.

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