Bloody-Disgusting recently caught up with the eclectic and absurdly talented singer/songwriter Carina Round to discuss her latest album Tigermending (review) and what exactly went into that record, not limited to a reason why she locked herself in a room for 72 hours! You can read this exclusive interview with Carina below.
Carina will be supporting Puscifer, as well as playing with them, on several tour dates, starting this Saturday at Bonnaroo. Tour information can be found here. You can pick up Tigermending on iTunes.
Bloody-Disgusting: How are you doing?
Carina Round: Good! How are you doing?
BD: Very well, thank you! Can you tell me about the songwriting for Tigermending? The songs have such an unusual structure in terms of layering that I find myself curious how it was determined what would come in and where?
CR: Oh, wow! It’s kind of a technical question, I guess. The process of writing Tigermending, for me, was a lot more open than when I was recording other records. I deliberately tried to not control everything, the direction of the arrangements, right from the very beginning of the recording process, which I sometimes do. I tried to let it lead itself even though, when it comes to it, I make the decisions on what comes in and when. I just really tried to go with what felt right with these songs.
And there’s also a lot of different writing processes on the record, so that also lends itself to how the song becomes a fully formed piece.
BD: What was it like personally to let go of that control?
CR: It was actually a time of my life where I was trying to do that with everything and, it’s kind of a hippie thing to say [laughs] but I wrote the word “Yes” on my wrist. I then walked around with it all the time to try and remind myself to have an open heart about things and to not try to be in control of everything all the time. I think that seeped through into the songs. There’s still an element of control in the style that I like to write and the extremes that I like to create, and I think that’s still in there. It’s just more from my heart instead of my head.
BD: I feel that Tigermending is almost a mix of the Things You Should Know EP and Slow Motion Addict, yet it took the sounds of both albums and expanded upon them. Was that the intent?
CR: Yeah, I think so! Obviously Slow Motion Addict is extreme in one direction and Things You Should Know is extreme in another but I definitely knew that I wanted to make a bigger, heavier sounding record than Things You Should Know. That’s what I wanted at the time but I think I also definitely wanted the dynamics and the lyrical direction of that album and it felt like it moved forward from Slow Motion Addicts but I wanted the rawness of that and the disconnection in places from that album.
BD: Lyrically, more of the songs on this album seem focused on relationship themes than on previous albums. Can you expand on that?
CR: I think, for the most part, putting it in the setting of relationships is a really good way, a good platform for the emotion you’re trying to put across, you know? Even though sometimes it might not be directly about a relationship talking to someone as though you are is a good place to come from in a song because it leaves it open to say a lot more. It also comes across as much more personal for me, in my opinion, if it’s written that way.
BD: Each song has beautiful vocal harmonies. I wonder how you come up with the harmonies. Are they in your head or do you come up with them musically and then translate them to voice?
CR: Both! There’s also sometimes things that I don’t expect to happen that just do when I open my mouth. One of my favorite songs for this kind of thing is “The Secret Of Drowning”. I just locked myself in a room for 72 hours and sang that song. There’s a part in the bridge that goes [begins singing] “Want to kiss you, three, four, I lost my heart”, and I just kept singing that over and over with the normal melody that I’d written and it just wasn’t working out. Sometimes, you just press record and you shoot for something completely different and, in that way, you can exceed what you thought was possible. You can grab something from outside of yourself and not be too conscious about it. And that’s what happened with that song.
At times, I think, because I had the freedom with this record to do that, to lock myself in a room and record my own vocals and really explore what I wanted a song to become, it really lent itself to letting the experiment with harmonies and vocals.
Probably just because I’m a singer and it’s easier for me to do it that way, whenever I want to create a dynamic, an emotion, or a twist, my initial thing is to do it with vocals. It make for a heavy, vocally-driven record but I kinda like that.
BD: You’re very diverse with your vocals and singing techniques. Where did you learn these techniques?
CR: I never had lessons but I’ve been singing for a long time. Singing live is a good place to discover what you can do with your voice. Having the freedom to experiment in my bedroom, where no one is looking, means I can try things that I wasn’t sure I could even do before.
Also, singing with a group like Puscifer allows you to do things with your voice at times that you wouldn’t normally do from choice, that don’t come necessarily naturally to you. So doing things like that has opened new doors for me in what I can do or where I can go.
But most of the time I just make noises and, if I like them, I keep them [laughs]. If I don’t, I get rid of them!
BD: Do you feel that your work with Maynard and Puscifer has affected your songwriting styles?
CR: Yeah, I think it has. I think whenever you work with another artist it affects everything about the way you right. Whenever you get to work with another creative person, in any way, it hopefully helps out with me a little bit. I’d like to think it did with Maynard, even if it’s not directly obvious. There are certain things I’ve learned from watching him work and, hopefully, I can adapt that into my own way of working, hopefully making me a more diverse artist.
BD: I know that there are tour dates coming up. What else do you see in your future?
CR: Well, I’m heading out with Puscifer, starting at Bonnaroo and ending at the end of June. I’m going to do some more dates in the US in July for myself. I have some things potentially happening with an artist at the end of July, but I can’t say it yet because it nothing is confirmed. I wish I could say it because it would be rad if it happened! Then, August, September, and October, I’ll be doing more dates in North America as well as in the U.K. and in the rest of Europe.
BD: Carina, thanks so much and I wish you the best of luck on the upcoming tour!
CR: Thank you!
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