Are songwriters poets? It’s a question that most music consumers have asked themselves at one time or another, perhaps when listening to something particularly expressive. Some say, that as poetry is often read, and lyrics are usually heard, the difference between poetry writing and lyric writing is the difference between writing for visual and sonic cues – the latter involving more rhyme and rhythm to create a ‘roadmap’ for the listener. Of course, that doesn’t account for spoken word poetry, and we’ve all encountered lyrics that are just as moving when read as when they are heard. One band who blur this line are Leeds indie-poppers Caro, who were kind enough to share their brand new live video for ‘Cold Comfort‘ with us. I spoke to lead singer Adam about lyric writing, touring, and ‘otherness’:
KM: You’ve just completed a huge UK tour supporting Gengahr – how did the tour go for you?
A: The tour was absolutely fantastic. It was our first extended run of dates and it was great to get to play so many consecutive shows in so many different places. Gengahr were extremely welcoming and we genuinely loved watching them every night.
KM: It sounds like you had a great time! Where in the UK were you most excited about playing?
A: We were definitely pretty excited to go back up to Glasgow cause we had a good night out there last time and it definitely did not disappoint again this time.
KM: From the small amount of music that’s available online, your work seems really considered in terms of texture. Do you have a lot of restraint as musicians or do you have to strip a lot back to achieve that sound?
A: The latter, I would say we pile on a lot and experiment with different iterations of the songs and layers that could potentially compliment it and then decide from there what is most effective rather than knowing precisely what is going to serve the song best straight out of the gate.
KM: You recently released a new track ‘Smorgasbord’ in the form of a live session – what made you want to release in this way?
A: We recently recorded a couple of songs at our friend’s house in Radwell in this old swimming pool that looks out onto a lake and it’s the most idyllic location ever so we wanted to go back and film these live videos there because we thought it would tie in nicely with the tour as a way of giving a taste of what you can expect from a live show.
KM: Lyrically, the track is very sophisticated – I wondered if you had any background in writing poetry?
A: Lyrics mostly only come with melodies attached, I don’t usually write just lyrics cause they never seem to have any significance without the melody and the rhythm and cadence of the melody will inform the flow of the lyric a lot of the time. But I do like to try to use poetic devices and things in lyrics, all that stuff they taught in English lessons at school is pretty fun to play around with. I’m not a particularly avid reader but whenever I do, it does definitely inform lyrics a lot.
KM: Would you say you are drawn to unusual words in your lyric writing? ‘Smorgasbord’ is not a word you come across often in pop music.
A: Yeah it’s fun when you get somewhat odd, rarely heard words into a song. I hate it when you know what the next lyric of a song is going to be before they’ve even sung it. I love being surprised by music, I love it when you hear something for the first time and it makes you scrunch your face up in confusion but then on consequent listens it makes perfect sense.
KM: The sonic elements of your work also veer towards the unusual, particularly in ‘Cold Comfort’. Do you intentionally look to create a sense of ‘otherness’ in your work?
A: The same applies sonically. If you know exactly where a song is going to go it’s boring and with so much music floating around now it’s interesting to try and find new and distinct sounds to try and tickle your eardrums, and hopefully expand what you can do sonically with just the guitar band format.
KM: Some aspects of your music sound quite antiquated – for example the use of organ in ‘Admit /Resist ’ and the folky chord progressions in ‘Smorgasbord’. Would you say you’re influenced by traditional/folk music at all?
A: I wouldn’t say traditional folk music has been a particular influence though I do enjoy it. The folk-y guitar fingerpicking you hear in Smorgasbord I think mainly developed from just being too lazy to pick up a pick, or the fact that I always lose them. The organ sounds in Admit / Resist are actually just bass and guitar, we tend to stay away from the bottomless rabbit hole that is the realm of keyboards.
KM: Probably wise! There’s a definite air of mystery about you as a band, and with only two tracks available to stream I’m sure I’m not the only one who is wondering if there is more to come. Is it too early to hope for an EP in the near future?
A: There’s more to come.
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