New-York based outfit Charly Bliss are gearing up before the release of their new record Guppy. Like the fish? Yes. Ben caught up with the band to talk about their music, exploration, influences and social issues...
Charly Bliss' pop syrup flows freely. It flows inbetween a few hardcore parts, punk drums and inventive guitar lines. The first single from their upcoming record, Glitter, is a fine piece of pop. Eva stomps, screams, and shouts her way through the song as though, if she didn't open her mouth, these words would still come bursting. Yet she delivers nearly as much of this tough talk in a sweet, essentially childish tone.
These peculiar shifts between ferocity and something approaching tenderness are creating a great contrast, much needed to shape Charly Bliss' sound and style. The obvious comparison with Speedy Ortiz is easy to make. But Charly Bliss ain't just copycats. No way. The band's effort to impose their own style, with Eva's vocals up front, is clearly a stand out. Musically, the band isn't groundbreaking. But they are clever. Charly Bliss create what they've called "Bubble Grunge" music. Question is, how would you describe it?
Hey Charly Bliss, how did you guys start out? Charly Bliss is Eva, Sam, Dan and Spencer. Sam and Eva are brother and sister, Dan met Eva in middle school doing the school plays, and then Dan introduced Eva to Spencer, his friend from summer camp, at a Tokyo Police Club concert in 2009! We've been a band for about five years!
We think the Charly Bliss sound has a lot of influences from the early 90s. But you call it "Bubble Grunge"...
We started referring to our genre as "bubble grunge" as a joke for our Facebook page, but I do think it's somewhat accurate for describing our sound. We definitely all grew up listening to a lot of music that came out of the 90's so it makes sense that it would influence our sound. Overall, I think we're all really inspired by pop music and catchy melodies. We love to play shows as much as possible, which I think influences the heavy and super huge sound of our recordings, because that is definitely the most fun music to play live!
What is it about this sound that inspired you or that you thought deserved greater exploration?
I think you can only make music that is exciting to you. If I tried to make EDM music it would be terrible, because that genre doesn't excite me or move me to participate. On some level, there's very little room for reinventing the wheel in any genre or artform, so the only way to make anything worthwhile is to constantly stay excited and interested in what you're doing. Pop music and melodies that stick in your head are fascinating to me, and rock music feels infinitely fun to play!
"I think the election results made me feel like all the gross dudes of the world had won, and something about a crappy drawing of a half-man in those McDonalds colors looked sort of similarly sinister to me".
Turd is inspired by Eva’s experience being catcalled on her way home from a guitar lesson. "To make me feel like I had some power in a situation where I felt totally powerless”. Do you see it as a catharsis for yourselves and your listeners, or do you think that music and the arts in general have a greater role to play?
I think both are true! Obviously it feels really powerful and awesome and cathartic to play that song, but I also think visibility is massively important and a huge agent for change. If you've never been made to feel unsafe in your day to day life, and no one else around you is speaking up about it, you probably aren't very sensitive to people who experience stuff like that constantly.
That's where totally condescending terms like "microagressions" come from, and why people will say really stupid stuff like "you're overreacting! He was trying to give you a compliment!" I have to hope that change can come from telling the truth about how shitty it feels on the receiving end of a turd-ly person's idiocy.
Turd was also released in reaction to Trump’s successful election bid. Is it possible that the album’s artwork and subject is, in fact, the president-elect? Sadly, no. I wish there was more significance to it. I've very limited abilities as an artist and that little missing torso person stems from a drawing I tried to do of my boyfriend! The election results made me feel like all the gross dudes of the world had won, and something about a crappy drawing of a half-man in those McDonalds colors looked sort of similarly sinister to me.