My Interview with Charming Liars

Vancouver photo tour coming soon her and on Culture Compass…..

 Why did you guys decide to move to LA in the first
place. Was it for the obvious lifestyle benefits, or did you think you needed
to be there to progress your music?

We never planned or
discussed moving to LA, in fact we still don’t feel like we live in LA. We all come from widely
different family backgrounds ranging in nationality but what unifies us is
London. Growing up there was an experience that has shaped our personalities,
friendship and our music. Something we will never forget and take great pride
in. Our time spent in LA has been purely for work reasons as this is where the
record is being made. Saying that the food and the weather isn’t too shabby 😉

Are you looking to break the US or UK first?

In a perfect world we
would obviously love to do both! The UK is very special to us and so we are
very excited about having a record come out there and getting a chance to tour
it as much as possible but at the same time its equally exciting to do it in
America too. Touring America is a life goal we are all super excited to check
off the list!

You boys have just been in Vancouver. Can you tell me what you were up to?

We have! And what an
awesome place. We were up there to record and mix the album and we had a great
time. Bob Rock who’s producing the record is Canadian and has spent a lot of
time working at Warehouse studios in Vancouver. He asked us to come up there
for a short stretch to finish everything and we were happy to oblige hah

Now we have to ask about the new name. Has the music evolved so much that you
felt a new name was necessary?

The music has indeed
evolved but weirdly we found that evolution by looking into the past. We
dedicated 2 years to writing this record and wrote almost 80 songs for it. We
felt it was really important to find our sound,
and were willing to experiment in order to find it. It was our shared love of
heavy rock music from our teenage years that eventually galvanized us and
inspired the sound of the album. We all fell in love with music around the same
time (aged 13) and all loved the same bands so its been an amazingly fun experience
to write and record this album

Charming Liars? Should I be worried about you being
trustworthy chaps?

Us? Never! We are
super well behaved and polite young chappies but sometimes you have to be
economical with the truth…

Now when you work with producers who are almost as celebrated as well known as
the bands they’ve worked with do you find your are hindered in terms of putting
your point across. Perhaps you feel intimidated or have the mindset that they
will probably know best?

Honestly I was
petrified and had nightmares about such a situation occurring before we started
recording the album. Obviously we had done our homework and knew the amazingly
successful bands and albums that had come before us and that was intimidating,
but the second we walked into the studio those fears were gone.

Everyone we have
worked with has been unbelievably professional and talented and the vibe in the
studio everyday was chilled out and fun! Everyone was throwing ideas around and
things seemed to come together effortlessly. Its actually quite sad that the
record is finished now as we all made great friends that we miss seeing

Other bands who have worked with Bob Rock have commented on
his brutally honest approach. How did you find it? How do you cope with
criticism generally?

We have worked with
producers in the past who have an honest and blunt approach to recording so
we’re pretty used to that kind of vibe in the studio but quite honestly we
never experienced the brutality that other bands described! The vibe in the
room was always really relaxed and that took some pressure off all of us when
it came to performing. I think what made the difference was that we all, Bob
included, were on the same page when it came to serving the songs. It really
was a lot of fun!

Bob Rock and John Fields have worked with a lot of American rock acts, and have
given some records by British bands a distinct American sound. Did you want to
maintain a UK sound? Was this something you were conscious of?

Its quite honestly
something we never gave a great deal of thought to. We have always envisaged a
sound for this band and I don’t think it can be pinpointed to one country. We
all love HUGE guitars and booming drums and a wall of noise that some of the
producers know how to create better than others, regardless of their
nationality. We’re using exactly the same equipment as they have back in
England, it was just a case of using it in a different way.

Randy Staub was in charge of mixing the record. Was having a big stadium rock
sound something you were going for considering he has worked with Metallica,
Nickelback, Aerosmith and Bon Jovi?

With Randy it wasn’t
so much about who he had worked with,
more how he had made those records sound. He has the greatest understanding of
what he has to do as a mixer to serve the song. Its not always the case of
making things louder or quieter, there is a art to it and he is a master of
that art. Watching him work was a seriously amazing experience.

He also knew how to
cook a mean steak….

Have you found the overall process of making the record…stressful/cathartic/educational?

Its been a long
process so we have had time to feel MANY different emotions, there were some
highs, there were some lows, there were some moments of self doubt and moments
where you had to pinch yourself to make sure you weren’t dreaming. Being able
to look back on the whole process now it has definitely been a great one and
there wouldn’t be one thing I would change about it

You have been in various bands and projects between you. Does this feel
different, like this might be ‘the one’?

Well weirdly all the
projects we have been in have basically been the same band. We have been making
music together for over 7 years now and have been under many different guises
and names. This definitely feels like ‘The One’ now though

How early on in making the new music did you feel you were on to something good
and found the sound you wanted to pursue?

We were always pretty
confident in the songs we were writing, we have a huge playlist of songs that
didn’t make the cut and listening back to them there are some fucking great
songs in there. It was really just the case of picking the 12/14 that really
gave the best account of us as musicians and what we wanted the album to say
and that took a while as we kept on writing new ones that would make the
decision harder

Mike, you have been on the other side of the music industry working in PR, how has
that helped you in the decisions you make and how you approach things?

I spent almost 5 years
working in the music industry back in the UK and it was an amazing experience.
I got a chance to learn a lot about how things were done, how music is best consumed
and watch as bands grew and developed. I met some talented and remarkable
people that I still count as close friends today. It did however get to a point
where I was frustrated with watching some of the musicians and bands I was
working with screw up opportunities that thousands of bands across the world
would give up anything to do. Seeing that really inspired me to do everything
within my power to work as hard as I could to achieve my goal.

What music have you been listening to or seeing live while making the record which may have informed the sound?

One thing we all
REALLY miss about the UK is the music scene over there. The average night in
London has about 6/8 bands playing that I’m dying to see, its not so much the
case over here and you have to search them out a bit. We have been exploring
the clubs and bars and seeing as many different bands as possible just to get
our live music fix. Not sure if any of them have influenced the sound of our
record at all but its just great to get out and get to a gig… Actually scrap
that, the whole album was inspired by Steel Panther!

Best tale from LA times so far?

That is a hard one!
Many tales might be a bit too inappropriate to share with the world on the
internet. Sit in a pub with me with a glass of whiskey and I’ll tell you the
good ones 😉

As far as ‘PG’ stories
go…. Going to Warped Tour for the first time was pretty fun! The day I ate a
4×4 in’n’out burger also ranks highly

Who brings what to the band?

Karnig (guitar) is one
of the funniest people I know, not sure he means to be half the time but he
will have us in stitches on a regular basis. He is also one of the best rock
guitarists out there today, just you wait….

Charlie (vocals) is
the brains of the operation, organising and making sure everything is happening
the way it should. Without him we’d be lost…. 

Best Lie you have told?

Me and Charlie have actually snuck across
international borders by tell a little fib or 2, I cant elaborate or I’d have
to kill you

Dream Collaboration?

These guys!!!!

Recently played on Ipod?

Futures – The Karma

Lower Than Atlantis –
Changing Tune

Young Guns – Bones

The Temper Trap – The Temper

& Alunageorge

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