Carriages Interview: “We want the music to evoke great memories”

Carriages
Photo by Brid O'Donovan.

Carriages’ Movement EP is out now via Homebeat.

Despite the ostensibly electronic outlook of Dublin duo Carriages, there is something significantly organic in their sound. Perhaps this is in no small way due to their utilisations of found sounds in their music. This imbues the bleeps and bloops with a distinctly real and tangible vibe that is not obviously available in much electronic based music. This is complemented by the earthy and experienced vocals of Aaron Page, who doesn’t go in for vocal histrionics but possesses a voice that you simply believe.

The duo are gracing us with their presence in Cork this Friday. Ahead of that we spoke about the inspiration behind some highlights from their Movements EP, their DIY ethos, and love.

Overblown: You utilise found sounds in your music. How/where do you record/find them?

Harry: Anywhere at all. I usually carry a Zoom recorder with me and if I hear anything interesting I’ll pop it out and record it. In the past, I’ve based a song around a printing machine in the Dublin Print Museum. I think it was the one that printed the Declaration of Independence but I could be mixing up machines. A lot of the sounds on the Movement EP are based on sounds that we recorded on a tour of the west coast that we did with Homebeat. Pots, Pans, Doorbells, things like that. I’ve been keeping an archive for years so some of the sounds go back about 15 years.

Overblown: What is attractive to you about using found sounds?

Harry: Probably the fact that I’m never happy with drum sounds or drum machine sounds. I always hate snares. Can’t get them to sound good, so I started using sounds I recorded myself. They always evoke a memory, because each sound was recorded on a journey of some sort. When I first started listening to electronic music, bands like Fourtet, Mum and Animal Collective were just beginning to surface and they always had interesting sounds in the place of drums so I guess I was just reacting to the bands that I listen to.

Overblown: I really enjoy your song ‘Hardest Mile’. What inspired the song?

Aaron: Harry had initially sent a basic loop of the backing track for me to develop. Most times something will develop straight from the first listen, and thankfully this was one of those tracks which just felt like the story was there already waiting to fall off the pen onto paper. I’d listened to the loop very late on a weekend night and the synth pattern felt like someone grasping or clinging. The story wrote itself from there – it’s quite visual in content and I think listeners connect with that and relate to the guy/girl as most of us have been there at some point…to be that person grasping at something that isn’t there anymore, and knowing the chance to change is in those next few steps.

Overblown: Combined with Homebeat, there seems to be quite a DIY attitude to your ethos. What do you like about the ethos?

Harry: I was a bit of a punk in the mid 90s and would have gone to a lot of Hope Collective gigs in Dublin, so again, the DIY ethos is just what I discovered first. Bands like The Redneck Manifesto were releasing well produced albums with great artwork on their own label so it never occurred to myself and Aaron to do it any other way when we started Carriages. That’s not to say that we were turning down offers. There just weren’t any and that didn’t bother us. Homebeat was like a breath of fresh air when we first got involved with them. The regular venues can be so emotionless and stale so when we saw Emmet turning weird spaces into really special one off parties we just gravitated to him. Our music just comes across so much better in these spaces. So Homebeat’s ethos really did save us and give us a proper home to perform in, which is why it made perfect sense to release our last EP with him.

Overblown: You’ve said that “a warmth, a genuineness, and an ingenuity” are important to Carriages music. Why is that?

Harry: We just want the music to evoke great memories of writing and recording it. We’re not thinking about a career here, we’re just trying to soundtrack our lives and get to as many odd rooms as possible to play it in. So it’s important to us that the music reflects this. It’s like an old photograph. Sometimes it’s out of focus and tattered around the edges but it brings you right back to the moment it was taken.

Overblown: Another song I love on the EP is ‘Tired Love’. It’s an intriguing song title. Where did it come from?

Aaron: Easy… Sharing the same feelings of being unfulfilled and worn out by a day job with your significant other, and in the the cold dark depths of winter when work is hardest, having that love to come home to… Both parties tired by the day but shedding those work troubles i.e. the “steel robes” the song references together… Thankfully both jobs are long since in the past and much nicer ones in place now. 🙂

Overblown: Where do you see Carriages going from here?

Harry: We’re not a great pair for looking forward too often. I would like to think that we’ll release an album soon and hopefully get to play in a few places we’ve never been before but the main thing for us is to enjoy getting together to make songs. When you don’t think of it as a career or a goal, then it really has no end. We’ll just carry on documenting our lives.

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