Features Interviews

Interview: Tarah Who?

Tarah G. Carpenter (TGC): Vocals, Guitar
Joey Southern (JS): Bass, Backing Vocals
Coralie Hervé (CH): Drums, Backing Vocals 

So, who are you?

TGC: I am Tarah, the lead vocalist and guitar player of the band. I started Tarah Who? in 2006 when I moved to Los Angeles from Paris,  France.

JS: Joey here! I play the bass and help scream backing vocals.

Where are you from?

TGC: I am originally from Paris, France but the project was born when I moved to Los Angeles in 2006. I have lived in LA since, so Tarah Who? is from Los Angeles 🙂

JS: I am from Maple Park, IL. Basically two hours west of Chicago. Moved to Los Angeles in 2011.

How long have you been together?

CH: I joined Tarah Who? a year ago. So much happened, it’s just amazing! And we have more to come, really excited!

 TGC: I started Tarah Who? alone. It was a singer-songwriter, acoustic act. Over the years of performing this way, I got a lot of attention from producers and other musicians who wanted to help out or participate. After working with a lot of people I finally found Joey and Coralie and now we have a solid foundation. It doesn’t look like Coralie or Joey have been in the band for that long but we have been through so much together already that we can safely say that we are solid! It actually feels like we have been playing for so many years, people are always amazed to find out Joey had just joined us last April. We have a really good chemistry and our mentality just fits together. We are very comfortable with each other, it’s nice to work with them both. Every time we hang out and get to know each other more, i find out they’re even better people than what I keep thinking!

JS: I am the newest member of the band coming up on seven months now. We met back in April 2018 via Facebook messenger…

“Hi Joe, I am contacting you because I am looking for a bass player for my band Tarah Who? If you like what you hear hit me back. Have a good day!”

Random, it seemed strange and went unanswered for six whole days. The idea rolled around in my head enough and I decided I needed to listen to the songs. Two weeks later we left on a west coast tour and we have been constantly working ever since! Each experience seems better than the last.

How long have you been playing music?

CH: I began playing the drums when I was 10, I never stopped since. I took lessons in the music school in my town. After graduating from high school, I moved to Paris to pursue my formation. It’s been two years since I moved to LA, I studied at the Musicians Institute… such an amazing experience!

TGC: I started playing the drums when I was 14. I was playing in bands, I played the bass guitar in one and the drums in another one. Years went by and I got my first electric guitar out of boredom in Kentucky. I learned how to play by using an Alanis Morissette songbook! I started writing lyrics here and there. A few years go by and I started performing those songs I had secretly written… I still play the bass and drums, but Tarah Who? is my main focus at the moment.

JS: I have found dozens of photos and videos of me as a child with a play guitar in my hand stepping up to the Fisher Price mic like I’ve done this before. Around age 12, I started making noise with friends and over time evolved into several bands. I have always involved myself in and around music. Spending my time and energy into making music with Tarah and Coralie only makes sense.

Why should people listen to your band?

CH: If people are searching for a mix of rock/punk/grunge but at the same time something that is unique, it’s us!

I really think that people should see us live, we are an energetic, loud and entertaining band.

 TGC: I think that people should at least give us a chance 😉

It’s getting popular but you don’t really see lefty female drummers playing their heart out! I believe that we are entertainers and when you come to see us, you come to see a show and be entertained by us. We will even have you participate!

Musically, if you like fast-paced guitars, and hard-hitting drums (90’s rock, Distillers, Foo Fighters, etc.) or like fans have described us on the road, “if Motörhead was fronted by Alanis Morissette,” then you should give us a listen. We sound loud and energetic, we will definitely pump your blood up and get you excited. Lyrically, I am very personal and emotional. You may relate to some of my stories.

JS: We play every note like it is our last. To add to what Tarah and Coralie said, I believe we play with purpose. The intention behind every note is specifically planned to bring out the emotion. Each song has an actual meaning or story to tell.

What is your ideal touring line-up?

CH: I would love to tour with Nightwish, but it’s not really the same kind of music.

TGC: Brody Dalle, and Motörhead if Lemmy was still around… but that’s actually really selfish! That’s who I want to hang out with, haha! Musically, I think we need heavy rock bands but not too similar to us. We have been lucky to have had the chance to tour with other rock bands with a different sound and overall genre, and it really works. Maybe Dead Sara?

JS: I agree with Tarah, it would be ideal to play with Motörhead, haha.

What does music mean to you?

CH: Everything! I love to play music but above all, love to listen to it. Depends on the day and the mood but it can be different genres like metal, rock, soundtracks, musicals…

TGC: Music is international. you don’t have to understand it to be able to enjoy it and/or share it. Being able to create our own music and inspire people is very rewarding. We meet amazing people on the road, other amazing artists, or very loving human beings who motivate us to keep on going. No matter where we are playing in the world.

Music is a transcription of an emotion, of a state of mind. Whether or not lyrics are involved. This is why we feel more or less emotional depending on what we are listening to and what we are doing at the time.

I play a lot with the emotions in Tarah Who? I write emotional songs on fast-paced guitars.

JS: Music is life. It has its ups and downs. I am always learning something new and music is a lifelong journey I am grateful to experience.

What was the first record you bought when you were younger?

CH: I don’t really remember but I think it was a French band called Kyo, I really like them!

TGC: LOLOL! Coralie! I had no idea! I don’t remember mine… It must have been Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill.

JS: Honestly, it was Slipknot’s self-titled album. I grew up listing to classic rock and the heaviest music I had heard was along the lines of Metallica… hearing this album exploded my brain.

What artists first inspired you to start playing music?

CH: I’ll say classic rock like AC/DC or Bon Jovi, but I discovered quickly Nightwish (my favorite band). Now I’m a big fan of the symphonic metal genre, I just love it!

TGC: Mariah Carey! Just kidding, but I do remember listening to her a lot because she was huge at the time! Like her peak… I know for sure Stevie Wonder-inspired me to play the bass. I have always been attracted to drums so I did that on my own. I listened to Alanis Morissette a lot and I know that she made me feel happy when I listened to her. Now I would not say that she inspired me to play music. Do I want to inspire people like she inspired me? TOTALLY, but I don’t remember playing to look or be like someone. I did it because I wanted to and I felt like it.

JS: 311… I was wearing The Blue Album t-shirt and a soon to be lifelong friend approached me at school and asked if I knew how to play. We learned every song along with my brother playing the drums and that is when I really started to play regularly with a “band”, haha… we could not play and sing so it was always instrumental.

What’s the most aesthetically pleasing album cover that you have in your collection?

CH: Nightwish’s album covers are pretty amazing! I really love the one for Decades, it’s really beautiful!

TGC: Oh gosh! I don’t know… I have no idea… I have a lot of album covers in mind but they’re not THE BEST in my opinion. I mean they’re good, and they fit, but it’s not a good response to your question! I like the last Brody Dalle vinyl cover. It’s simple and pretty.

JS: Motörhead’s self-titled.

What kind of movie genre do you think your music would best be the soundtrack for?

CH: It really depends on the song. I think that in general, it will fit in an action movie.

TGC: That’s a really good question! We have a few slow songs that could probably be more appropriate for movies other than that, I think that it will need to be some action movie like Coralie said.. some chasing involved or car racing!

JS: Action or thriller movies for sure!

Recommend us a record, a book, and a movie…

CH: Any of Nightwish’s albums! There are all amazing! If I had to choose, I’ll say Once and Endless Forms Most Beautiful.

TGC: I mostly read books about the brain, Buddhism and behavior! There are two books are really enjoyed… One was about rehearsing. It was about a musician and the art of practising. Something like that. Unfortunately, I gave my book to a friend so I don’t remember who wrote it. I only remember that it was a green cover!

I also really enjoyed Healing without Freud or Prozac. Now I am not depressed, have anxiety, sick or anything, it is just a really interesting book by David Servan-Schreiber. The topic is in the title. I really enjoyed his approach and patients’ stories. But again… I love books about psychology and behaviour.

JS: The Music Lesson by Victor Wooten!

TGC: Oh my god, Joey! That is the book I am talking about! Great book!

Any last words for the readers of Highwire Magazine?

CH: Rock on! Hope to see some of you guys on the road!

TGC: Yes! See you on the road! Our EP is coming out soon, 64 Women. All of our info is on our website (www.tarahwho.com) and you follow us on Instagram (@tarawho) for LIVE performances, silly videos, and more! Come out and introduce yourself to us at our shows! The video for ‘Numb Killer’ will be out sometime in November!

JS: Thank you for the interview and see you on the road!

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