Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life are pleased to bring you an interview with grungy, alternative pop/rock act, Ask Carol.
1. How did you get started as a band?
We, Ask and Carol, the two members of Ask Carol, became friends right after high school, when studying music in southern Norway. We were always talking about starting a band, but it would take about 7 years before we finally went through with the idea. The summer of 2015 we stayed at a cabin in the Norwegian mountains, with no electricity and no water, far away from people and civilization, only a few sheep outside the windows. That’s where our first songs were made, and where the seed to what would become Ask Carol started. One more year went by before we started for real, and Ask Carol was officially born, in 2016.
Our first concert ever was at a small blues club in Seoul, South Korea, called Strange Fruit. At that point, Carol was already a somewhat known guitarist-for-hire in the Oslo music scene, and had never ever sung in front of people before, or at all for that matter. That’s why we wanted to try out our music and hold our first concerts far away from our hometown.
After thinking hard and long about the band name, with many pretty good suggestions, we ended up with the simple band name Ask Carol, the first names of our two members, Ask and Carol, put together. Ask is a real Norwegian name, coming from Norse Mythology, the Viking religion; Ask was the first human being, created by the God Odin, out of a piece of Ash-wood. You can read all about that story here.
2. How would you describe your sound?
Our music has a grungy, alt-pop rock vibe with a lot of guitars and female pop/rock vocals. The vocals can be soft then suddenly turn mean, fierce and badass. Usually we sound a little more rough live than on the records, with more of our rock influences shining through live. We like so much different music, and different genres, and we believe by blending them we can create something a little bit new.
Being only two, playing almost all instruments live on stage, our live-style is multitasking, with both of us often playing two instruments at a time, maybe even more. For bigger concerts/stages we use either a third person or a little bit of tracks to fill in.
The next single we have coming up is a catchy disco- punk alt-pop tune with a retro vibe. Intimate vocals and grungy guitars setting the mood, with a dreamy background and pulsating beat. Could probably make you think of bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, KOLARS, or maybe Faces On TV.
3. What bands/artists would you say have influenced your style of music?
Ask: The bands I have been most influenced by personally is The Clash, I think, which I listened to a lot when growing up. But more recently I have been influenced by other bands, and musical environments, even some electronic music, not that pop, trendy EDM stuff, but more obscure electronic stuff, which I think is cool.
Carol: I have been influenced by a lot of different bands and artists and different generes. Grunge, rock, Blues, Soul and Jazz. I would say some of the biggest inspirations for me, would be Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill and Norah Jones. Been listening to those artists since my teens and this is often what I still listen to.
4. Has the rise of YouTube & music streaming helped or hindered you as a band?
To some degree, definitely. We live in a small mountain community, where we (the two people of Ask Carol), make up the whole population between the age of 20 to 35. Therefore the internet and streaming can help us reach more people, especially in these times when travels are not allowed. We have relied heavily on traveling to spread our music, but these days we’ll have to rely more on YouTube etc to connect with fans. Feel free to shoot us a message, we love connecting with people and fans!
5. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not making music?
Ask: We do so much different stuff with this project, so it takes up almost all of our time. We’re not just playing music, we do a lot of filming, making videos, we make clothes, t shirts and stuff, we do graphic design, and we make art. With all these different things to do, if we get a little tired of one thing, there’s always something different we can do.
But, occasionally, I like to watch a movie or grab a drink with some friends (outside of music festival, conferences or gigs).
Carol: Like Ask said, this project takes up almost all of our time and in this project I get to do all the things I love; music, playing guitar, filming, drawing designs and animations, travel, food etc. If I’m not making music I think I still would be playing guitar or maybe watching a movie. And of course I love grabbing a drink with some friends eating food and go for some small hikes in the Norwegian woods.
6. What are your future plans musically? Tours?
Well, for obvious reasons, many of the plans for 2020 had to be suddenly changed…. We had plans for tours in US, Europe (UK, Germany etc), and even another one in the Philippines, but all tours, festivals and gigs got cancelled. The main focus now is our debut album, which is scheduled to be released early 2021. We’re doing what we can to prepare for touring and other stuff when the concerts can begin again after the outbreak. No one knows exactly when that will be, though, so we are all a little bit wary, but we try to keep our hopes up and stay positive!
The good news is, we have a new single ready. It will be released already this May, on the 15th! It’s called ‘Run With You’ and will be out on Spotify, Apple Music and everything else. As there will be no touring, we’re planning on releasing more stuff online this summer.