Charlotte Carpenter interview: From doubt to realisation

Looking ahead to the release 'How Are We To Ever Know', Charlotte Carpenter opens up about the EP and her love for banana cake.

Ben Smith

Date published: 3rd Jun 2016

Image: Charlotte Carpenter

Charlotte Carpenter is a musician who operates very much on her own terms; she releases music on her very own independent label and is yet to encounter the tripwire of prematurely releasing a debut album. 

Now on the verge of releasing her sixth EP - How Are We Ever To Know, the stars are beginning to align for the singer/songwriter and her deep-cutting, ambient take on the blues. 

Relaying the story of a past break-up, the track-listing of this EP is mapped out in chronological order of when the songs were scribed, giving this bunch of emotionally caressing numbers a meaningful quirk. 

Ahead of Charlotte's stop-off at Hare and Hounds in Birmingham on Thursday 9th June - a day ahead of the EP release - we caught up with the high-flying songstress to delve into her world. (Listen to the newly released video for 'Burn' below)

Your tour begins in just a few days, how are you feeling, any nerves?

I am feeling so ready, like I have a few skeletons to shake off. It’s my favourite part of the releasing process; I get to put Facebook/Twitter names to faces and have some fun with my band.

After a few months of writing and gearing up everything for this release, I’m ready for people to finally hear the show.

You write tender, emotional songs, what has been your main inspiration for your upcoming EP?

I wrote this EP during the demise of my first serious relationship, so they feel more emotional than ever. Each song tackles every emotion, from doubt to realisation. The track listing is in chronological order of when I wrote them, so listeners can follow the journey with me.

You've had your music played on Radio 2 by Dermot O'Leary, how important is such support for you and fellow independent artists?

Support is all which matters for independent artists. We are in a world saturated with consumerism, big brands and news stories with big names, so It can be difficult to ever feel as though you have a place, even when you feel like you deserve one.

It’s a tough industry, so when persuasive figures like Dermot or Radio 2 begin to pay attention, it really helps the interest to keep growing. (Listen to the track below)

You celebrated with banana cake when you heard it, has that been commonplace throughout your music career - most artists crack a bottle of bubbly?

Ha! The banana cake was in the oven already, but I decided to celebrate by eating it ALL. Usually, it’s a nice IPA to be honest, but I didn’t have any in the house.

I’m planning to celebrate in Brighton the week after my tour finishes and the EP is released, maybe I’ll have bubbly then! Or gin. Most likely, gin.

Tell us about your very own indie label 'Let It Go'… 

I started this label four years ago and named it after a really old song I wrote from my first EP. It was the first song I’d written that I thought 'maybe I am alright at this…’. I took that feeling and used it as a starting point. Today, Let It Go means more to me than I initially realised.

Even though being independent is hard work, I have a home which I’ve made for myself to grow and develop, and to experiment without anyone telling me what to do.

You state on your FB page “I'm becoming something I never thought I could” - could you expand on this for us?

Even though the biggest news like radio play surprises me, it’s the simple things which make me feel this way. I never imagined making the sort of music I do; playing with a band or having amps taking up too much space in my bedroom.

Sometimes I feel out of place because my music isn't always genre specific, so when people buy tickets, download my music or write to me, I'm over the moon and often in disbelief.

I never thought something I started in my bedroom when I was young could translate to other people. I can have these outer body experiences where the 14 year old me can’t believe what’s happening at all. (Listen to a further song from the EP below)

You’re biding your time in terms of a debut album, which is admirable when artists seem quick to make the leap these days. Do you find it’s more important to build a profile and find yourself as a musician than it is to make an instant statement? 

It’s crucial that I give myself enough time to grow before I make a big statement like a debut record. Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but a debut record should be everything you've ever wanted to say.

I would never want to begin recording an album and to feel like I've already grown past it by the time it’s released. I’d rather spend my time trying to become better, and continue to build a fan base that feel as though they’re on the journey with me, so when the time comes, It’ll be a big moment and they’ll be able to celebrate with me.

How is your festival season shaping up, both as an artist and a fan?

A lot of my festivals were early this year, I had 2Q, Handmade and Dot To Dot. I have Red Rooster coming up, Northampton Music Festival, Belladrum and BLIUZO NAKTYS in Lithuania, which is my first show outside of the UK!

As a fan, I didn’t manage to get Glastonbury tickets this year so I’m still heartbroken by that, although I might try get myself to Somerset House to see Courtney Barnett; I adore her. 

Thanks Charlotte!

Catch Charlotte at the Hare and Hounds in Birmingham on Thursday 9th June - tickets via the box below.

Like this? Try our interview with Max Jury: From Dylan to Drake

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