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Carriages interview – Putting Down Roots

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Experimental-folk duo Carriages took the time to meet with me ahead of a practice session for their upcoming double A-side single launch this Friday in Fumbally cafe to speak about their approach to songwriting and the group’s latest record. 

“I think we felt that with this track we had written something for the summer” says vocalist Aaron Page about the duo’s ‘Roots /Significant Landscapes’ single. “That would be a really great thing to do, to just keep writing for the seasons. It’s never that there’s this big decision of “this is what we are doing”, we just like to write was happening around us now.”

Indeed Carriages are a group who take in even the sounds around them and blend them into their vast atmospheric music. “I was in the National Print Museum one day and brought a recorder with me” recalls band member Harry Brookless about the creation of ‘Roots’, the first half the duo’s new release. “I started recording all the machines in there, and that noise from one of the machines makes the beat in the background of ‘Roots’ and dictated the speed of the song itself”.

This persistent pace and overall theme is something that influences the lyrical content of Carriages songs, with Page commenting on the inspirations behind the words that “it always seems to come when I’m on transport or on the way home. Since I first started listening to the samples and beats that Harry sent me I just felt this movement in them. When I listened to the beats for ‘Roots’ I was moving house at the time and that made me think of picking up your roots and placing them down.”

“There’s two meanings for every line” Aaron continues. “one for family and home, and the other for making art. Meaning, if this is our roots going out, the music, then that’s what makes us happy and you try to keep that close to you”.

Carriages will play their first headline show at the Fumbally cafe in Dublin this Friday night. Speaking about how this compares to the pair’s early shows Page said “For a while there we got almost six months out of a half hour set (laughs). If anyone had ever asked us for an encore we’d of had to do the Neil Young trick of playing the first song again. I think that forced us to go and write more songs”.

In recent times, Carriages have become something of a mainstay on the Irish live music scene, playing support at several shows including Halves last headliner gig in the Workman’s and numerous Homebeat events. With the group’s expansive studio sound Harry speaks about keeping the recording process separate from the live performance approach.

“We try to never limit recording by whether we can play it live or not” comments Brookless. “We take the recording first, then worry about how to do it live afterwards. It’s better to not think about playing it live until we have it actually finished. Playing live can more repetitive than the studio and you never want to get that way when making the recordings”.

With Brookless and Page having worked separately (Harry currently plays with Little Xs For Eyes and Aaron recorded the brilliant Water Cycle album In The Company of Friends) Page talks about how writing for Carriages differs from these groups. “It’s a totally different experience for me. Sometimes I’ll be at home writing and I’ll know if something is or isn’t a Carriages song. You end up sectioning them off, I would write different songs with Harry than I would on my own. The beautiful thing about working as a team is that you can go places and vibe off each other in ways that you wouldn’t on your own.

“I remember at the beginning I didn’t get the same feeling off the songs” Aaron continues “When you work on your own songs you can get completely absorbed by it. But writing with Harry has worked out better in a lot of ways, you learn to be a lot more relaxed about it and not obsess over things”.

Carriages’ singe ‘Roots/Significant Landscapes‘ is out now. They will play a launch gig in Fumbally Cafe on July 4th before embarking on an Irish tour this summer. For more information on Friday’s show visit the events Facebook page. Listen to ‘Roots’ by Carriages by clicking below.

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