Following a string of brilliant releases, blending strength of songwriting with the purity of acoustic performance, it was a pleasure to dig a little deeper into the elusive corner of creativity that is Carnival Mind. Here’s the conversation in full.
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Hi Carnival Mind – great to finally chat, thanks for your time! Where do I even begin? LOVE the songs. Will you introduce yourselves for those who don’t know – what is Carnival Mind, and who’s in the band?
Hi Rebecca, thanks – we’ve been really looking forward to talking with you before the end of what has been a very exciting year for Carnival Mind.
Carnival Mind is currently a five-piece musical project of collaboration between an evolving line-up of likeminded musicians who appreciate the concept of great original songs.
Carnival Mind members are: Dave, Wasp, Mr Tibbs, Rich & Violet B.
All members contribute to what makes up the Carnival Mind signature sound.
Carnival Mind believes great music is ‘Sans Borders’, meaning we see ourselves as an international act who write songs for people, not markets.
How do you write – what comes first out of the idea, the music, the melody, the lyrics, and is there much of an editing process?
We write separately & together with all of us contributing lyrics or melody, depending on what is required, to finish the song.
When Wasp says a song is ready, we know he’s going to pull out all the stops on the next take.
Sky’s the Limit was scribbled on the back of a beer coaster by Rich & Dave down the Pub one Friday night… Mr Tibbs said it only took 5 minutes but the rest of the band reckon it was 10 minutes at least, or 1 round of drinks.
Easy To Run was the first song of yours to cross my path. The mood is bright, passionate, self-empowered in a sense, the lyrics are topical, broadly relevant. Then we get the likes of a more deeply personal and emotive, reflective Shots. How do you know which direction to take a song in, and do you always trust your gut or is there some second-guessing or doubt involved?
We never doubt our instincts, We trust our ears, if it sounds right it usually is… We don’t wait to be told our songs are good, We know it when we write one.
Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger are a huge influence on Carnival Mind just like The Beatles and The greatest guitar player of all time Jimi Hendrix. Just ask Wasp about Castles Made of Sand. He’s s got the tattoo!
When Violet B sings people can’t help but draw comparisons to the legendary singer Grace Slick and Stevie Nicks, so look out for those songs.
“Carnival Mind believes great music is ‘Sans Borders’, meaning we see ourselves as an international act who write songs for people, not markets.”
Are the songs personally rooted or based on the stories you see around you?
Easy To Run is a cry of dissatisfaction of life and disenchanted youth & at its core, just a great road trippin’ song.
Which of your songs is your favourite, personally, and why?
That changes almost daily but it’s usually the one we are writing at the moment.
Shots is what we call a slow burn song…it won’t come running over to you …it merely exudes the vibe “Listen to me or not, I don’t give a F*#k”. It runs for over seven minutes and probably shouldn’t work … but it does & that’s why it’s one of our favourites… A big following for that song in the Ukraine by the way, go figure! If you don’t appreciate one ballad you may not appreciate the next.
Love Will take Us There is just a beautiful love ballad which arrived while we were trying to write a hard hitting rock song about a homicidal maniac ha,ha… As we said before … you got to go where the song takes you!
All the tracks are recorded live – for this I’m grateful, it’s refreshing! What made you choose to do this; was it artistically focused or just for ease of access?
Carnival Mind records live with no overdubs or autotune which gives our songs that energy & intimacy that is so often lacking in recorded music.
The other great thing about recording live is you get the song down as well as you can & then you move on to the next song… we’re not looking for perfection, just as long as the vibe of the song is delivered then it’s job done, move on before you beat the life out of the song!
The ‘less is more’ angle works beautifully. It reminds music fans of the strength of song writing and musicianship in their purest forms. Having said that, are there any cases in which you think you might like to toy with a bigger arrangement – either as a remix or live version, for a different kind of impact?
We are Carnival Mind…Go and Listen to us.. We’ve written great songs like Love Will Take Us There and Somewhere Down The Line and Our approach to song writing is about making people understand “The Moment” when they hear it.
The new release includes the wonderful Somewhere Down The Line’– what inspired you to write this one, and what does it mean to you?
Somewhere Down the Line is pure escapism, the vibe is … I’m not sticking around here to take all your crap, I’m gone… but “You know I’ll see you there, Somewhere Down The Line”
What’s the live scene like where you are, pre-covid, and do you perform live much – if so, how does that experience compare to the act of writing and recording something for yourself?
Every time the band gets together it’s another performance… Wasp spends a lot of time noodling, he’s as good as Sting on a good day!
Mr Tibbs is a frustrated Saxophone player who has only played Harp so far on Our recordings… but We’ll let him play Sax… if we ever do a cover of Baker Street”. Haha, not.
Is there a longer project in the works?
We are currently busy working on our first EP release of all new material, which we will hopefully get out soon… so stay tuned folks!
What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?
“Don’t ever be involved in a three piece band”
What’s your greatest ambition?
To get to bed before sunrise!
Is there anything else we should know?
Thanks for the interview Rebecca, we love your work.
“Carnival Mind is waiting… So come on and join Carnival Mind”