-Interview- Ask Carol (6/1/20)

Ask Carol talks about how they got started, the Norway music scene and much more.


From: Oslo, Norway
Sounds like: Rock

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name “Ask Carol" and is there any meaning behind it?

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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ask_and_Embla

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

We want people to be part of the Ask Carol experience. What we care the most about are the songs themselves, the melodies and lyrics. Of course, we love the production and everything around it too, but still, what is closest to our hearts are the songs. If there's only one thing someone remembers of us, and our songs can mean something for them, then we would be happy.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

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 last single we released, on May 15th, 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.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Ask: I would really love to tour with Twenty One Pilots, The Kills or The Brian Jonestown Massacre. BJM we have supported before, and it was awesome. It's a great band.

Carol: Tame Impala, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

5. What are your three desert island albums that you'd never get tired of listening to?

Ask: Oh, there's so many good ones! I'd probably choose London Calling by The Clash, Echos by Pink Floyd and Sky Blue Sky by Wilco.

Carol: Oh no, it's too difficult to choose! But if I'd have to pick three, it would be Norah Jones with Come Away With Me, something by Aretha Franklin and Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. And I would sneak with me, George Benson Anthology, Nirvana Unplugged, Stevie Wonder and Are You Experienced by Jimi Hendrix. But honostly, just three CD's, it's impossible to choose! My music taste is all over the place, has always been!

6. What’s your take on the current state of Rock?

Think there's probably alot of great rock today to, but we live in a time were genres are blendig together more than ever. Sometimes it's hard to say what is rock, what is pop, altrnative etc and it's sometimes hard to find the relly great bands, cause there's so much "noise", so much new good and bad music, subjectively speaking, that is released everyday. There's also the fact that because Spotify (and others) throw so much music at you, it's harder to get that solid connection with bands. This might be more the case for us, who grew up in the nineties, but we feel when you don't have that physical relationship, in form of for example a CD, you become less invested in bands. You have all the worlds music available at your fingertips, just a click away. It does something to music and fan mentality.

7. What’s the current music scene like there in Norway?

The music scene in Norway is okay, but a little narrow. There are lot's of great bands, but most are underground, as it's a very narrow specter of artists who get to float up to the surface (by the gatekeepers). Norway is a small country, so the audience here isn't that big. It's kind of like a big city in the US. And it's really only three cities were there is any music scene, Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim. The music that gets the most attention here is usually some sweet mellow music, often with a cute young girl, or it could be some good old rock, maybe a little too nostalgic for some. Black metal is very big too, and Norwegian metal is big in the rest of the world. We don't really hear much about it here at home though.

8. What’s your take on legal/illegal music downloading?

This story is not as black and white as many make it out to be. We grew up in the 90s, and downloading music was big part of our childhood, and our first interaction with music. We used Napster and BearShare and we discovered some music we never ever would have discovered otherwise. And we still bought CD's of the bands we really loved. But still, the artists, songwriters, producers need to get paid, and it's not okay for companies, middle men, to make money off of other peoples hard work... But hey, isn't that kind of what Facebook, YouTube and those guys are doing today? This discussion has so many facets and no simple answer, so we could go on, but we'll leave that for another time.

9. What’s next for Ask Carol?

Next up will be working on our upcoming album, new songs, preparing som new singles for later this summer, and filming. As soon as it makes sense we'll start work on booking some gigs, hopefully the situation will be good enough to play some gigs before this yeaer is over :) We'll keep posting news to our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!