I’ve been following the career of Los Angeles’ Tarah Who? since we spotlighted them a while ago. Last time we heard from them, the band was a trio, and now they’re down to a duo. I reached out to Tarah G. Carpenter and Coralie Hervé to get the low down on what happened. “Yeah… this was a really challenging time for us”, admits Carpenter. “Ten days before the European tour, Joey (Southern, bass) told us that he wouldn’t come.” Losing your bass player on the eve of a tour will throw off any band, but that wasn’t the end of their troubles. “Then Coralie tells me that she can’t make it either because of visa issues”, she recalls. Luckily, Tarah was able to enlist their friend Jeannette Lawler on drums, who learned their set in a week. But the band had no choice but to use prerecorded bass tracks for the shows. “I was not happy about that at first”, Carpenter admits, “because I like to be punk rock and play everything, but we didn’t have a choice. I thought about playing the bass but we were missing the guitar, I thought about using a BassVI but we were missing the guitar. So the only solution was to use tracks. It was really really hard but we made it happen.” The duo configuration ended up working out well, and appealed to their fans. “It makes us look stronger,” she reasons. “You see 2 chicks rocking out and I guess people really dig it!”
The band is working on a new EP, and judging by their latest single ‘Panthomath’, it’s going to be a scorcher. “It was very intentional” replies the singer. “I wanted a simple punk rock song, to show that Coralie and I still have it. It is just the two of us on that song and (producer) Jason Orme (Alanis Morissette) also chose a very simple set up for the mics. Everything was very limited and raw. We wanted a live feel and I think we got it! I am super excited about our new music. It is going to be more raw, more rock.”
Tarah is also building a home studio, which allows her to remain creative despite the current health crisis. “I am really happy to be recording the next EP there”, she says. ” We were really lucky to have been able to shoot the music video right before the lock down. Now I have all the time I need to edit, work on the documentary, promote, and do interviews. It sucks about the tour, but everyone is SO supportive and we were able to reschedule our whole tour.”
I dug into the meaning of the word ‘pantomath’ and found out it describes a person who thinks they know everything. Knowing that Carpenter’s lyrics are usually very personal, I wondered if there was a story behind the song. “Always!”, she replies enthusiastically. “All the songs are drawn from my life or at least perspective on events or situations. This song refers to mansplaining. The chorus is about a conversation I was having with another musician who wouldn’t understand why others were not doing things the way he does. It got me thinking about success and the road to success. I am more of a believer that ‘everything happens for a reason’. 10 years ago, I was eager too. I thought I was ready and did not understand why? someone would have more followers than we did. I grew SO much since! I would not take my experience away for anything. I keep learning every single day, as the music industry changes with how to be attractive to the mass population!”
As a final thought, I asked Tarah to share the story of the craziest gig she has ever played. “Back in London, we played this show at a very hardcore punk venue,” she recalls. “We were the pop band of the evening to give you an idea of how we felt when we arrived! I told the band to play everything faster and to follow my tempos, and I screamed my heart out. Our audience loved it so much that they were having a hard time breathing in between songs. They were having such a good time that I could see that they were dying but they didn’t want to miss anything. Then I saw this girl in pain. She had broken her arm. Security came to escort her and she refused! She insisted on staying at least until the end of the song. It was an amazing show!”
You can keep up with Tarah Who? during stay-at-home measures by heading out to www.tarawho.com.