Wanting What I Can’t Have is the second single to be released from Carla J. Easton‘s forthcoming LP Impossible Stuff, which was recorded in Canada with Howard Bilerman, known for his work with Arcade Fire.
Carla spoke with The Fountain about working with Howard Bilerman, what it is she wants but can’t have and her favourite gigs to date.
TF: A new single release, a later album release and a tour, performing with Darren Hayman and at Doune the Rabbit Hole later in the year, there is much to be happy about?
Yes! I’m excited to be performing and the response to my new material has been wonderful. I’m enjoying switching between full band and stripped back performances and it’s great to be working with Olive Grove Records and Last Night From Glasgow over the course of this year to release some singles from the forthcoming album.
TF: And with the new LP, what can we expect from that?
I’m really excited by the response I’ve had for the album from the few people I have let hear it. I spent all of last year writing and prepping it – starting with recording sessions at La Chunky Studio in Glasgow with Colin McGeoch which could then be flown over to Montreal with me and worked on and finished at Hotel2Tango in Montreal with Howard Bilerman.
Most of 2017 was spent back home in the middle of nowhere, returning to writing on the piano rather than the synth, exploring themes of lucid dreaming and the blur between reality and fantasy. I wanted to push the piano to the fore of my latest work, developing polyphonic string and brass arrangements that would sit alongside choir-influenced harmonies, combining the artificial sounds of the synth with the realness of live playing in a New Wall of Sound. It’s travel, love, break ups, regrets, longings, dreams and an expression of my love of music.
I recorded twelve tracks in total in Montreal – ten work together to create a full album as a whole collection rather than as a grouping of individual tracks. I’ve left two off – an instrumental piece and a collaboration with poet Michael Pedersen that we might try and do as a one off special thing sometime this year.
TF: And what do you want that you cannot have?
This is a question that I have since asked friends and the answers can either be funny and upifting or heartbreakingly sad. I guess for me, it’ll always be that I want the conversations and interactions with people that aren’t possible anymore because of them passing. Though my imagination and dreams let me do that.
TF: What has it been like working with Howard Bilerman in the production of this record?
The ten days spent in Hotel2Tango working with Howard and the musicians in my recording band were the best ten days of my life and I’m more than positive I’ll remember them always. We all worked together to make a unique record that was a snapshot in time. Because I was in Glasgow prior to recording and the rest of the band were spread out over Canada, we had no time to rehearse. A lot of the record was recorded live off the studio floor, with overdubs and edits taking place afterwards. Howard would have us all ready to go, we’d run the song maybe twice and then he would hit record. There was some sort of magic in the air that wasn’t just the humidity from the incredible Indian Summer and everything came together easily and with a lot of enthusiasm, fun and consideration from all involved. Howard was wonderful to work with.
TF: What has been your favourite gig to date?
Recently – I’ve been switching between playing with a full band or just solo or with one or two people playing with me which has been great to do and pushed me as a musician – especially when it comes to performing completely alone with my synth. I really loved playing with my Canadian friends when they came over in January this year – particularly our show at the Sebright Arms in London. It was the last date on a small tour of the UK and we don’t know when we will all play together again so was heightened by a sense of anticipation for what would be next in our transatlantic journey.
I recently played Sneaky Pete’s with a new band behind me made up of some friends in Scotland and it was wonderful! The sound we created was huge and there is nothing a love more than making a huge wall of sound. I’m very lucky to have a pool of wonderful, talented musicians willing to play with me on both sides of the pond.