Let’s talk music. It’s universal. We all listen, we all have our favorite artists, our favorite songs. It’s a language, a topic of conversation, and something so essentially human. So meet Carousel, a new indie/electronic band that is exploding in the blogosphere.
A blogosphere? Not so universal. Today the web has revolutionized the way we listen to music, and the way we determine what’s popular. For artists, it’s not so much about making it on the radio. It’s about making it onto the cool blogs and getting hits on YouTube. So when “Games”, Carousel’s first hit to go viral, made it on to Hype Machine (one of the ‘popular kids’ in the world of music blogs), it was a good day for Kevin Friedman and Jackson Phillips.
Kevin and Jackson first met in 2007 at a Berklee College of Music summer program, and were then roommates when they both attended the school as undergrads. They studied jazz, but found themselves producing indie/electronic music during their junior and senior years. This past summer they got together with Tyler Cratcha, a fellow Berklee student, and together the trio formed Carousel.
The guys write and produce music together in their apartment in Brighton, Mass. Kevin plays the guitar, and Jackson and Tyler play synthesizers. But what gives them that electronic, ethereal feel is a computer program called Ableton Live. Through this program they are able to give their music more depth and layers. Not that this band isn’t skilled in the traditional way – first they process their vocals, guitar, drum and bass live and then they edit it through Ableton. This way they can produce a track with 50-100 layers, as opposed to five if they were to be purely acoustic.
While the band is still in its infancy, these guys have high goals, and the talent and determination to reach them. Kevin admits that “ ‘Games’ happened on its own”. It was a “fluke”, a stroke of luck. They sent the song to a friend who put it on a blog, and from there it spread like wildfire. But in this day and age, with so much music available to us through the Internet, luck is what it takes to distinguish one new band from another. So when Hype Machine, a blog that compiles the best music from thousands of blogs daily, discovered “Games”, the boys knew that this was their golden ticket.
When Carousel produced their next song, “The Thrill” they sent it out to different blogs and it then took off on the viral highway and landed again on Hype Machine. Since going viral, Carousel has received a lot of recognition. They have been asked to play at universities in cities around the country, from Atlanta, to Chicago, to L.A. They’ve DJ-ed house parties, played in art galleries, and had their first official gig on February 3rd. This summer they plan to go on tour, ending in L.A. where they hope to move permanently.
But let’s go back to the boys. What brought Kevin, Jackson, and Tyler together was music, but they all share a love of the outdoors, especially animals, the visual arts, and a healthy, balanced way of life. They want their music to reflect this, to make people feel good. That’s how they ended up with the name ‘Carousel’. After two weeks of struggling to find a name, Jackson finally sat down and asked Kevin and Tyler what it was they wanted to create, what their purpose was. And that was feel good music, to put smiles on people’s faces. They thought of different words, and eventually came to Carousel, a fun word and something that makes people happy.
While making it on to Hype Machine is just the beginning, these guys have high hopes and a lot of determination. They were featured on Seventeen Magazine’s website and plan to capitalize on this recent bout of recognition in the months to come. Their goals for the spring are to continue playing in Boston, put out more tracks, gather a larger following, and save money to buy a van for their cross-country tour this summer. Carousel is really excited to spread their music all over the world. They acknowledge that the way music is released and published will transform dramatically over the next ten years and they look forward to being a part of this change.
And finally, a few words from the guys: “always have an open mind towards music of all kinds, and get ready for us because we’re here to stay.”