Ahead of the release of their debut album Too Much, Never Enough we interviewed The Carnabys to get to know the boys from London a bit better. From touring with Blondie to saving small UK music venues this band has done it all. Plus Smashed Vinyl has been given an EXCLUSIVE track, Made The Grade, off their unreleased debut album, which you can find at the bottom of the article.
Firstly, who are The Carnabys?
We are a five-piece outfit from Twickenham, we all met through local house parties, the local jam scene and in pubs around the age of 16. We quickly realised we were all into and liked playing the same music and started playing in our local pubs. It was a way for us to invite all our mates and drink underage and stuff. We called ourselves The Carnabys because of where and how we drew inspiration. Carnaby Street is a place that inspires and is inspired by so many different cultures, arts, fashions and styles of music, like us. We take inspiration from everything we see and hear.
Who would you say your major influences are and why? Also how is this reflected in your new album?
We have different inspirations for different aspects of the band. Musically and and from a live aspect I think we're all inspired by the greats like The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, James Brown, great performers. And then other newer artists like Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines. Lyrically I'm inspired by John Cooper Clarke, Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson. A bit of insanity goes a long way.
Where do you tend to get the inspirations for your songs?
From anything really. It's mostly things I've experienced or felt, sometimes someone tells me a great story and it turns into a song. Songs come from meeting people and generating your own ideologies.
You’ve already toured with the likes of Blondie but if you could tour with anyone who would it be and why?
There's so many people we'd love to tour with. The Stones, The Libertines, Jamie T, anyone we love to listen to and hold similarities with, we'll support you!
You’ve spoken a lot about saving small UK venues because they are dying out, what were your favourite venues growing up and what are your favourite venues now to play at? Has your perception of a good venue changed as you have evolved from fans to artists?
I didn't really go to many gigs/concerts as a kid to be honest. I've seen bands like Foo Fighters or Eric Clapton at Wembley or The Royal Albert Hall and then seeing artists at festivals. It wasn't until I started playing music that I experienced grassroots music venues and realised the importance of them. They're often my favourite type of show, the intimacy is great, and you can feed off the crowd's energy being able to see the expressions on their faces. A good venue needs great equipment (backline, PA system, desk, lighting rig etc), a sweet dressing room and a decent layout for a crowd to get messy in. But it's hard for grassroots venues to pay for all of that stuff, which is why we stress the importance of giving to Music Venue Trust to build YOUR experiences at small venues.
Do you feel that music (and your music) reflects current social and political climates? Whether this be consciously or sub-consciously.
It changes from song to song really. The Pocket focuses on a thief that was caught stealing from my Karate club during a lesson. I started thinking about what pushed him to that level and built this story around what might have happened. Made The Grade is about the expectations of going to uni and getting a degree, and defying those expectations. Our songs touch on a lot of different social aspects. I don't think music and politics mixes well, but who knows, maybe we'll develop a political voice if local councils continue to destroy live music.
As a young up-and-coming band, do you feel streaming services help or hinder your chances of success?
It's a hindrance in a sense that no up and coming artists can have a sustainable career through streaming. But at the same time it makes it much easier to be discovered. It's a shame but I’m not going to try and sway the world to paying for all their music again, it's not realistic.
After you release your album, what is next for The Carnabys?
Tour tour tour tour tour. We're hoping to play the shit out of the album in the Autumn this year. Come see us live!