By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Vocalist/Guitarist Tarah G. Carpenter and Drummer/Background Vocalist Coralie Hervé are the feisty Los Angeles based independent power duo of Tarah Who?, who’ve made their musical stride along the way of catchy, anthemic choruses and a callback to 90’s grunge since their 2006 formation.
Influenced by 90’s powerhouses like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters, Carpenter strives off her study of psychology and human behavior and uses personal and news stories for her songwriting skills.
Over time, Tarah Who? has released two full-lengths and three EPs and has even had help from Alanis Morissette’s guitarist, Jason Orme, who played on the EPs ‘Half Middle Child Syndrome’ and ’64 Women,’ as well as the November 2019 single “Pantomath,” which will have a music video set to premiere soon.
To keep fans entertained while in quarantine, Tarah Who? have released an online docu-series entitled “How It All Began,” which focuses on their journey to their musical dreams from the perspective of two women who play loud music.
Music Bugle – Out of the music videos you guys have shot, which is your favorite?
Coralie Hervé – I really love them all. They have different vibes to it that well represents the song. The first one that I shot with Tarah Who? was “Numb Killer” and it was an amazing experience, so I’ll say this one because it’s the first one.
Tarah G. Carpenter – Coco is right. Each one of them has a totally different story and approach. Our friend Maria Quintana, you can find her online by the name @ninapapalote, is our photographer and DP for music videos. We trust her 200 percent with everything that we have in mind. She is like a band member. She cares as much about the video as we care about our sound. “Numb Killer” was in-studio and was a really fun and intense experience. “Hurt” was really fun because I got to work with Benny The Jet. I love martial arts, so it was an honor to meet with him and practice with a legend. My favorite is yet to be released to the public, “Pantomath”! I am super excited about this one because we shot it in the desert and we got our favorite team together. I got to ride my motorcycle with A Quest Called Tribe and we had an amazing location. It was sunny, we all got sunburnt, Maria’s mom made some delicious food for the crew, we used a drone, we had porta potties and all of that right before the lockdown of COVID-19. I mean, come on! We named Maria’s crew The Three Musketeers because they are so amazing! Jude, Abadi and Junbai Z. – All three women are super passionate about their job and it is always a pleasure to work with them. We trust them 100 percent when on set. They work really hard and the results show.
Music Bugle – In what ways has the Coronavirus affected your band directly? Any advice for anybody feeling “cabin fever”?
Coralie Hervé – We cannot really rehearse together, so it sucks, but we are working on our own. I’ll say people can listen to music, watch some live shows, play video games and watch TV shows to pass the time and “escape” this troubled time.
Tarah G. Carpenter – Coco and I rehearse a lot and we are used to seeing each other plenty as well. In that sense, it has affected us, but we text and call each other. Right before the lockdown, we tracked some songs, so luckily, we are able to rehearse individually. I am also working on new songs, so I will be sending over demos soon. I have been catching up on a lot of things actually since the lockdown and preparing the release of our new music video. The big bummer was the cancellation of our tour, but it was totally out of our hands and every show was rescheduled for when buying toilet paper goes back to being a normal thing. Well, if you have cabin fever, now is a time to take care of yourself and do things that you love, for yourself. That is probably the hardest thing to do for some people who are so used to just keep going. Relaxing may seem weird, but it is sometimes well-needed. I use my time fixing things at home, painting, being creative, playing my instruments and catching up on some series. There is so much to do!
Music Bugle – How do you feel your “How It All Began” docu-series sessions have gone?
Coralie Hervé – I’m really happy about it. Tarah did an amazing job and people are liking it.
Tarah G. Carpenter – I have heard a lot of great feedback from the docu-series. We are not expecting any kind of major breakthrough. I am not a movie editor and I don’t have the best quality footage either, but I think the idea is there for anyone who is interested in getting to know the band and how it all started, being a woman in Rock, being an independent band and the music industry today. More episodes will come where we interview record labels, musicians, other bands, etc. and I am hoping to inspire anyone who has ever wanted to be in a band or just educate anyone who has ever wondered what it meant to be an independent artist. We are an example for the docu-series, but I think that this is true for any type of business even, who is independent.
Music Bugle – Which of your musical influences do you feel shine the most through your work?
Tarah G. Carpenter – In my ear, I think Alanis Morissette in terms of the open writing and sound-wise, I think The Distillers meets the Foo Fighters. We hear everything on the road though, from Motorhead to Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Dead Kennedys, AFI…. We have heard it all.
Music Bugle – To you, what’s the band’s most meaningful song or set of lyrics?
Tarah G. Carpenter – That is a hard one for me because they are all very personal songs. They are all stories about someone I met or events that happened that deeply affected me. “14 Months,” for instance, is about a mother who drowned her 14 month-old baby. “Sirens” is about the Paris attacks. “Hurt” is about a betrayal. “As Long As It Takes” is about being there for a friend who had a drug addiction. “In A Rush” is about taking the step to leave my home, family and friends to move to Los Angeles for my dream of music. “Lost ‘N Cold” is about a homeless woman I used to see everyday after work and I wondered what her story was. I would give her food and beverages when I could. I still really enjoy the lyrics of “Unbalanced” and “Human To Be” that are songs about being more kind to each other. I refer to John Lennon’s “Imagine” in “Unbalanced,” wondering what happened to all of the people who listened to that song. Still today, his lyrics have so much impact and meaning. It was a call to all of the people who once imagined a world in peace basically. “Human To Be” is about feeling good about who you are. Your skin, your sexuality, your body, your gender, whatever it is. Learn to love yourself and surround yourself with people who love you back. You can’t please everyone and you can’t expect everyone to understand or accept you, but you can make the choice to stay by and with someone who loves you for who you are.
Music Bugle – Is it harder or easier to stand out as a band with the use of social media?
Tarah G. Carpenter – Sometimes, it is harder because anyone can become a band and be on social media. Some other days, it feels easier because we are able to communicate and reach out to people all around the world. I personally enjoy Instagram, so it is easy for me to post and share. I am less into Facebook because there is too much going on and Twitter, I just don’t get it. If you want to reach out, definitely Instagram is the best bet. Get us at @tarahwho.
Music Bugle – What has been your favorite moment while playing onstage?
Coralie Hervé – Being able to play music with Tarah, it’s always fun!
Tarah G. Carpenter – Aw, Coco! Yes, we do have a lot of fun together. On and off stage. Every show is different. We have a really great chemistry together and we usually feel the same way about shows. After we play, we look at each other and we can tell if we have had a good time. It is rare that we don’t agree about a show. We feed off each other’s mood and our audience’s energy. I like jumping on Coralie’s drums, but I also like screaming or when Coralie feels comfortable enough to make jokes. Like, there is a stop in the song and I am waiting on her to start again, but she pauses for a while, to the point that everyone is wondering what is going on! My favorite moment in general is when we are able to connect with our fans and people mosh.
Music Bugle – What do you feel people should know about the band?
Tarah G. Carpenter – Well, that is why I made the docu-series! If you have any questions, most of them should be answered in it. Outside of that, people should know that it is not because we are two female musicians, or just a duo, that we are not loud.
Music Bugle – What do you look to accomplish that you feel you haven’t yet as a group?
Coralie Hervé – We did a lot! Went on a couple tours, shot music videos, recorded music, but what I would love to do would be to play some summer festivals. That would be awesome!
Tarah G. Carpenter – I agree with Coralie. I would love to play some big festivals. I feel that it would be a lot of fun.
Music Bugle – What is your biggest source of motivation, generally speaking?
Coralie Hervé – Continue to have fun, playing music that I like and keep learning more and more about my instrument.
Tarah G. Carpenter – I try to follow my instinct. If I am not having fun, I stop doing it. I started playing when I was 14 years old. I have never stopped. I have one life in this body. I just want to do as much as I can while I can. Time won’t wait for me. A few years ago, I thought I was sick. For a few days, I lived with the idea of maybe that was it. It literally changed my perception on a lot of things. Now, I feel like I am always running out of time. I can’t stand people who can’t make a decision because we all know what we want. We just need to manifest it. My motivation, generally speaking, is the end result of things. I can’t stand unfinished businesses in any area of my life. If I start something, I have to get it done!