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Tarah Who? on defining their sound

“Just because of the way I looked. I was either cute so I was going to be an ‘Avril Lavigne’, or when I did my acoustic thing, I was amongst all of those other female singer songwriters. I never felt that I fit in.”

Tarah G. Carpenter first started writing songs when she was 17 years old. As she pursued growth in her career, she moved to LA and started releasing her solo acoustic work.

Carpenter was faced with the dilemma of defining who she was, and what her work would be.

“People, sound engineers and producers have tried so many times to turn me into someone I wasn’t,” she says. “Just because of the way I looked. I was either cute so I was going to be an “Avril Lavigne”, or when I did my acoustic thing, I was amongst all of those other female singer songwriters. I never felt that I fit in.”

“Because I listen to Pantera, or the distillers, then people tried to change my sounds into something similar,” she continues. “Which was frustrated because I love those bands, it doesn’t mean I want to sound like them. It was very conflicting and I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but it just wasn’t what I wanted for my songs.”

After letting the majority of her band go two days prior to recording an album in studio, Carpenter and her friend Pilal improvised with a recording of “Little Out There.”

“I felt the freedom of producing and creating music I wrote,” she says. “No one was trying to change anything, I did not feel judged. Thanks to this experience, I had a tool now, to find musicians, and teach them the songs how they should sound like.”

Fast forward to about two years ago, and Coralie Hervé joins Carpenter as a drummer for the band.

In April 2018, Joey Southern (now bassist and backing vocals for the band) sat contemplating a message from Carpenter in his inbox – inviting him to play bass in her band.

One west coast tour later, Tarah Who? has developed into a talented group of professional musicians.

“I finally can rely on mature, professional musicians, who I am not afraid to communicate how a song is meant to be played because of its meanings and intentions.” Carpenter says. “I love working with them and we have a great time. They are both amazing people and very talented musicians. It is very comforting to be able to go to rehearsal and say, ‘hey this part, let’s change it a bit, let’s do this instead”. You don’t have to say it twice, you don’t have to go over it over and over again, and they remember for the next time!”

This March, the band released 64 Women, an EP containing five captivating songs.

When developing their work, the band members each draw inspiration from different outlets. Carpenter draws lyrical inspiration from life events and people she knows.

“Anything that is lived, or felt , that I feel the need to share or communicate is an inspiration for a new song,” she says. “Topics that people can either relate to or be inspired from.”

Outside of lyrics, she is drawn to sounds of the 90’s – think bass heavy sounds, noise and grunge.

“Anything that is raw; alive and played,” she says. “Show me your emotions through your music. I want to see and hear sweat, anger, sadness, vulnerability.”

Southern says that he draws inspiration from other bass players live performances.

“I am fortunate to live within walking distance of a few venues and go out to see living legends play when I can from Mike Watt to Janek Gwizdala,” he says.

Meanwhile, Hervé is drawn to various genres, including classic rock and metal – noting symphonic band Nightwish as an inspiration.

Working as a team after Southerns arrival, the band strives to keep developing new music and expanding on what they have already created.

“We work harder then before adding nuances to live songs and full production music videos,” says Southern.

The band’s most recent music video, “Number Killer” can be viewed below.

“This release was a very important step for Tarah Who?” says Carpenter. “We have received a lot of attention from this new EP, and I can only hope for better exposure next year. We have still a lot happening for the rest of the year and the big step was to release this EP with this current line-up.”

Carpenter says that the next EP will be a continuation of 64 Women. 

“I would like to inspire our fans to live their lives to its fullest without caring about judgement,” she says. “We only have one life to live and we can’t waste our time worrying or trying to please everyone. We have to live our lives for ourselves. Find the balance between doing so without being selfish. Those are two different things. I would like to inspire kindness towards each other as well in accepting all that we are or can become.”

Tarah Who? can be followed on Facebook. Watch their teaser video for upcoming music video for “Hurt” below.

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