Sound Analysis

Interview: Mary Caroline

Mary Caroline has spent the last several years touring extensively throughout Canada. When she wasn’t on the road, Caroline also spent time living in a remote trapper’s cabin in the remote wilds of Northwest Territories. Recorded at Hamilton’s Catherine North and due out January 2015, Caroline’s debut studio album “attempts to capture the edginess and beauty” of her northern life. Shot at an abandoned farmhouse, the video for gorgeous lead single “Such a Liar” can be enjoyed here.

Mary Caroline

SA: What are you listening to at the moment?
MC: I really love the new Arkells album High Noon. They are a Hamilton band, so maybe my time down there rubbed off on me, but I was a fan before I went to Hamilton to work at Catherine North Studio. I’m really into female artists who have a pop/synth sound like Santigold and Lorde. And I’m so proud of Tanya Tagaq for winning the Polaris Prize. I love that lady!

SA: The video for “Such a Liar” was filmed in an abandoned farmhouse near Walkerton. Where did that idea come from, and how did you gain access?
MC: The property actually belongs to my mom. I wanted an old TV in the video as a subtle reference to the lies that come through the media, and my mom said there was an old TV at the house. I went to pick it up, and when I saw the room I decided I wanted to shoot the video there. It was a very DIY project. I shot it myself with a tripod and edited as well.  It was a very organic process. For example, the bugs the fly into the shot from time to time and the wind in my hair, these things just sort of happened unplanned, and I think they really serve the overall imagery of the video.

SA: You’ve spent some time in the remote wilds of the Northwest Territories, learning about the trapping lifestyle, sustenance living and arctic gardening. How exposed to music were you at that cabin, and did that influence your music in any way?
MC: The folks that live out there and pass through the area are of an older generation (60’s and 70’s) and there is a lot of fiddle music and old time country jams that get going out there. I think that has influenced my music in a certain way. Its less obvious in the song “Such a Liar”, but there are a couple tracks on my upcoming album that have an old time country influence to them, like the track “This is Home”, that is also on band camp. Lyrically I also draw a lot of inspiration from living in a rugged and remote wilderness setting.

SA: This past summer, you recorded your new album in Hamilton’s converted church studio Catherine North. An open concept space with vintage gear, what was it like to record there?
MC: I can’t say enough good things about my experience at Catherine North. My producers, Scott Peacock and Dan Hosh were really creative and easy to work with. The studio is in an old church and there is a really comfortable vibe there. My vocals were recorded on a Telefunken U47. I really love the warm tone; I thank the vocals sound great!  I’m really excited to share the full album in January.

SA: Are there any tour plans for your new record?
MC: I just finished a tour across Saskatchewan, Alberta and NWT.  In January, when the full album comes out I will be touring again, and hope to play some shows across Canada with a full band. I will be posting all the dates on my website (www.marycaroline.ca) and on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/marycarolinemusic).

This post was written by Scott

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