Carmen Rosa

By Bob Gourley | Originally published in 2006
Carmen Rosa

The following is an email interview with Carmen Rosa, a British band who shares their rhythm section with the Cranes live line-up. While the connection has helped spread the word about Carmen Rosa, the band has more than enough talent and originality to stand up on their own. Their recently released debut album, “You Only Think You Know,” showcases a highly rhythmic guitar-driven sound complimented by touches of electronics. The CD can currently be purchased from their website, carmenrosa.com, and music samples can be found on their myspace page.

Can you briefly explain how Carmen Rosa came together?

Carmen Rosa came together from the demise of Dragontree. Dragontree was a band which included Ben Baxter and Steve Verdin. Ben and Steve started a new project initially studio based. Around the same time Jonny Callender was coming to the end of his time with Vex formally Velcro. Ben and Steve had developed some tracks and Jonny soon made the move over to the project as Vex became no more. Dave was the last piece of the puzzle. Found by Ben, Dave formerly of Eclipse brought driving rhythms and bass lines to the band. After time writing and developing tracks in the studio Carmen Rosa was born.

Had Jon and Ben been working with Cranes prior to that, or did that come about after the formation of Carmen Rosa

Jonny had already been playing for The Cranes live set-up prior to coming on board with Carmen Rosa. Ben became a natural selection for the bass role with The Cranes, this was due to the fact The Cranes and Carmen Rosa are all mutual friends. The involvement of Ben with The Cranes came about after Carmen Rosa was formed.

In the long-term, do you see yourselves continuing on being part of both bands, of would it be necessary to focus more on Carmen Rosa in order to take it to the next level?

We think both bands will continue to be an important part for Jonny and Ben. However Carmen Rosa provides the creative outlet for them both. With The Cranes Jonny and Ben are more part of the live set-up than the creative element.

For those who have only heard you on CD or online, how would you compare the live sound of Carmen Rosa to the recordings?

Most people who have seen us live prefer it. The music comes across much more dynamic and experimental. We are not afraid to experiment live, some of the tracks on the record that are 5 minutes long can turn into 10 minute psychedelic epics. The major difference between Carmen Rosa Live and Carmen Rosa on CD, is the fact we don’t end up at giant party when listening to the CD.

How extensively do you play live in the UK/Europe? Any plans to tour America?

We have played occasionally in Europe last year. In the UK we are playing a lot at the moment, mostly around London. With a new record we have to do this to create interest within the music industry. America is completely different. We have to gain distribution for the album in USA before we can even think of touring. Of course we would love to come over. The majority of our online sales of the album are to the USA anyway. If anyone reading this wants to help get in touch.

How can people get hold of “YOU ONLY THINK YOU KNOW…”?

Its very straight forward go to www.carmenrosa.com and then send us an e-mail with your address. We are setting up a paypal link from the website to pay immediately. But in the meantime you can send $, euro, pounds we take anything!!! To buy from the USA the album is #10 UK, this includes postage and packing. You can also find us at http://www.myspace.com/carmenrosamusic.

Is the CD currently self-released? If so, are you shopping it to labels or have you chosen to remain independent?

We are independent at the moment, we have a good album, we are however looking for distribution deals and licensing in the USA and parts of Europe.

How has the website and Myspace page been working out for you?

They have made things a lot easier for us to contact people, people can access information on you and have a listen easily. Myspace has been a breathe of fresh air. This has brought music lovers together. We have developed a fan base and keep them up to date with our progress. It is also a great place to discover other new talent and meet great like-minded people. The internet site has been a lifeline, being able to sell albums online is essential for any new band!!!

Do you see any DISADVANTAGES to the internet as a promotional tool for bands?

The major disadvantage we can see is that money will be the driving force, once again with the major record labels dominating the market. The result will be independents squeezed out of the market once again!!!

What are your thoughts on selling music as digital files (rather then CDs/records/etc), both as a band and as music fans?

As music fans ourselves we are old school we want gatefold albums with masses of artwork. You don’t get that with digital files. But as a band we realize online digital files are the future. The younger generation are majorly computer literate. You cannot halt progress, you have to evolve. The internet allows access to huge numbers of listeners. You cannot argue as a band that this is not a good thing!!!

Do you have your own studio set-up, and if so can you describe it? (key pieces of gear, etc).

The studio “YES” its called 128db studio. To describe it it’s red, smoky, erotic, sweaty and fuelled. It has a mixture of old school and new stuff. Its mostly digital recording hardware/software. Old tanoy speakers AR18,s among other stuff.

What is the future for the band?

We want to tour the album very extensively, whilst at the same time staying creative. We have started work on the follow up album and are well into the production. We need to gain more distribution and licensing in order to achieve this. Our major goal is to reach more people!!!! We would love to tour the USA in the near future.

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