Caravella on "Welcome To Europa", Touring and Supermarket-Specific Aliens
The brilliant indie/bedroom pop group Caravella have just released their groovy debut single, “Welcome To Europa”. I was recently able to talk to frontman Charlie, guitarist Jack, bassist Otto and drummer Hugh about their journey with the single, and where they plan to go in the future.
P.S. - it gets weird.
Caravella live at Moles, Bath
TSM: Hello Caravella! How did you guys meet and when did you start playing music together?
Jack: Hi! Well me and Charlie were jamming in uni together when we were in first year. Then we sort of had the idea for Caravella back in June. We added Hugh as the drummer and then I discovered Otto playing in the big band at uni and we sort of exchanged numbers. He is the bass boy now.
Otto: I was appropriated.
Jack: Exactly. Your audition was the big band and you didn’t even know it.
Charlie: I think Jack was originally messaging me and saying he wanted a keyboard player, but I asked about being the frontman instead.
Jack: He took his shot and I was like yeah go on then.
Charlie: We had a few writing sessions together and it worked out. We were into the same thing and had a nice vibe between us when we were working.
Otto: And Caravella was born just like that! Jack: December was when we formed officially and had that first and only photoshoot with everyone in it!
TSM: Awesome. Sorry there’s going to be a bit of an awkward silence while I write some of this stuff down!
Jack: That is all good. To be honest I’m just mesmerised by Hugh eating yoghurt right now.
Hugh: I’ve moved onto a cheese bloomer now. You can get them from Tesco it’s a three cheese bloomer. With a bit of butter and pepper - it’s lovely.
TSM: Sounds it too. What’s the story behind the name Caravella?
Otto: I don’t even know the answer to this.
Charlie: It’s an interesting one. Originally we were just trying to find a cool idea. I think Tuna Dungeon was one of the ideas.
Jack: Tuna Dungeon NEVER made the cut.
Charlie: Yeah it didn’t. I was disappointed about that.
TSM: Tuna Dungeon like the fish?? That’s pretty cool.
Otto (cracking up): No it’s not!! Why would that have been a good name?!
Hugh: It’s a horrible euphemism isn’t it.
*The meaning of Tuna Dungeon sinks in*
TSM: Yeah it is quite gross.
Otto: It does take a second. Maybe we should have a side project where we release some more euphemistic songs.
Hugh: That sounds like a religion doesn’t it.
Jack: Wait how did we actually come up with Caravella. Charlie was it a boat? Or a jellyfish or something?
Charlie: Um, I guess it does also mean a jellyfish but it’s a type of Portuguese boat. Because I’m part Portuguese and I was just trying to find cool Portuguese words because I resorted to that. I found that one and it seemed like quite a nice image.
Jack: We had to put in an ‘L’ to make it original.
Charlie: Yeah I guess it doesn’t really make sense now.
TSM: How have you guys been getting on working together with writing and producing your stuff?
Jack: It sort of starts with an idea that myself or Charlie will have. We’ll map out the song from there and just keep building on top of it until we have a final thing. With regards to “Welcome To Europa”, that started as something I wrote over Christmas and Charlie helped with the lyrics a bit and changed the structure with Otto. Otto sort of reharmonises things with his bass, and Hugh added unique drum stuff to it.
Hugh: Yeah I added a whole lot of clicky shit, that’s the technical term.
Jack: And yeah, we have a final product!
Otto: It’s a lot of fun to make music and it’s so satisfying to see “Welcome To Europa” in its most finished and polished form now.
TSM: And you did the cover art for it Otto? It’s brilliant!
Otto: Ah thank you! Yeah it’s like a 3D render, we decided on this like dingy looking neon sign thing so I had a crack at it. It was fun to make, I don’t know what sort of style you’d call it but it is what it is.
Charlie: It’s a little bit vaporwave. I think we’re sort of into that style.
Jack: Otto made a whole little 3D world.
"Welcome To Europa" cover art
TSM: It all looks so good. Who would you guys say your biggest inspirations are at the moment, in terms of your music or aesthetic?
Hugh: Umm, XTC. There we go.
Otto: I guess any like instrumental funk, so Tom Misch, or this French band called L’Impératrice. Anything with a good bassline really. A lot of classic 70s funk is my thing.
Charlie: I’d say probably Gus Dapperton. I’m a bit obsessed with him. We’re getting into some synths to try to get into his vibe because he loves his eighties synths. And if I get another one I’d say Car Seat Headrest. Not just for the music but Will Toledo’s lyric writing is just amazing. I’ve been listening to them for a long time and you can trace his stuff back to when he was like 17, writing songs in his car, which is interesting to look back on.
Otto: In his car with his headrest behind him, and then he thought you know what, I’ve got a great idea!
Jack: I take a lot of inspiration from Gus Dapperton too, as well as like Rex Orange County and the Vansire pop side of things as well. I like the dream pop side of things.
Otto: I also just love D’Angelo, he’s such a big influence for me, and Vulfpeck, Isiah Sharkey, all that kind of instrumental funk stuff like Joe Dart. I could talk about influences all day!
TSM: Out of those influences then, who would Caravella want to collaborate with the most?
Jack: It’s gotta be Gus. Right? Otto: I think honourable mention to Boy Pablo, maybe.
TSM: So Caravella are releasing “Welcome To Europa” on the 20th of May - what can we expect from you guys after that?
Jack: We’ve got probably about 4 or 5 songs that are circulating between us that we’re working on producing and stuff. The one that people who’ve seen us live would know is “The Way That It Is”, we’re recording that one at the moment - as well as a very upbeat, chaotic song called “Fish Like Me” that we’re going to work on.
Charlie: I’ve got a little bossanova thing that we’re working on and we’ve got another one called “It’s Been Far Too Long”. In the autumn we should have a lot more songs on our tour setlist. They’re all recorded because we have to work on recordings separately in quarantine!
Otto: The rate that Jack and Charlie are writing stuff at is like super fast, and we’re getting through so much stuff and constantly moving on and growing and evolving our sound.
Jack: Another thing is that usually our line-up is us sticking to one instrument each but Charlie also plays keys and synths are a big part of our evolving sound. We’re grouping together originals and covers that we can do in both areas and I guess we’ll match between the two for different gigs.
Charlie: This was partly because I just did quite a nice synth solo on one of the tracks we’re recording and I thought I want to play that live.
Otto: We’ve got access to some old Juno simulations and bits and bobs. Maybe for live stuff it’s the kind of thing where eventually we want to be getting into some sweet sweet analog synths.
TSM: And Hugh you have a studio quite close to your house that you have access to right? Hugh: Yeah, it’s about 15 minutes away. It’s a nuclear bomb shelter.
Otto: Multifunctional space.
Hugh: One time I was down there, recording some stuff with my mate, and he went outside to have a waz and when he came back he was convinced that he saw some aliens outside. I spent a few hours out there watching and it turns out he did see aliens. It’s in the middle of nowhere, absolutely butt-fuck nowhere, and there were these little white dots moving across the field.
Otto: You’re not thinking of sheep are you? Hugh: Nah nah these things were fast man, they were quick as shit. And then we saw some lights come from above and then I drove away very quickly. Yeah there’s always weird shit going on there. It’s a bit of an odd place. One time I was locking it up and I heard a massive bang from inside of it, like someone was knocking on the door. No idea what that was about. Although I think there might be mice in there. Or bats. Batman lives in there.
TSM: I honestly do think that aliens are real.
Charlie: Oh they exist for sure. There’s so many other planets out there. But I don’t know if they’d come here yet.
Hugh: Oh nah they’ve been down near me. They love the Co-op. They don’t like ASDA too much though.
Otto: They’re very supermarket specific actually, yeah. Maybe it’s because they have Tesco back home, that would be my guess.
Hugh: Well you would have thought if anything they’d have a Walmart or an ASDA. I’m amazed they’re not in the states because you would have thought if any brand had gone into space it would be Walmart.
Otto: They’re in the best position to go for that interstellar expansion. That’s a given, we can all agree on that.
Jack: But yeah because of Hugh’s studio and us all having recording gear, we’re kind of taking advantage of this time and making as much music as we can really. We’ve got lots of stuff in the works for while we’re all locked inside.
Otto: Once it all clears up we’ve got this tour in the works, just hitting up a few cities and playing a few shows.
Jack: It’ll hopefully be around the end of October. The aim is to do Bath, Bristol and Guildford sort of area. If we can go anywhere through word of mouth we’ll give that a shot as well.
Charlie: Yeah we’re thinking Bath, Bristol, Guildford, London and Oxford and then Leeds and Manchester maybe. Just depending on the situation.
TSM: I hope it does work out because I know everyone really wants to see you guys on tour! Thank you for taking the time to chat, and I can’t wait for the “Welcome To Europa” release!
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