An Interview with Caroline

The London-based band Caroline have released their long-anticipated self-titled debut album last month. The record relates to multiple genres including post-rock, folk, and Midwest emo. We contacted Jasper LLewellyn and Mike O’Malley from the band to ask whatever’s on our mind about their story.

Congratulations on your debut album- How are you these days with a rising amount of media attention on you?

Jasper: I guess the attention hasn’t been too intense so far but yeah, its definitely a lot more than we ever expected to have on our music. It’s exciting that some people are interested in what we are making, but also is strange going into the process of making the second record knowing that people are going to listen to it when it comes out and might have some expectations about what its going to sound like. 

You’re a crowded crew. Can you briefly introduce yourselves and your roles in the band for our readers? 

I’m Jasper and I play cello, drums, a bit of guitar and singing.

Mike plays guitar and does some singing.

Same with Casper.

Alex plays flute, clarinet, saxophone, percussion.

Hugh plays drums and percussion.

Magdalena plays violin and does some singing.

Freddy plays trumpet and bass, and also does some singing.

Ollie plays violin, and does a bit of singing too!

Some of us have known each other our whole lives, others are more recent friends from London or from university in Manchester.

The number of band members has increased dramatically from a two-piece. How do we know you will not continue expanding or have not secretly grown into a cult? (laughs)

(laughs) We are pretty sure that there isn’t room for anyone else, because 8 is already loads of people. We have everything we need with the eight of us! 

I guess you don’t know that we haven’t become one…

Has being an active band in the pandemic era challenged the way you write, record, and perform music, with the factors of being eight individual creative-minded people and doing online meetings at hand?

: At first yes, but as time went on, I think it brought us closer together creatively and allowed us to spend time carving out the songs into something we were extra happy with. The online meeting stuff was a little bit taxing though! It’s the same way we mixed most of the album, through online meetings, and although that was really cool that we were able to do that, there’s only so long you can stare at a Zoom call.

Caroline has gone through multiple metamorphoses in genres. Do you reckon the second album will also sound completely different? Will you go hyperpop, hip-hop or EDM?

It’s true, I think it’s kind of always evolving, it will probably sound pretty different, although with a clear development related to the previous record. I feel like the thing we actually listen to most consistently is hyperpop anyway, so that will probably seep in somewhere. I think it already does a bit with Jasper’s vocal melodies.

What are some of the music each of you listened to in the making of your debut album?

I wish I could remember, because we get excited about things together and then move on to something else at the same time quite constantly, I think we were listening to Mark Fell a lot, and probably Lorenzo Senni at that time too. The album took years to make though, so it depends which era you look at!

What were the easiest and hardest songs to record from the debut?

Easiest: “zilch”. (It was recorded very casually on a phone and not with the intention of it being on an album.)

Hardest: “Engine (eavesdropping)”. (It’s recorded in various rooms and over the course of lots of different recording sessions.)

What are your goals as a band?

Make good music and enjoy doing it!

You can check out Caroline’s Bandcamp page here.