"I relish being the underdog" – hmv.com talks to Chris Carrabba
Best known for his days as solo emo troubadour Dashboard Confessional, singer-songwriter Chris Carrabba surprised everyone back in 2011 when he announced he was forming a roosty, country influenced rock band named Twin Forks alongside mandolin player Suzie Zeldin, drummer Ben Homola and bassist Jonathan Clark.
The band release their self-titled debut album on Monday (March 17th), so we called up Carrabba to find out all about his new record, starting back in tiny clubs and why he's looking forward to picking up the Dashboard mantel again in the future.
Your debut album, well your first album as part of Twin Forks, is out on Monday, how are you feeling ahead of release?
"Relieved more than anything, I've been waiting to put a record out for three years, I'm just glad it exists. I'm really proud of the album, I'm really proud of the band, I'm really proud of us, irrespective of whether people love it or hate it."
When did you finish working on the record?
"When do you ever finish working on a record? When they make you stop and tell you it's time to put out the damn thing."
"We pushed it back a little after we did this US tour and it occurred to me that it would be a great idea to get the audience to sing the gang vocals for a song at each show and then we'd put that on the actual record. That little thing was the last thing we did for the record."
How old are some of these songs? Are any five or six years old?
"Not that old actually, I started afresh when I started this band."
How long did it take to make the album?
"We did it in a garage, so we kind of recorded song by song, as the songs were written, we didn't finish all the writing and then record them. I would write the song, or we would write the song and we would record it that evening."
Who produced the record?
"We did one song with Ammar Malik and Robopop, who were both great, really brilliant songwriters, but the rest of the album was produced by Jonathan Clark, who's our bass player."
How did it work with him producing and being part of the band?
"He's a very skilled and talented guy. His biggest strength as a producer is this psychological process he has. A great producer has to figure out what the artist wants to achieve, a lot of times before they know that, and then guiding them, not pushing them, towards that. He's brilliant at that aspect of things."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Are you troubled by the same things you've been throughout your career? Or are tackling you new topics?
"It's a little hard to tell at this point. I've got new life experiences to share obviously. I think as a record it's reflective of who I am now and it's different in that way. I'm not the same as I was 10 years ago and you can hear that."
Does this band feel like starting again for you? You got to play some big places as Dashboard Confessional?
"It absolutely feel like starting again. We're playing tiny clubs, touring in a van, sharing hotel rooms, sleeping on floors, it's not a glamorous way of doing things, which I appreciate and I think I prefer, I like and relish being the underdog."
Does this feel more like a band than what you've done in the past?
"It does and it's important to me that it does. It's a band, there's no need to qualify it, and it's collaborative in the best possible way."
So what's your plan for after the album comes out?
"We were supposed to be in the UK next week actually, but we had some scheduling conflict so we had to move some dates until later in the year, but we want to get back over to the UK as soon as we can."
Can we ask what's going on with your other projects? Is Twin Forks your complete focus for the next few years?
"I look forward to doing Dashboard again. And I will. But this is my band, it's my total focus, I haven't begun thinking about a timeline for other projects, this band is my focus for the future."