Killer Female Talent Spotlight: Carb on Carb

Image: Carb on Carb by Alisha Bourke.

Author: Melody Menu

It was an incredible journey compiling this blog’s previous ‘70 Bands Showcasing Killer Female Talent’ series: talking to inspiring musicians and bands, promoting greater space for female and gender non-conforming artists in the music industry, and just generally listening to a lot of killer music. The series started out as a critical response to festivals, media outlets and trolls everywhere deflecting gender parity with the reductive ‘but there aren’t enough good bands with women in them’ argument, and went on to highlight 70 amazing bands locally and abroad, with a further 10 bands from our good friends Fridge Feed.

However, there is certainly no shortage of extremely skilled female, trans and non-binary talent in the industry, and it’s with that in mind that I have decided to continue with this series in a slightly different format. This column will take the shape of a more in-depth spotlight which showcases a single, while also reaching out to the bands and giving them the space to tell their own story, too. Welcome to the brand-new fortnightly feature dedicated to Killer Female Talent from around the world.

This week, Carb on Carb kick things off with a track that encompasses the spirit of this new series. The Auckland-based two-piece make infectious lo fi indie-rock, and have crafted the most heart-warming and empowering friendship anthem we all need in ‘Phenomenal Ladies’, from their self-titled 2015 cassette release.

Singer and guitarist Nicole Gaffney talks us through the band’s evolution, and the significance of intersectional solidarity in their music, and community at large.

How did Carb on Carb take shape as a band?

We used to be in another band together where I played drums and James [Stuteley, drums] played guitar, but I had a bunch of songs written on guitar so when that band dissolved, we decided to start Carb on Carb! We’ve been playing together for about 6 years now and our sound has changed over that time as we grew up.

How would you describe your music?

Emo/pop punk! I like to add a li’l RNB into the vocals though because that’s what I grew up listening to. We’re a two-piece of guitar and drums but we have a bunch of pedals that we use to make it sound more bass-heavy and full.

Can you tell us a little about the song ‘Phenomenal Ladies’?

When I moved cities for university, I was lucky enough to meet an amazing group of friends who were so supportive. I wrote this song about them and all my other beautiful friends who have been such a positive part of my community. When we play ‘Phenomenal Ladies’ live, I usually dedicate it to any women, non-binary and trans pals who have played that night or put the show on. It’s about the importance of surrounding yourself with people who make you a better person, about giving advice to your friends and providing support when it’s most needed.

How important is community and solidarity in music?

Intersectional solidarity is so important – if we’re not amplifying voices that are most marginalised in music, then we can never have positive social change!

We should always be trying to diversify our communities in every aspect of life in order to create better creative outputs.

In music when we see individuals succeeding as New Zealanders and Australians, we have ‘tall poppy syndrome’ where we tear those who have success in our communities down. Western society has taught musicians to compete for success and see that success as a product of our own individual hard work and determination, instead of seeing the communities and the hard work of so many musicians before us.

Carb on Carb – New album For Ages out May 4, 2018. Available on Bandcamp.

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