Car Party is an American pop-rock band from Baltimore, Maryland. Although they did not come under their current lineup until early 2011, they began their journey in late 2009 through a Craigslist ad. Meghan Player and Emma Dean chatted to Taylor, Michael, Chris and Jim about the beginnings of the band, influences and what SXSW means to a band like themselves.
You started the band via a Craig’s List advertisement, is that essentially what brought you all together?
Taylor – I posted the ad online in late 2009, and actually saw another ad from Michael because he was saying how much he loved Motion City Soundtrack and Say Anything. So I was like, ‘Okay, I am definitely going to try and get this guy to my house.’ [laughs]
We met Jim like 8 months ago – he’s the newest guy. We met him right after we finished recording our latest EP. Chris, I feel bad because we poached him from another band that we were on tour with. We decided that we needed him. So, we’ve been this active line up for about 8 months now. We just started touring in October, so we’ve got some momentum going. [laughs]
It’s interesting about the Craig’s List meetings that yourselves and a couple of other bands have mentioned as how you formed – but that’s the way technology is heading nowadays I guess…
Taylor – Yeah, exactly. You just have to make sure you meet the people from Craig’s List at like a Starbucks or something, and THEN invite them to your house.
Yes, a public place.
Taylor – I had this one guy who was 40 and he had his kid with him, and it was really, really awkward.
Michael – From my picture, she thought I was about 5″7 and like 100 pounds and then I showed up and I had this big beard and was almost 6 feet tall, and she freaked out a little bit.
Wearing a trenchcoat..
Taylor – [laughs] He’s the Craig’s List killer!
Michael – [laughs] Oh yeah!
Chris – I love that it’s always the first thing people ask – ‘so, you guys met through Craig’s List’? – it makes us sound like a bunch of loonies.. [laughs]
Taylor – [laughs].. I also got a puppy the same day!
Your latest single, ‘Please Me’ received some really great reviews and press, were you surprised by how well it was received?
Taylor – It was amazing. It’s still very frightening to be, ‘set up’ for that criticism. A lot of people have been saying, we’re about to release a new song in April – and a lot of people have been asking, you know ‘what’s it been like to have that pressure of the single riding on the back burner?’ and like ‘is it going to be as good as the previous single?’…we’re kind of like thriving on the pressure. We all feel really good about this new song.
Michael – It also seems that we don’t have too much pressure because the single we’re about to drop in April, we were 100% behind it, and it was the first song since Jim’s been in the band, that we don’t have to find ourselves anymore. Jim pointed out, that if you listen to the tracks individually, you can actually hear everyone’s own styles, and they somehow mesh really well. So, I feel that we don’t have as much pressure just because we’re so confident with the new stuff.
Taylor – Well, in a sense, it’s like that is even more pressure. I’m in love with the new song, so if somebody hates it, I’m going to be heartbroken. [laughs]
You were just talking about your individual styles that you have on the new song, does that come from individual influences as well?
Taylor – Well, I started out playing violin and cello, so I have a really classical background. I listen to a lot of Silversun Pickups and Radiohead – and I love a lot of indie-pop bands.
Michael – I’m more of a traditional kind of pop punk influence – like Fall Out Boy is my favourite band. I love Motion City Soundtrack, Say Anything, Go Radio..
How has the SXSW experience been for you guys?
Michael – This is our first time playing here and first time being here too. We drove 26 hours from Baltimore to get here..
Taylor – It’s great to see so many people laying in the street! [laughs] It’s like they’ve just thought, ‘Yeah, this is great place to just lie down’. Because I took pictures of a lot of them..[laughs]
How many shows are you playing whilst you’re here?
Taylor – Just the one. But just meeting the bands that we’ve been trying to talk to online, and matching the faces with the name – and having that personal connection – is really cool.
Chris – We just got off a tour and we’re going to continue touring again in a few weeks through the mid-west and north-east, and we knew it was going to only be one showcase while we were here, but we knew it was going to be with Every Avenue and States – so we were stoked to be here, and share the stage with them. Because we’re only relatively a new band, we’re going to use this opportunity to get our name out there..
Michael – We’re just going to keep pushing that..
Do you have any advice for a band that might want to head out to SXSW next year?
Michael – Bring walking shoes! That is the biggest thing! Make sure you lock up your van, because you may have to park a couple of miles away and walk here [laughs]. It’s been awesome, and as long as people know what they are in for.. it’s pretty intense, but it’s totally worth it.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2012?
Taylor – Touring, releasing a couple of singles. We have the new single being released on April 3rd – the one where, if you don’t like it, just don’t say anything [laughs].
Michael – We’re on tour in June again as well, and we’re trying to plan more in the months after that, and get back into the studio, but we have a pretty busy year planned.
A huge thank you to the band for taking the time to chat to us at SXSW!
For more information about the band, including tour dates and their upcoming single, check out: www.CarPartyBand.com