"The more interesting question to me is: how will we create a world where racism and sexism are not required to keep an inherently unjust class system in place?" We chat with Carsie Blanton
“I like your shirt. I like your jacket. I like to think about you when I whack it.” That's a great line. It's also given some publicity to the latest record from New Orleans based singer-songwriter Carsie Blanton. Her latest album, Buck Up, is a collection of catchy, fun, song with serious and puthy themes. We caught up with Carsie to ask her about it.
Hello Carsie, how the heck are you?
What have you been up to today, and where are you right now?
Slept late at this LA Airbnb, went to get breakfast and now it’s 3pm & almost time to get ready for sound check!
So, tell us a bit about you, when was the first time you remember singing or playing music? And what do you do for fun?
I remember making up a song in my front yard called 'Cotton Candy Clouds' when I was five or six. Music is still what I do for fun. I also enjoy food and sex. If there are any funner things on earth I am unaware of them.
When I googled you the first suggestion that came up was “Carsie Blanton husband”, why’s that?
Probably because I’m married but non-monogamous and that confuses people. Or because my husband is fairly publicity-averse and hard to track down online - maybe people think he’s made up or a Russian spy or something? Or it’s cus I’m just so dang hot it brings all the boys to the yard.
You just released Buck Up, Rolling Stone summed it up in one sentence (“tackles gender expectations, genre norms, societal expectations and sex through songs that are as smart and funny as they are well-constructed”), what can you tell me about it in two sentences?
It’s an album about catastrophes and disasters, personal and political. But I am easily bored by an excess of seriousness so it’s still fun and sexy to listen to.
Genres are a bit pigeon-hole-y but they seem to be important to get radio play or get on a Spotify playlist, how do you like to describe your music - it’s pretty genre-bending.
Making music is like making love. If you only know one way to do it, you might not be very good at it.
I hate asking about opening songs as it sounds like I’ve not listened to much of the record, but I bloomin’ love ‘Twister’. What can you tell me about that song?
I started writing that song during an actual tornado in New Orleans. I was also falling catastrophically in love at the time, so it more or less wrote itself.
Obviously ‘Jacket’ has received some attention (probably for the “I like your shirt. I like your jacket. I like to think about you when I whack it.” lines), and it’s a cracking song, what can you tell me about it?
That line was the kernel of inspiration that begat the song; I wrote it in a sext to somebody and it just kept cracking me up over the next few weeks so I worked it into a song. I find that if a line remains entertaining to me over time there’s a strong chance it will entertain others too.
The video’s got really striking imagery, where did the idea for the visualisation come from?
All the sexy roller skaters in New Orleans and the art of Stephanie Sarley.
I’ve never had a moustache but I do have “trendy-but-everyone-has-it” stubble. Is it facial hair in general you’re not a fan of or just the moustache?
I think mustaches have become a symbol to me of form-over-content hipsterism; like glasses without lenses and bands without drum kits. I also enjoy objectifying men in my songs, as a sort of constant low-level razz on the patriarchy.
Were the short song titles on purpose, or just a happy coincidence
When possible I prefer to write songs with interesting enough words in their refrains that they can be identifiable by strong one-word titles.
Where’s the picture on your album cover from?
Louisiana artist Marshall Blevins! @churchgoinmule on Instagram.
What was your process for writing (and choosing) songs for the album? And what’s the key to writing a damn good song?
Hooks, humor, sex, soul. Those are my guiding principles as a songwriter. I also prefer to over-write for each project so that I can cull the weaker songs a couple times over (I try to bring 15-20 demos for a 10-song album).
You don’t charge for your music as such, you let people pay what they want. It’s admirable, but don't people take advantage?
Nope. People are kinder and more trustworthy than we have been led to believe. Not only do people not take advantage of this system, I have had three separate fans on this tour walk up to me and hand me large wads of cash for “gas money” or to “take the band out for a nice dinner”. I find that when people are moved, they are mind-blowingly generous.
Obviously there’s a lot of talk about equality in general at the moment, what’s your experience of being treated differently as a woman in your industry?
I have experienced sexism, but the more interesting question to me is: how will we create a world where racism and sexism are not required to keep an inherently unjust class system in place? I don’t believe that true equality is achievable under capitalism. I look forward to a future where we are not constantly incentivized to exploit and degrade our brothers and sisters.
What kind of music do you listen to in your spare time?
50s vocal jazz and 60s R&B.
If you could recommend one artist to hear this week, who would it be?
Adron (from L.A). See her live.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
What will you do next week when this months-long release tour is over???Answer: Sleep.
Finally, how do you take your coffee?