A name that has been popping up more and more in the Australian music scene, Carla Geneve, is an uber talented singer songwriter who us WA dwellers can confidently call our own. She has supported the likes of Birds of Tokyo, Didirri, Stella Donnelly and Alex Lahey and has played at all our fav festivals, including GTM, Fairbridge and Hyperfest. Bringing us extremely relatable and moving lyrics, with the addition of her band and guitar, it is not surprising that her alt-rock music is making such an impact.
A member of our music team Julia Reynolds got to fan girl a little and ask Carla some questions about where she’s been and where she’s going.
Julia: What does a normal day look like for you?
Carla: Well… it probably starts with hitting the snooze button at least five times, then I have a cup of tea out the front of my house in Freo. I work at a bed and breakfast, so if I have a shift I’ll be making beds all day. If not, probably playing some guitar/seeing some friends. Then maybe going out to watch some music at night, probably at Mojos.
Also being a girl who grow up in Albany, one of my favourite songs of yours which really speaks to me is, ‘I hate you for making me not wanna leave the city.’ It’s a song about the drive home which any regional kid can relate to. How did growing up in Albany impact your music?
Being a regional kid, then artist definitely shaped my music early on, purely for the reason that people write songs about their experience, and not growing up in the city is quite a different way living. Saying how exactly this shaped my music at the time is harder, I guess loving folk and country (which are more popular styles rurally) is one way. Maybe being a little more isolated, and not being able to do music as socially as some kids do in the city would be another (i.e. being part of bands and music programs that get to play HQ etc). You kind of just figure it out on your own.
Did you struggle to find venues which really embraced live music in Albany?
Venues are tricky when you’re not 18, unfortunately the music and alcohol industries are hand in hand so there is just not enough money to do many underage shows. There was a pub in Albany that did host a fair bit of music. I’d go down with my mum or dad and play a set, and later when my friends and I from high school had started some bands they let us book gigs on Friday nights and stuff. It was awesome and taught us that you do have to work hard to make your music heard.
Things uniquely Australian have a huge weight in your songs, from shark nets and red rocks to the iconic Greg’s Discount chemist. Which Australian artists have had a strong influence on your sound? If you had the opportunity to ‘colab’ with any Australian artist, who would it be?
So many! the waifs were huge for me as a kid, they were pretty much the soundtrack of any road trip (which when you’re regional, road trips are pretty common). The thing I always admired about them was their work ethic, like just working their guts out and touring constantly for so many years.
Courtney Barnett was also really big for me, firstly as a songwriter, then also when I started getting into rock, and wanting to play electric guitar, she was one of the first women I’d come across who did that. Also the Drones are definitely one of my favourite bands of all time, Gareth Liddiard’s lyrics held so much meaning and importance, while also just introducing me to these super raw and imperfect guitar tones which i’m always trying to replicate.
As far as a colab, I’m definitely not worthy haha.
Recently you were Triple J’s Unearthed feature artist which is a huge achievement, what were you doing when they first played your single ‘Greg’s Discount Chemist’?
Um, I’m trying to remember. I think was just at home trying to navigate the time zones and figure out when it was actually going to be on.
It is not just us at Pelican who know you are going places, you featured on Pilerats’s 2018 artists to watch list. What would be the moment in your career when you could sit back and say, ‘I’ve made it, I’ve achieved my dream’?
To be honest, thats a hard one, because I feel like its hard to have a sort of end point. Releasing the first single with the band was achieving a dream. Then getting to play these really cool shows around the place is achieving another one. I think the next one might be going on tour, which we are doing in July. Then after that releasing a full album would be sick.
This year you signed with the label Collective Artists, becoming a part of a group of talented musicians including D.D. Dumbo, City Calm Down, Husky and Julia Jacklin. Adding on all the bands you have supported and festivals you have played at, has there been a time where you have fan girl-ed so hard that it was slightly embarrassing?
Collective is actually a booking agency, who handle where and when we play, so we’re not signed to a label just yet! But yep, it’s a serious struggle meeting all these people who I have idolised for so long. I think its safe to say most of the time its slightly embarrassing, but probably meeting the Waifs, then also Jen Cloher and Courtney Barnett were the hardest times to not freak out. (I probably freaked out.)
It seems like the music scene here in Perth is like a close-knit family. Did you struggle at all when you first moved to the city?
Perth is totally close knit, everyone knows everyone, but everyone also supports the hell out of everyone. I didn’t really struggle when I first moved here, everyone was incredibly warm and welcoming. Nigel Bird and the team at WAM were a big part of our entry into the industry, the first two songs I recorded were part of a WAM program, ‘Sounds of the great southern,’ and that was great. Then kinda just everyone who invited us to play on their lineups, Josh Sweetman put us on a heap of his shows Sweetman’s sounds gigs early on, which as lovely. Thanks to everyone who was so nice to us!
Do you or your band mates have any crazy rituals you do before a gig?
I wouldn’t say we’re too crazy, we usually have a beer. Our drummer Jack always needs to wee like two minutes before we’re on, then he goes missing and we have to run around and try find him.
I have always wondered what the perks of not wearing shoes on stage are? I have seen you many times rocking the bare feet.
I don’t really know hey, you just feel a bit more like you’re playing guitar in your bedroom. The anti perks are definitely jumping on broken glass, pro tip is make sure you check the stage before you go shoe free.
Finally, can you tell us all a little bit about your recent single realise ‘Listening’? What’s the story behind that song? What do you want people to feel or think of when they listen to it?
Um, well I don’t want to say too much but it’s just about wanting a friend to stand up for herself more in a relationship, it’s kind of written from her perspective. I guess the feeling that I get from playing it is just getting shit off my chest, but people can think or feel or read into it whatever they want.
What’s next for you?
A tour! we’re going to Melbourne and Sydney from July 14 to 18 where we are supporting Lord Huron, and also doing some other shows around the place. It’s really big for us, and really exciting. We’re also going to do some more recording which is also going to be very cool! Hopefully an EP this time.
You can stay up to date with Carla’s new releases and tour schedule, by liking her Facebook page. And if you want to see her perform live, her next WA concert is free and it’s in Busselton on July 7th at the Firestation or you can catch her in Fremantle on July 27th and get your tickets here.
Interview by Julia Reynolds
Julia used to study neuroscience, now she studies Lonely Planet guides to Europe. The most used words in her vocabulary are local and music.