Caroline Rose has been a dear friend of ours (and mine, personally) for quite a few years now… However, for the majority of our friendship, she was known for Americana balladry and roots rocking, which normally placed her at World Café Live. However, about a year ago I got some texts and an email from Caroline implying that she was going in quite a different direction… Earlier this year Caroline released LONER, which I’ve been describing as “queer electro-punk,” and comparing to Le Tigre… And people have been loving it. Caroline’s already played four sold-old Philthy shows this year (I guess technically, “fully attended,” as one was a free in-store.), including a date last month opening for Maggie Rogers at a 1,300-capacity venue.
This change in aesthetic for Caroline Rose apparently came when she felt as though her previous output no longer accurately reflected her identity, so she decided to fully-embrace queerness, an entirely red wardrobe, and her love of both turn-of-the-century pop and ‘70s punk (This was not entirely a shock, as some of our earliest bonding experiences were over a mutual love of The Cramps and Joy Division.) For her latest record she also familiarized herself with a bevy of new instruments, including a plethora of synths, in addition to taking on much of the producing and mixing herself.
Caroline Rose currently has dates in the US and Europe booked through October, including tons of headlining dates, a number of major festivals, and a slew of dates opening for Rainbow Kitten Surprise. I talked to her after her most recent Philthy stop, opening for Maggie Rogers, and she told me about her crazy amazing year.
Izzy Cihak: First of all, thanks so much for being such a cool friend for the past like five years or so. You’re definitely one of my five favorite people in music.
Caroline Rose: You’re so welcome, Izzy. The feeling’s mutual!
Izzy: You released LONER quite recently and people seem to be loving it hard. Your recent show at Johnny Brenda’s was definitely your biggest local headlining show and you told me that most of the shows have been selling out. What have been some of the highlights of promoting and supporting this release?
Caroline: Oh, definitely the shows!! It’s a whole different experience creating the live show from making the record. We’ve all worked really hard to make sure people are getting something special when they buy a ticket to see us, so it’s been really validating seeing how positive the response has been.
Izzy: And this record is definitely quite different from your previous work. I’ve been describing it as, “queer electro-punk, like latter-era Le Tigre,” where your previous work was definitely more in the Americana realm. What would you consider to be the album’s most significant influences, both musical and otherwise?
Caroline: Ooo, Le Tigre is a good one for sure. Another good way to describe it is a blend of ‘70s punk and modern pop music. It’s just as much influenced by Blondie and the B-52s as it is early Justin Timberlake.
Izzy: Your recent sounds are definitely a little bit more my usual speed, but is there any chance of you ever playing “Notes Walking Home From Work” again? I always joke that it sounds like an outtake from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and is my favorite protest song of the 21st century (Which is true.) If the answer is, “No,” that’s totally cool, as I would probably cry like WHOA and it would be a totally un-cute look for me.
Caroline: Hahaha! I’d have to brush up on the chords! I haven’t played it in years, but I do still love that song…
Izzy: You have a ton of live dates coming up, through the fall, both in the states and overseas, including some super big festivals and some dates with some super cool artists. Are there any gigs you’re especially excited to play, or just cities you’re especially excited to visit or revisit?
Caroline: I love touring and playing shows, so it’s hard to say which ones I’m most excited about, but I do think playing headline shows is extra special because you’ve already done all the work winning over the audience. They’re already there to see you, so you can be a bit more at ease. Plus, I tend to be a bit more adventurous with what I do/say during our headline shows, because I know they’re all a bunch of freaks and weirdos if they bought a ticket to our show.
Izzy: Finally, considering this is a Philadelphia publication, I have to ask your thoughts on the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. You’ve played here kind of a lot, to a wide variety of crowds and settings. Any particular significant thoughts on the city, or favorite experiences?
Caroline: Philly is one of my favorite cities ever. I’m actually writing this from Philly this very moment! We just walked around Fairmount, it is so charming and friendly!! I’ve had a lot of support here too, which makes it feel extra special. Hey, I may or may not end up moving here…