Charming Liars – Insomnia
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) How would you describe your sound?
Karnig: I think to be accurate we could say somewhere in between alternative, commercial and pop.
Q) Who are some of your musical influences?
Kiliyan: For me song writing is key, so great influences for me are guys like Jackson Browne, The Doors, U2, Third Eye Blind and on a vocal level very much Frank Sinatra…That guy is the king of dynamic.
Q) Talk about the story behind your new song “Insomnia.”
Kiliyan: That song, in a way, started from kind of an autobiographical perspective. Karnig and I had been putting together a track earlier in the day and when I got home later that night I just couldn’t sleep. My body was tired, but my mind just wasn’t having it. So, I got up and started working on the lyrics for the song we had been working on. It started out by just observing my surroundings and then from there it launched into what I thought would be the darkest reaches of insomnia. What you would feel and see and what could be seeing you.
Q) What do you think it is about the song that fans connect to?
Kiliyan: I think everyone at some point in time can relate to the feelings that something like insomnia produces. Maybe your heart is broken and you can’t sleep because it hurts too much or it could just be a trip down memory lane when you couldn’t get any rest because of what you thought was lurking in the dark just beyond your bed post.
Q) How does the video for the track play into the message behind it?
Kiliyan: The video really helps visually represent what the song sonically portrays. It’s the darkness that lays in an un-silenced, unrested mind.
Q) What is your song writing process? Do you need music before you can create lyrics?
Karnig: The process has all sorts of journeys. Sometimes Kiliyan has a lyric that means something to him and fits perfectly as a chorus – we will then build music around it. Sometimes we do the classic acoustic guitar approach. We’ll sit in the studio and create a song in a really organic way where the guitar chords and vocal come in at the same time. Sometimes I’ll have a beat or unique sound / noise that inspires an idea.
Q) How much of hand do you have in the production of your music?
Karnig: I am producer on this new single and album that will follow. So, it’s very much an internal creation and what you hear hasn’t been influenced by outside producers. The songwriting is also something we pride ourselves on and every song on this record is written by us and only us.
Q) What can fans expect from a live Charming Liars performance?
Karnig: We definitely like to ramp things up for the live shows. We’ve been playing in bands for a very long time and we pretty much learned to play our instruments and write songs on stage. Our production on the recordings is definitely on the more alternative/pop side, but we like to turn those guitars up for the live show. On a more personal level, after every show we’re at the merch booth meeting and hanging out with every single person. So, if you’re coming to a show you’re most probably going to meet someone in the band.
Q) Can we expect an EP or album in the near future?
Kiliyan: New album absolutely. We have spent quite some time putting it together and it’s been really quite strange watching it take shape. Some of it I hear and I’m not sure how it came to be. Making music for us is such a process that after we finish it’s like coming out of a trance.
Q) Where are some of your favorite places to perform and what makes those locations so significant to you?
Karnig: Denver is definitely a place we love to play. We seem to connect with people there every time we play. Denver and Colorado in general has a very free and laidback attitude about it and I think that definitely benefits the music scene. On any given night you’ve got some of the best music in the country on show. Chicago is also always a stop we look for when it comes to touring. You can always expect a lot of energy and personality. On top of that, the deep dish there is …Wow.
Q) Who would you most like to collaborate with on a song in the future?
Karnig: Hmm. I think in terms of collaboration, anyone of our peers in our genre would be incredible. However, in terms of something that could be different and really exciting, Anderson Paak would be completely unique. He’s one of most talented artists out there and who knows what could happen.
Q) What album/band are you currently listening to and why do you dig them?
Kiliyan: Lately I’ve been listening to the latest War On Drugs record and I’m really enjoying it. It’s one of those records that’s great the first time you hear it and each time you listen you notice something different and it just keeps getting better with time.
Q) You are a part of social media. Why is that such an important way for you to connect with your fans?
Kiliyan: I think social media gives us a distinct experience that bands prior didn’t have. It’s so mind blowing that we can play a string of shows one week and through social media stay in touch with all the new people we’ve met almost effortlessly. We can keep them up to date with what we are doing and it even makes the interaction a bit more personal. We can grow and water relationships with our fans which breaks down the wall between fan and band. We just become their friends who happen to play in a band that they actually like.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
Kiliyan: As simple as it sounds, just thank you. We are doing the only thing we’ve ever wanted to be doing and the fact that people actually want to hear what we do just makes the whole thing so much more powerful.