From the first time we met Colette Carr, we just knew that this girl was going somewhere. It’s been a slow build for the Malibu girl rapper but with the release of her new EP “Skitszo Part 1” on Cherrytree Records not too long ago, we finally get a peak into the inner workings of this quirky creative pop sensation that is pushing the boundaries of music distribution by releasing her music online as soon as it’s made. I caught up with Colette over-the-phone a few weeks ago to talk about “Skitszo Part 1”, the “heavy” recording period she went through with Frankmusik, what we can expect from her in 2013 and just why her universe is all mermaids and unicorns…
Well hello Colette! I’ve been listening to “Skitszo Part 1” non-stop and I’m very excited to hear the final album when it comes out in 2013. Tell us a little bit about “Skitszo Part 1” and what it means to you…
Hey Raj, “Skitszo Part 1” just feels really natural, they are songs that I wanted to get out there for awhile – “Killswitch” in particular, but I knew if I were to release that as a single people would be so confused because there is no rap on it and y’know, it’s pretty pop driven and it’s a very vulnerable song for me. I was really frustrated with this new singles market and how quickly bloggers would publish something saying “you’ve changed direction” when really they aren’t getting the big picture – which is “Skitszo”. “Skitszo” is about one girl expressing all her different sides, which I think most girls have – an open side, an angry side – just natural progression of emotions when dealing with a break-up, falling in love, wanting to go out and blow off some steam. I spoke to Martin Kierszenbaum about it (Cherry Cherry Boom Boom) about it and he totally understood that I wanted to come out with an album, but not do in the typical way of releasing three singles. I just got bored with that concept if that makes sense. I haven’t been doing this for that long, but three years was enough for me in doing things the typical way. So really I just wanted to try something new and Martin was on the same page. We brainstormed for quite a bit and came up with this idea of releasing music as fast as it was made via an EP series. It really excited me because I knew that I could package a little bit of all my sides on these EPs and it would help people understand me and my music better. The Skitszo EP series is more like 360 view of my brain versus just one picture coming out at a time.
So on Part 1 – what particular sides of Colette Carr are we seeing…
Well you have “F-16” which is pretty bad ass and straightforward. I’m telling this guy basically that he fucked up everything but at the end of the day I’m still going to carry on and that he can’t take away my heart. “F-16” is kind of the more “fuck you” approach to dealing with love and break ups. Then you have “Delusional” which is me dealing with a sick son-of-a-bitch who is out-of-his-mind. The only word I can describe him is “delusional”. It’s an angry song, I got my anger out. With “Like I Got A Gun” I was cracking myself up writing that song. I think that song is so much fun. In the video there are water fights, women, Malibu mansions and just hilarity.
I have to say, I watched the “Like I Got A Gun” video about ten times today and is there supposed to be something “ironic” about it? You have yourself, a white girl rapper, portraying what is typically a male hip-hop video with no boys allowed…
I really wasn’t driving that point home in the video, but it was implied and I just crossed my fingers that people would see that. It was just me and a bunch of video ho’s and I flipped the script on everyone and I had so much fun doing that. That’s just more of my day-to-day side. Just fun-loving and a free person who is just gonna do shit like that.
I have to say, I’m really impressed with “Killswitch” – it’s my favourite song from Skitszo Part 1. Tell me a little bit about that song.
It was interesting because Vincent Frank (Frankmusik) and I were kind of in the same mental space at the time. We were both dealing with upsetting break-ups. We were having long lunches just talking about our situation and getting work done in-between while sulking. We just channelled our energy and vunrablity into the track. It happened really quickly, most tracks aren’t made like that. “Killswitch” happened at 6am in the studio. We were both mad at each other when we were making it because we were both so frustrated with everything, we just wanted to go to sleep and not talk to anyone about the song. It was difficult, but I love that about the creative process. That’s how I know a track is honest and yeah – it was a pretty crazy time that I could not really describe fully in this interview. Vincent pretty much wanted to kill me and I pretty much wanted to kill him, but in the end, we made an epic song. We realised that and we were genuinely excited about the song, but we didn’t want to talk about it any more. Its all these personal things you’d never want to bring up in a conversation and now it’s in lyrics, on paper, in melodies stuck in people’s heads and were gonna get asked about it constantly. I’m glad though that we “went there” and glad we did it and that Vince didn’t kill me in the process…[laughs].
Wow, sounds rough – was this before or after the polar opposite track “No ID” that you recorded with Frankmusik?
“No ID” was actually during all of this! We were in the studio for like five days straight. “No ID” was a break, because we needed a break and because we couldn’t just keep going there! It was hard and you needed to push yourself to come up with these lyrics that were so epically vulnerable! With “No ID” I showed him this track that I did with Space Cowboy and said “let’s see if we can remix this”. Vince just started playing the piano and made it into a softer track and I was like “ooh, I love this”. So basically we just remixed this song that I’d already done and it ended up being way better than the original and we sang it together and created this dope duet. However, there wasn’t a connection between the two parts of the song, so Cherry Cherry Boom Boom helped bridge the gap on the track and Vince ended up putting it on his album “Do It In The AM”.
What can you tell us about “Skitszo Part 2” coming out in January 2013?
I’m really excited about it, I’m doing what I want to do on it. I feel like I have four blank canvases in front of me and I get to paint exactly what I want to paint on it. As soon as I start to think about what other people will think, it then becomes “not as exciting”. So I’m just in my own world right now. I just finished a track that’s going on there and it has absolutely no chorus which is kind of exciting. People might hate it, but I really don’t care as that’s not what I’m thinking about. It’s a track that doesn’t have a chorus and I think it’s so refreshing. Every girl is going to relate to this song. I guess sometimes you have to be honest with yourself and what actually happens. You know when you just stare at your phone and you can’t believe the person is not texting you back? For like three days straight you are thinking about it – and you’d never admit to that usually. But as soon as you do everybody else stands up too and it’s like YUP. In this particular case, the guy won’t listen and it’s so frustrating and I think a lot of girls have this problem. Maybe you guys have that problem too, but I don’t think girls are as stupid as boys…and you can quote me on that!
I love how Colette Carr’s world is all sorts of aqua blue, pink and mermaids. What is it really like in your world?
There is no obsession with mermaids, but I grew up around a lot of mermaids in Malibu. Yeah we’re cool. Like we hang out. [LAUGHS]. In Malibu you got your dolphins, mermaids and sea slugs and then you go higher into Santa Monica and you got Pokemon running around with rainbows and unicorns. As soon as anyone tries to snap me into reality – I just hiss at them and walk the other way…
[LAUGHS] As it should be! We’re hoping to see you on tour early next year, what is the 2013 Colette Carr show going to be like?
I wanna strip it down. I don’t want too much going on onstage. I went to go see No Doubt and it was just really exciting how Gwen Stefani just kinda jumped around onstage and that she makes sure to sing to the audience. I think that some pop performers can sometimes get lost in cheoragraphy or they mask their insecurities by putting way too much onstage. With my show, I just want a more honest approach and I’ve been learning a lot. From the Cherrytree Pop Alternative shows we’ve done I’ve been learning. Being on stage is such a strange feeling. It’s such a huge space and it’s just you up there. You keep thinking “Do I fill this whole thing up or start doing suicide laps right now?” When you walk out and there are like sixteen thousand people, it’s just hard to think they are watching you sing a song. It’s like hmmmmm, they are all watching me sing this song that I wrote about my ex-boyfriend right now – it’s just super weird.
And what do you feel when you step off the stage?
I’m a peculiar creature. I don’t get nervous before going on stage, so I think that my levels don’t really jump and drop. But when I get off stage it’s the same, it’s not like “OMG I did it!”. It’s more like “OK, I’m going to go do this thing now where I sing for these people who want to watch me sing and rap.” And then afterwards I’m like “OK does anyone wanna go eat and get some food?” Sometimes I end up just eating alone and thinking about things…[LAUGHS]. Don’t quote me on that, I actually don’t like eating alone. [LAUGHS again].
“Skitszo Part 1” by Colette Carr is out now on iTunes.