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Articles Home » Music Talk » Carousel Kings Interview with Dave and Will By Nina McCarthy
Carousel Kings Interview with Dave and Will By Nina McCarthy

Carousel Kings

Interview with Dave and Will

By Nina McCarthy, Sr. Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio

 

Carousel Kings is a band from Lancaster, PA that formed in late 2008 by founding member and frontman David Alexander. Joining Alexander is Will Barovick (guitar, vocals), Cody Williams (bass, vocals), and Danny Wilkins (drums). They started their career on CI Records and are currently signed to Victory Records. Carousel Kings released Plus Ultra, their fourth full-length album, on May 31, 2019. I had a chance to get to know the guys a little better when they played at Alchemy in Providence, RI.

 

(Interviewing on the streets of Providence)

 

BRR: For those not familiar with the band can you give a brief history of the band. Dave, I know you started playing around age 17. 

Dave: Yes, right before I turned 18 during my senior year of High School I started the band with a group of friends. We put out our first full length in 2012 on CI Records and Unity in 2014. Will joined and we put out an acoustic album and we released Charm City in 2017. Recently, we re-wrote and recorded Plus Ultra and released it this year, in 2019.

 

BRR: What led you to your relationship with Victory Records?

Dave: We originally talked to them in 2009-2010 and we just decided to remain a DIY band. We were DIY from 2008-2015, when we got on Warped Tour for the first time. Basically, we were ready to write another album and Victory hit us up and it seemed like it would work.

 

BRR: More bands are doing DIY, even some big names.

Dave: It’s great but honestly, at the same time, being on Victory, it’s cool to not have to do all the stuff that I was doing. It kind of gives me a break.

 

BRR: That way you can concentrate more on the music.

Dave: Yes!

 

BRR: Let’s talk about your new album. (It had only been out for 24 hours at the time of this interview.) Have you gotten much feedback yet?

Will: I haven’t seen any negatives, I can say that. “Dave hit that note,” I’ve read, and “The guitars are sick.” All positive on my end. Streaming is at like 1⁄2 mil so far.

Dave: I think that includes the singles that were already out. It’s doing well though. It’s actually doing better than our older songs.

 

BRR: There are 10 guest appearances on the 11 tracks. What made you go this route and who are some of the guests?

Will: Spread the love!

Dave: Spread the love and go over the top. The album is called Plus Ultra, which means ‘further beyond,’ so it’s further beyond just us.

Will: It turned into how many guests could we get? There would have been more if we were allowed.

Dave: We needed more songs. We featured Lexxe, a Broadway singer.

 

BRR: I enjoyed the female vocals on there.

Will: Us too. She is so talented.

Dave: We also had Spencer Charnis from Ice Nine Kills. He was on “Shell Shocked.” Pete and some dudes from a band called Hang Tight just did some yells basically, and a “yeah baby!”

Will: They’re a New Jersey band. It’s cool to have them included, even if it’s just for some random small parts.

Dave: There was a sax feature and Charles Casell from Buried Alive. It was crazy. That dude shreds so much harder than anyone I know.

Will: He melted all our faces.

 

BRR: The cover art is really cool. I know you used the artist before. Tell us about him.

Dave: His name is Archan Nair. He is from India but actually lives in Germany. He is an artist full time. I met him on Instagram, actually, and we became really close friends. We skyped and ended up talking for hours on end. We talked about the universe and what the meaning of life is. It was really cool to have him do the art on the album cover.

 

BRR: I really liked looking at it. If you stare at the picture you can see so many different things.

Will: Yeah, there is always so much more to see. Look at it with a microscope and see how much detail there really is.

 

BRR: What song are you most proud of on this album?

Dave: That’s a tough one. They all fucking rocked. I’m really proud of all of them in a different way. It’s just a cool direction we took. Can you pick a favorite, Will?

Will: Probably “Shell Shock.” I think we included the most synthesizer that we could, while also keeping it sound like us as much as possible.

Dave: Yeah, especially if you heard what the demo was. (They both laugh.) It’s the once Spencer from Ice Nine Kills is on. It turned from a silly little seed into a crazy plant.

Will: I feel like “Great White Buffalo” was pretty cool too. It’s the one song that we really tried to do something different.

Dave: It was one stanza we made the whole song around.

Will: We had this bass riff and we just totally morphed it. The riff comes back at the bridge.  It was crazy.

Dave: I second that, “Shell Shock” and “Buffalo.” We weren’t aiming for anything and just said, “What happens if we do this…”

 

BRR: I’ve seen a lot of people say they like that one too.  Now “Code Breaker (Smile)” is a funny video. First of all I want to know whose idea it was to light the pizza like a pipe? That was awesome. I had to go back and see if I saw that right.

Will: That was all Dave.

Dave: It was like an ad lib. We were goofing around.    

 

BRR: I read that despite the comedy it is a ‘song of positivity and soul searching.’ Can you elaborate on that?

Dave: The original idea was Steve realizing everything he saw on TV was the same regurgitated shit, so we took a comedic spin on that.

Will: There’s even like a death scene, kind of, but it’s so stupid that I feel no one could get offended. We just tried to have fun with it.

 

BRR: It’s fun to watch. You’ve experimented with different sounds on this album, especially on “Shelter,” which I think is probably my favorite track on the album. Is there a personal story behind this song?

Dave: Will wrote the ukulele part to this song.

Will: Oh man, I forgot that this is half my story. Let me tell the beginning. I was sitting home on my sister’s little pink ukulele figuring out some weird chords. I thought, “This is cool. Let me record it.” That’s how the whole thing started. Take it from there, Dave.

Dave: So he sent he send me an entire song complete on ukulele and I”m like, “Okay.” About a year ago we were on tour in England and I met this girl at a show and I couldn’t even understand what the fuck she was saying and I didn’t even know what her name was.

Will: We still don’t know here name.

Dave: I figured it out because I actually ended up dating this girl. The first time I hung out with her, I flew out to England for two weeks, and it was really sick. As soon as I got back, I listened to his song and I wrote the fucking lyrics to that song. It was just totally on a whim but she definitely was the inspiration for it because I had such a good time.

 

BRR: That’s a funny story. Now, from what I’ve read, touring relentlessly and attending the LAUNCH Music Conference yearly has helped pave your way to success. What other advice would you have for other up and coming bands trying to break into mainstream?

Dave: Festivals are always cool. LAUNCH is fun to play. Jeremy Weiss puts on a cool show. It’s big and there is a lot of shit going on.

Will: Truly, make sure your songs don’t suck. It’s hard to say what’s good, but it’s easy to say what’s bad. Just make sure that your heart is in it and it sounds good to you and just push it.

 

BRR:  I think you guys sound a lot better live than on the album. Don’t take that wrong, I love the album, but it’s a “must see” live show because of the energy. I was definitely surprised seeing the difference onstage.

Dave: I find that is usually something people say. They see us and they say, “Wow!”  That’s basically what we try to put forth, high energy and good energy.

 

BRR: Before I go get some pizza, is there anything you’d like to add?

Will: You’re definitely the best interviewer we’ve ever had.

Dave: We love you!

 

BRR: That’s because you’re high.HA! Thank you guys. I’m glad I came out and met you. I had a great time. Now it's time for some Sajo's pizza!

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Marlene Buckley Krukiel. (The guys also said she was the best photographer that ever took their pictures. 😂)

 Thank you to Tom Wojcik at Victory Records for making this interview possible.  

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