A while back I went to see Sick Puppies at House of Blues in Dallas and had a fantastic time. What I was NOT prepared for was the opening band, Charming Liars, who blew me away with a great mix of songs, swagger, and their ability to engage the crowd. I got to talking with them after their set, and lead singer Charlie Cosser agreed to sit down for an interview with me AFTER he surprised me by having all the guys sign a poster and their EP New Disorder for Mini-Amps. Great bunch of guys, really. Anyway, here’s our chat:
Amps: Hey, Charlie it’s Damian! How are you?
Charlie: I’m great, how’s Mini-Amps doing?
Amps: He’s wonderful! I showed him the CD and poster and he tapped where his name was and smiled, so thank you. That really meant a lot to me that you guys did that.
Charlie: Oh, I’m so happy!
Amps: First off, let me say this: I think you Charming Liars are going places. Your live show is great and you really had that room eating out of the palm of your hands. You guys know how to connect with a crowd. I see really big things for you on the horizon.
Charlie: Thank you, that is really kind of you to say.
Amps: In doing my homework, I see that you worked with Bob Rock. What was it like working with a world famous guy who’s turned the knobs on some of rock’s greatest albums?
Charlie: It was incredible! We didn’t realize that working with him was an actual possibility when it came up as an idea. The label suggested it and we said, “Is that even possible?” so they sent him some demos to see if he’d react, which he did. We had to work around his schedule so it actually took a long time from the moment he said yes to the point we actually got to work with him. But we finally got in the studio and he was a very relaxed guy who made us all feel very comfortable, and he helped us pick the right songs from all the demos we’d written. He’d come to our little studio ahead of our recording time and listen to what we’d been working on and nurture it, nurture the ideas, and we eventually got down to it. We were very intimidated at first, because of who he is, and we thought he’d be a scary, tough dude, but when we got in there he was so chill, so relaxed, and we just felt really comfortable.
Amps: Hey there’s not a lot of young bands that get to do that, so what’s that say about you, huh?
Charlie: (laughing) well hopefully good things!
Amps: OK. I got the 4-song EP from you at the show. When does the full-length come out?
Charlie: The four songs on the EP are actually on the album. We recorded twelve but we didn’t want to put it out randomly out of nowhere especially since we’re a brand new band. We picked four songs to sum up what’s to come and give people an idea and hopefully get them excited. The album will come out early in the New Year, certainly what we’re trying to push for, and we’ll probably add a few bonus tracks.
Amps: Mini-Amps seems to like “I’m Losing You” the best, by the way.
Charlie: Really? Oh that’s awesome!
Amps: As far as writing goes, is that mostly you or is it a group effort?
Charlie: It usually starts with an idea or melody and Karnig (Manoukian, guitar) and I will sit down in the studio and jam it out on either acoustic guitars or put it on a track quickly, and then also, we did some writing in Nashville, where we found that starting songs with a title is a pretty fun way to get things going. So a couple of songs on the album, we had a really good lyric or title idea which drew all our energy and attention in that direction. Because a lot of times if you have a song idea it just goes a million different places and you don’t know how to focus it, so starting with a title really sets a mood and enables you to get to it quickly.
Amps: What’s after the Sick Puppies tour? Are you going home, staying out on the road through the record release?
Charlie: Well, in a dream world we’d go back home and get some writing done. We’ve been out for a long time and we’ve got a lot to write about and there are ideas coming through. So we’d love to spend time doing that and then jump back on the road, take some time off for Christmas and go back to the UK, and then really hit it hard in the New Year and push the album.
Amps: You’re currently based in California. Do you miss the UK at all?
Charlie: We don’t miss the weather (laughing)! Obviously, you know friends and family, you’re out of touch for a while and it’s sad, so any time we see that we can spend some time together, whether it be Christmas or some other time, we’d like to do that. But we’re certainly happy with the choice we’ve made to go to California because we’re doing what we love to do, so it’s hard to hate where you are when you’re doing what you love.
Amps: So we’ll see you here in Dallas in support of the next record then? You made some friends here, so you have to come back and see us.
Charlie: Oh, without a doubt. No question. Texan hospitality is the BEST! You know how many drinks people bought us there?? (Both of us laugh)
Amps: What are some of your favorite bands that you grew up on?
Charlie: It really ranges. The safest place to start would be what our parents listened to, whether that is The Eagles, or Michael Jackson, Motown music. The first music I heard and fell in love with was Frank Sinatra. Then at the age of 12 or 13 I started getting into heavy rock. I listened to everything from Slipknot to Blink-182, then as we started playing we got into punk and hardcore a bit as well as the more melodic stuff. I’m a big fan of pop music; I like really well-crafted songs and stuff. Even though there’s a shit-ton of crap on the radio right now, occasionally I’ll hear something that I’ll love. Mike (Kruger, bass), he loves anything with deep bass, so we all like different things.
Amps: Rockstar Uproar last summer and Sick Puppies were your first major tours. What have you learned from being on these two big gigs back-to-back?
Charlie: We’ve learned that America is a very, very, very big country and driving across it takes some time. We also learned to stay as hydrated as possible when playing outside in summertime in cities like Dallas in August. And we’ve learned how tight we need to be, and how solid a band we need to be in order to go places like the headliners we’ve been out with. These are bands that have put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into what they’ve done for so many years and we wanna see ourselves in the same places as Sick Puppies, Coheed and Cambria, and Jane’s Addiction. We have a ton of respect for all the big bands we’ve played with and the realization of all their hard work is what we need to do to get where they are.
Amps: Plus, you were a perfect fit for Sick Puppies. They’re one of my favorite bands and I thought it worked really well.
Charlie: I agree. They have an incredible rock sound with some great melodic influences, and that’s what we try to do.
Amps: Plus, I’m sure from the stage you saw the SEA of hot women that come out to see a band like that, right?
Charlie: Ohhh, we noticed and we’re not complaining (laughs)!
Amps: Since you are all from the UK are you also avid football supporters?
Charlie: You mean real football, right (laughing)?
Amps: Didn’t you hear me say “football supporters”? Come on, I know the lingo!
Charlie: (laughing) that’s true, that’s true! I’m a rugby guy myself. Karnig and Mike are EXTREME football fans and they like rival teams, so it’s constant with them. Chelsea is Karnig’s team, and mine when I’m watching it, and Mike likes Fulham, but he really likes Manchester United.
Amps: (in exasperation) OH, COME ON!!
Charlie: (laughing) he likes Man U because Fulham never wins, so he has to support a team that sometimes wins. So it’s safe to say there are a lot of heated arguments in the band!
Amps: I hate Manchester United! I’m a full-on Arsenal supporter.
Charlie: Arsenal?? There you go!
Amps: Thanks so much for taking some time out for me Charlie. Before I let you go is there anything you’d like to say to the fans?
Charlie: Thank you to everyone who came out really early to the Uproar shows and for coming out to see us go on first with Sick Puppies. That’s amazing, so thank you. We are literally having the time of our lives right now and anyone that wants to come hang out, we welcome it with open arms because we’re having a ball.
I left Charlie to go explore the city of New Orleans, as the band had a few days off. He sent Mini-Amps his best one final time, and we agreed to hang again next time they were in Dallas. Meanwhile, you can purchase Charming Liars EP New Disorder from their website, or on iTunes. Definitely check them out. Great band, great guys all of them! And I can’t say that enough.