AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL ESSERMAN OF A CAROUSEL MOON

“Out Of Sequence” will be the second release for A Carousel Moon this year. A project made up of Michael Esserman and Eric Sosler of NY State indiepop band The Racer. This is actually the second side project to come out of The Racer following No Great Pretender a project where Eric Sosler explored interesting piano based pop with almost talked vocals. However A Carousel Moon is a little closer to what The Racer does but perhaps a tad bit more jazzy at times and very mellow at other times. The band describes the new release as “an exploration of electronic beats and sounds infused with Jazz and Blues instrumentation and calming, fun vocals and samples to bring the music to tasteful, head bobbing energy. “ 

We got to sit down with Michael Esserman and talk to him about the upcoming release A Carousel Moon “Out Of Sequence” which will be available on September 3rd:

How does A Carousel Moon go from Foxy Vol. 1 sound to Out of Sequence sound? What triggers that? 

A Carousel Moon started with the Foxy Vol. 1 type sound but as we kept bouncing ideas off each other and coming up with different snippets of music and parts we decided that this project had no bounds or boundaries.  So as we moved forward with creating new music we started to categorize these pieces of music and work on like sounds and ideas together.  Out of Sequence evolved from snippets of music that had a sort of electronic, jam type feel but we decided to incorporate elements of jazz and blues to give it a fresh feel.   

These are not your usually structured tracks.  How did you get into the more jamming improv approach and incorporating a modern electric vibe? 

A Carousel Moon is kind of a free for all type of project so as different ideas came along we kind of assessed what we thought they were and how they fit and took different approaches for each style.  These songs evolved from that electronic, jam type sound.  Most started with an electronic type drum beat or glitchy rhythm idea and then evolved with a chord progression or a riff.  Eric and I are at a stage musically where we are trying to improve more so as musicians more so than songwriters.  Of course we want to write great songs but we've been songwriters for a long time but musicians in a technical sense not so much.  So we started to delve into more traditional theory and learn more interesting less pop friendly type chords, scales, and progressions.  This kind of represents that mixture of a more complicated approach to the musical backbone of songs but while also keeping the structure relatively loose and free flowing. 

3.  What was the process for recording and producing these tracks?

Most of these songs started out with a simple beat or simple chord progression sent via email.  We would then add parts via email back and forth and I would insert the stuff into protools so when we got together we could listen back and see where we were at. 99 percent of the time anything each of us sent would stay and we would just talk about structure and adjust accordingly.  When we physically got together we would jam on the tracks and record those jams into protools keeping either whole jams, parts, or snippets.  The vocals usually came in the in between stages.  I would sing over the drums and basic progression and again as the song progressed we would see if anything was needed, if it was good as is, or if it needed to be chopped up and rearranged.  The process was very easy and fun because we just did whatever we wanted and moved on.   

What influences helped in creating these tracks? 

These songs were described originally as Thom Yorke Blues tracks. We were trying to meld Thom Yorke electronic, glitchy, atmospheric music with a blues/jazz sound.   

How do you balance the real vocals with vocal samples?  How and when do you decide to use samples? 

So with all these songs in general there really isn't a plan other than keeping to the style when we decide it fits into this particular set of songs.  Anything goes really and it's just what gets picked up along the way on the journey.  Usually I don't say "this song needs some samples",  but instead I'll just mess around with anything, random sound generators, programs, vst's,  just to see if anything clicks or sticks.  Pretty much if it sounds good we keep it.  Whatever Eric or I are feeling that day can make its way into the music if we think it sounds good.  And as far as real vocals usually I'll try a melody over everything and if something works then great! if not then that song or part of the song doesnt have vocals.  Super easy!  That's why it's so much fun. 

The video for Brother Brother looked fun. How did you guys do that and how long did it take to learn those dances together? 

The video for Brother Brother was Eric’s brain child.  We weren’t sure if we could pull it off because of a need for a green screen but we were able to purchase a cheap one and use that as the backdrop for the entire video.  The background changes were b - stock footage we were able to compile from some online sources.  I was pretty much looking for anything retro and a little ridiculous and fun to add to the overall vibe we were going for.  Believe it or not the dance moves mostly were developed on the spot.  We had talked about the general idea prior to filming and the basic moves but we never rehearsed anything prior to filming.  Before we rolled the camera we would discuss different moves we either had thought about prior or came to us in that moment, rehearse them quickly, and then roll film.  It was fitting for the song because we just went with whatever felt right. 

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- Sam Lowry

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