Interview: Alan Caruso Caruso – Is Like So… EP

Hi Alan, how are you today?

I’m good/bad, but I’m not evil.

For those that haven’t heard of you yet, how would you best describe your sound,and who have been your biggest influences so far?

Like The Osmonds once said, I’m a little bit county and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. Probably country-folk would be the best description and I’m a little bit outsider-y too, but melodic with it. Nothing to frighten the horses. Biggest influences are Leonard Cohen and Daniel Johnston. Neither of them was the greatest singer or guitarist, and I’m certainly not either, but they were both incredible songwriters and very profound – funny as well, for such gloomy guys. That’s the combination I’m aiming for. I also love and am very influenced by Jonathan Richman, Lou Reed (Velvets and solo), The Beatles, Pavement, Neil Young, Prince, and my favourite current artist is Faye Webster. Maybe less well known influences are Judee Sill, who wrote these gothic, romantic and quasi religious folk-pop songs that really resonate with me, and Ted Hawkins, a bluesy folk guy who didn’t release a record until he was in his 40s. I’m an older man too, so that’s an inspiration to me.

Do you remember what the first song was that made you want to start a career inmusic?

You would expect it to be something I heard when I was young, but again it wasn’t until I heard the Purple Mountains LP a few years ago that I decided I really wanted to write songs and felt I could. I’m still very sad about David Berman.

You have just released your new EP ‘Caruso – Is Like So…’. Can you tell us how that EP came about?

They’re the first songs I wrote! They always say you only need three chords to write a song, so I put that to the test and wrote ‘Do I Serve A Purpose?’ The other two came quite quickly after. I thought they might be good enough to record and fortunately someone else agreed.

And is there a story behind it?

They were written and recorded during lockdown. A story we were all a part of.

You have just released the EP, but can we expect another or even an album from you in the near future?

I’ll have a new single, called ‘You’ve Got Until The End Of This Song To Take Me Home’, out next week. An album would be amazing, that’s the dream. I have enough songs, so watch this space.

What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?

Well, I don’t have a career in music… Yet! I actually work in advertising at the moment, which is every bit as soul-destroying as you might imagine. I really hope if I do get a career in music that people don’t assume it’s all just an elaborate ad campaign for washing powder or something.

And finally, what is the best piece of musical advice you have ever been given?

Not strictly speaking advice, but I love what Florence Foster Jenkins said: “They’ll say I can’t sing, but they can never say I didn’t sing.”

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