Some artists claim to be pop with a capital P but Carla J Easton is Pop with a Capitol Records tote bag and a huge love for bright and breezy songs. We met Carla in the days before the release of her latest album, Impossible Stuff, which will be out on October 5th .
We’re on the brink of the release of your Impossible Stuff record, what emotions do you go through in the days leading up to an album launch?
Extreme panic! I had a busy August and decided to take it easy in September. Earlier this year, I was very ill, so having a break was good but when I’m not doing anything I panic. However, yesterday was good, the vinyl arrived, and I had a band practice, so I’m feeling calmer and a lot better. It’s a weird thing when you hold the physical product in your hands and you think wow. It comes out on the 5 th of October and that will be exactly a year since I got back from Canada recording it. It’s the best part of a year’s work so to have it coming out is exciting but I’m nervous. It’s a different sound from my first solo album, under the Ette moniker, and the Teen Canteen album, and I really care about it.
With this record coming out under your own name, does it feel a more personal record than previous releases?
I think I would have continued to use the Ette name but in March last year I was on a song-writing residency in Banff Arts Centre for Creativity in Canada, after assistance from Help Musicians UK and one of the mentors was Russel Decarle. We talked about records I love, and I played him my new material. We talked about our mutual love of Carole King and he said ‘you’re writing your Tapestry’, not that it will go on to be as memorable as that album, but he said own up to it and put your name to it.
I’ve been writing and performing songs for 14 years and it’s taken a lot of confidence building to sit and play my own songs, so it’s been part of that, and it’s all me. The album was supported by Creative Scotland and I feel like I’ve been lucky, I’m really pleased with the album and even if hardly anyone hears it, I feel like I’ve achieved something, and I feel a better person having written and recorded it.
You’ve got Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberfeldy gigs alongside several English dates in October and November, are there any songs you are looking forward to playing live?
We had a rehearsal last night and the song Meet Me In Paris was so bouncy and fun, it was great. Girl From Before has a real swing to it.
I’m looking forward to playing the album live because when I recorded it, I sent demos to musicians in Canada who did their parts, so we never played it live. We set up in the studio and it was so quick because they were great musicians and we’d run through it twice and then record it!
In January this year, all the Canadians came over and we played live for the first time. When you play live, there’s an element of human error, there’s adrenaline and a live performance is never the same twice, so its super exciting to play live and I’m really looking forward to the tour.
You co-wrote and featured on a recent Belle & Sebastian EP, how did that come about?
I got an email from Stuart Murdoch that must have sat in my spam folder for a little while! I think he’d been at the Teen Canteen Girl Effect event at Mono, and he asked around about me.
It was my first proper co-write. It was terrifying going into it, but you have to find a starting point and let it grow from there. Stuart asked me if I would come down and listen to it and when I was there, he asked me to sing guide vocals… and then he asked me to sing the recorded version.
I didn’t think I did a good job because I wrote it for Stuart to sing but it was brilliant to be there. I’d love to perform the song live with them sometime, it would be nice to do together.
Your next project is The Unsung Women Pioneers of Scottish Pop documentary. How did that come about and what are your hopes for the work?
The documentary started when we were working on the Cherry Pie video (for Teen Canteen, with Blair Young) and we discussed how girl groups were represented in music videos. I was telling him about the history of how Bananarama started and then we moved on to Scottish post- punk girl bands, specifically The Twinsets.
We’ve talked to acts who have headlined Wembley, toured the world, had top ten singles, supported The Beatles and done 20 John Peel Sessions between them so there’s a lot of success there. I think Scotland can be a self-deprecating nation sometimes so it’s good to celebrate the heritage and this music.
The drummer in Teen Canteen, Debbie, has been my best friend since we were 11 and it wasn’t until our late twenties that we picked up instruments and were in a band together. Yet, as teenagers we were constantly going to gigs, buying records and talking about it, that was what our friendship was based on and I think we need to normalise it. There’s a direct link if you’re in the audience and you see someone like you on stage, you’re more likely to be inspired to do it too, so more girls will go to gigs and join bands.
Impossible Stuff is released on October 5th by Olive Grove Records and it’s a further endorsement of one of Scotland’s brightest present-day songwriters.