Charming Liars, a band that started in London but is based in Los Angeles, released their single “Like a Drug” a few months ago and all signs have pointed to the trio ramping up to release a new set of music. Alternative Addiction recently talked with Charming Liars bassist Mike Kruger about the band’s latest single, how they write, and they’re upcoming release.
“The way we write isn’t that different than any other band, but we like to get together in the studio and write as we record,” said Kruger talking with Alternative Addiction. “’Like a Drug’ is one of those songs that we had the basis of the music first, then Killiyan [Maguire – vocalist of Charming Liars] came along with a hook that was so catchy, that we ended up changing what we wrote and then writing the rest of the music around that song. The lyrics were done first with that song and then we went back and changed the music around them.”
Charming Liars doesn’t have a formula for writing their music even though they do write while they record. Kruger talked about the different sparks that start song writing for the band and how they work on them in the studio.
“Sometimes songs start on an acoustic guitar, sometimes they start with a riff, and sometimes they start with a melody. Once we have that initial starting point, then how we work on them is pretty similar. We produce all our own music in our own studio so it’s easy for us to show up and decide to work on something specific. We don’t have to get any help from anyone and we can work at our own pace. The only thing we deal with is arguing with each other about various parts of the song.”
As for those arguments, Kruger said that the band deals with them in a pretty straightforward way – if somebody’s idea is better, then it wins, but they still have to win the vote.
“We have one simple rule in our band, if you want to replace something, the idea you have has to be better than what’s already there,” noted the bassist. “That’s what’s good about having three of us, there’s always a majority. Someone’s going to be outvoted. That’s how we make things work for us.”
In addition to talking about “Like a Drug” with Mike, we also talked about the song “Insomnia”, a song we featured on Alternative Addiction’s Top 20 earlier in the year.
“That song came before ‘Like a Drug’,” explained Kruger. “That’s a song that we had the music together before the lyrics. Killiyan went home and was working on lyrics and he couldn’t sleep. The idea of him not being able to sleep turned into the lyrical content of the song. It’s amazing how inspiration can come from the most mundane places. With both songs we wanted to see what kinds of synths and electronics we could use to accompany guitars in our music. We’re not really that type of band but we do like to use some textures and things like that to help choruses to give them that huge type of vibe/feel to them,” he added.
So far this year the band has released the two singles, but they’ve got a lot more songs that are near completion or are already completed. Talking with Kruger about whether the band is planning on releasing an EP or an LP, he wasn’t quite sure, but it sounded like the band was leaning towards releasing an album.
“Basically, for the past 6-9 months we’ve been working on a batch of songs. We don’t really work with anything in mind. We just work on music and we find songs that fit together and then we figure out what we want to release. We have 15-16 songs mixed right now and we’re going through the process of whittling that down with the idea of getting our favorites and putting an album together late in the summer or early in the fall.”
They’ll want to have that released or at least announced by the early fall because the band has tour dates planned with Welshly Arms in September in the U.S., that’s something that Kruger and the guys are excited about.
“We’re very excited about that. That’s my favorite part of being in a band. It’s fun to tour the U.S. and see the smaller less romantic markets. That’s the opportunity to meet the rest of America and meet all kinds of people. Welshly Arms is a great band too and we’re excited to tour with them.”
The next release will likely find a release date early in the fall, but fans can expect a new single to be released in the next couple of months because the third and final video in a series will be released then. The video trilogy consists of the video for “Insomnia”, “Like a Drug”, and the yet to be announced next song.
“When we were sitting down and talking about making a video for “Like a Drug” – we found that there was a common theme between that song and the other songs we viewed as singles,” explained Kruger. “We’ve always been film nerds and we thought it was a perfect opportunity to merge our passions. We were ambitious with this, but we decided to write and shoot a short movie with the lyrics from the songs as the story line. We went to Louisiana and we shot for four days in the swamp with some amazingly talented people and we made this 25-minute movie that we chopped up into three music videos. The last one will be released in a couple of months. It’s all emotionally heavy, but we wanted to take advantage of the people we know that could help us pull this off and we wanted to say something with these videos.”
You can watch the videos for “Insomnia” and “Like a Drug” on the band’s YouTube channel, be sure to look out for the band’s next video in the series to be released soon. – aa
The song "Like a Drug" is available at all digital retailers now too. You can get it on iTunes now