Half About Being a Woman
Live (89.3 The Current, Caravan Du Nord)

The incredibly talented Caroline Smith will be kicking off a lengthy U.S. tour this Friday at one of our favorite rock bars in the Mile-High City (wow, does that name carry a different significance nowadays), The Hi-Dive; on the heels of one of our favorite LP’s within the last year, Half About Being a Woman. Luckily the multi-faceted singer/songwriter was just as cool as her music, as we had the fortuitous chance to talk about her creative process, drink of choice while performing, Wayne Newton and a whole lot more. And for our friends residing in Denver, if you missed our show preview, which came complete with a free ticket giveaway, it’s not too late to enter here. Read the entire transcript below.

The Music Ninja: We caught you at the beginning of quite the ambitious U.S. tour, including some pretty big markets like Boston and Philly. Are there any specific cities or venues that you’re excited to be playing on this jaunt?

Caroline Smith: I’m always excited to play New York. We have quite a few fans there and I love to pretend that I live there, even just for a day. I’ve been obsessed with living in NYC since Sex and The City was airing season 3 (le saison d’Aiden). That would have made me in 6th grade. I never got to move there, hopefully someday, so I feel extremely fortunate that I have a career that brings me to Manhattan a few times a year and it’s always something I look forward to.

TMN: You’ve played in Denver before with The Good Night Sleeps in 2012. How is your view of Denver’s budding music scene in comparison to the last time you had the chance to play the Mile High?

CS: Well, our label/management is out of Denver so I feel like Denver is kind of a second home to us- I mean, I practically dial 303 into my phone every day. The boys and I have always loved Denver and we have a lot of really close friends there, just from playing amazing spots like Leon Art Gallery. It’s weird to me that we don’t play Denver more! So I’m super pumped to get back and be a part of the music scene. Hopefully we won’t be away for another 2 years!

TMN: With such a consistent evolution seeming to take place within your music, what have been the catalysts for these paradigm shifts so to speak? Or is it just a case of you being able to look inward and discover new outlets of expression? (By the way we absolutely love Half About Being a Woman!!!!)

CS: Thank you! I always describe this record as the only record I’ve ever made that I would actually listen to. It’s hard being in the spotlight during your formative years (mind you, a very very small spotlight, but still a spotlight); when I was 18, I was really experimenting with sound and weird music trying to establish who I wanted to be, as we all are at 18. But it turned out that I was who I was the whole time and it was going to take a lot more than adding distortion to my vocals to change that. Now I’m 25, and I feel pretty confident with who I am and I just don’t have the same ‘cool-factor’ fear anymore (ie is Pitchfork going to like this?) so for HABW, I just made an honest batch of songs without worrying about who would like them, kind of a white flag to my inner self. I wanted to write songs that the women in my family would have danced around the kitchen to, using spoons as microphones, because that’s where I came from.

TMN: That is such a refreshing perspective! Speaking of home, you grew up in Detroit Lakes, MN, a mostly unheard of town to some. Were you ever able to experience the awesome 10,000 Lakes Festival before its demise? And if so, do you think having these amazing artists in your backyard once a year had a positive effect on you musically… or any at all?

CS: Oh boy, did I experience it. My house was literally in the festival’s backyard, with only a sheer layer of trees separating the grounds from my street. Sounds cool until drunk people are passing out in your lawn and asking if they can use the restroom. It was fun to sit with my mother though and talk to them, try to figure out what they were on. You know, when you live in Detroit Lakes, 10k fest meant traffic you couldn’t drive in and basically everything being inundated with tourists to the point where you couldn’t go anywhere. DL goes from 7,000 people in the winter to 25,000 in the summer and about 40,000 for the festivals. I kind of steered clear of it haha.

TMN: Can you give us just a little bit of insight as to what the creative and recording process for Half About Being a Woman was like?

CS: Well, I wrote all of these songs in about 4 months, one of which was spent in NYC. People like to think it was to get inspired by the music there, but it was mostly because of what I said above about New York. NYC is my magical place where I feel so independent and confident, I couldn’t think of a better place to write a record. I demo-ed every song, which is the first time I’ve ever done that, and worked with my producer, Jake Hanson, and my band, Jesse Schuster and Arlen Peiffer, on the songs before taking them into the studio with Brett Bullion. I loved being that prepared, knowing exactly what we were going to do, because it actually made more time for us to experiment with sounds and new parts. Honestly, it was probably the easiest record I’ve ever made. The songs were so easy to write, they came pouring out of me, and my team of people that I worked with were absolutely amazing.

TMN: Alright now, as much as we love to ask the usual suspects, it’s time to answer some fun stuff… What is one song or album on your music player of choice that you would be embarrassed about if your fans knew you owned it?

CS: Wayne Newton

TMN: When and what was the last record you purchased with real life money (EP, Single or LP)?

CS: Jade to The Max

TMN: Do you personally have any favorite new artists at the moment with whom you are influenced by or just grooving to?

CS: I’m writing for my new record so I try to steer clear of new music, so I’m not accidentally influenced, but a few months ago I was obviously bumping that new Beyonce very, very hard. Also, I think the best record of 2013 was definitely Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid/m.A.A.d. City

TMN: What was the last amazing live music experience you attended and who was accompanying you?

CS: The last show I went to go see as an actual fan was the D’Angelo and Questlove show at First Ave. I cried the entire time.

TMN: That is amazing, let’s stick on this music train. Do you have a favorite record store in the history of time, still operating or formerly in business?

CS: The Electric Fetus! And not only for hometown pride reasons. They just honestly have the best selection and just know how to do it right.

TMN: This is always one of our favorites as it says so much about a performer with only a simple response. What is your drink of choice while performing?

CS: Jameson on ice

TMN: On that note, if you could take only one shot (alcoholic or wheat grass up to you) with a deceased famous figure, who would it be and why?

CS: Frank Sinatra

TMN: And one more just for fun… If your current album Half About Being a Woman was a type of animal. What type of animal would that be?

CS: Haha I don’t know, something big and proud and cumbersome. Like a hippo.

TMN: Well Caroline, we’ve had a blast getting your responses to some of our questions and absolutely cannot wait for your first Denver performance in about two years this Friday! Good luck, we can’t wait to catch your show this weekend!

Related items::