Stephanie talked with London based but now residents of LA band, Charming Liars. Check out her interview with the band as well as their new single for "Like A Drug"
I don’t even know where to begin to describe the way that CHARMING LIARS have re-energized my love for music. This alluring, ambience driven, captivating band that hails from London but now resides in the good ol’ music world of Los Angeles has made pure raw and honest music that really spoke to me on so many levels and moved me through all levels of emotion. A band that is doing their job by making you feel various emotions with the music they create.
I was first introduced to the band by way of the current single LIKE A DRUG. Its sexy, it’s haunting, it’s thought provoking and can we talk about the sensual sway of vocalist Kiliyan Maguire. This guy can lure you in by just saying hello! The music created a little 30 Seconds to Mars and Muse vibe for me. Tons of melody, and a chorus that will have you singing for days.
But not only is the new single a total demand in your play list, but so is the whole collection of songs these guys have put together. I was so sold on one track called NAKED, which came off the bands 2015 DELETE. REPEAT. It has the right amount of sass, allure and mystical prettiness! Then in 2016 an EP called 12:31 AM came out and brought you the beautiful quality in SOUL. Showcasing that perfect vocal sound, uplifting, positive and the catchiest melody. I could go on for days about all the other tracks that jump out at you but I am sure you want to learn about the band instead of hearing my opinion. As you can see I am hooked on this three-piece band.
With an icon like Sir Elton John as a fan, you have to believe that the band’s future looks very bright. I feel like with the right steps and a bit of luck CHARMING LIARS are going to be making huge strides going into 2019. But for right now the guys are finishing up the new full-length record, getting ready to hit the road and just doing what they do best: making perfect music for a scene I feel could use refreshing.
I had the privilege to ask guitarist Karnig Manoukian a few questions about how the band started, the new single LIKE A DRUG, how it is to have Elton John as a fan, producer/songwriter John Feldmann and tour life.
Charming Liars is:
Kiliyan Maguire - Vocals
Karnig Manoukian - Guitar, Production
Mike Kruger - Bass
FIRST OFF - I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!
Can you let us know how Charming Liars formed and what was your vision for the band when you started? Has that vision changed in anyway?
We formed back in England many years ago actually. Myself and Mike have been playing guitar and bass together for a long time ☺. Our vision back then and our vision to this day is to still make music that transcends every culture and to ultimately make music listeners feel something. We also always stated that arenas are where we have to be – we’re still set on achieving that!
You guys are originally from London but made the move to Los Angeles in 2013. What did you think London was missing that LA could give to you and has that been fulfilled for you?
Initially it was literally interest. We had several music industry folks that were interested in us and that was more than we could say for the UK. We came out for a couple of weeks and realized it was the place to push from. In many ways we’ve made huge strides and we also have so much more to accomplish.
John Feldmann has been a name in the past year that has come up with some of my new favorite bands and I see he encouraged you early on. What was it that started the interest with him and have you been able to sit and write with him? If so, how has that meeting changed you guys as a band?
We messaged him on Social Media and he actually responded back to us – to our surprise! From there he got us out to California and secured a demo deal with Warner Brothers for us to record 3 songs. We co-wrote and he produced those 3 tracks. In the end nothing came of it, but it was a great experience.
Another Icon - Sir Elton John - has had an impact on your band. How does it feel top have someone of that standing be a fan of your work and how was it covering one of his songs knowing he would be listening?
Elton John is an icon and he is also a huge fan of new music. For him to play our music on his Beats 1 radio show means a huge amount. It’s so exciting each and every time he does it!! When it came to doing a cover, so many people had to told us to cover his music - it only made sense to take one of his catchiest tunes and strip it down our way. The end product is something we’re all very proud of and we get a lot of Elton’s fans reaching out to us because of it.
For me listening to your music, I hear different bands other then what is listed as your influences. I find more of a Muse, 30 Seconds of Mars and Depeche Mode vibe. When you guys are writing how do you go about it and how much do your influences affect the outcome of a song?
Our process is really one without boundaries. We all subconsciously have certain limits, so we know what to attempt and what not to attempt but we really try and excite ourselves. Those bands you listed are the best in the world and we hope to soon play alongside them. When it comes to writing, the song usually starts from a lyric, guitar riff, melody or idea and we take it from there. We also experiment with different atmospheric noises and pads and that can really inspire us to do something progressive.
I just recently discovered Charming Liars, and your music has really made an impact on my life from the words to music; because I feel like you write from a real raw, honest, and emotional state of mind. How do you feel when someone says that to you and how important do you feel being honest in your lyrics and music is to a potential fan?
It’s a huge honor for you to say that and we really appreciate it. Kiliyan definitely takes that standpoint when it comes to lyrics. He tries to either tell an autobiographical story or he tells the story or emotion of someone very close to him. The mission statement (if I can say that) of the band is to make a difference. Whether it makes someone move or cry or sing along, it needs to make a difference. I think if that’s the case - then the lyrics (and the music) have to be organic and from an honest place.
A couple of your songs that stood out for me I wanted to get some insight on:
What inspired that song?
I think the art of being…. Naked, haha! It’s pretty simple with that one and that’s definitely one of the raunchier ones ☺
What is your favorite thing about the song?
I’d have to say the epic nature of that chorus vocal. It reminds a bit of 30 Seconds to Mars and also hints at Angels and Airwaves
Would you change anything about it now?
One or two things… but I can’t tell you what!
What is that main theme of that song?
I think it’s another one of those self-explanatory ones. We loved playing it live because of that big riff and people seem to always move when that first chorus drops.
Musically - what came first – the lyrics or the music – when you were writing the song?
I’m trying to think back. I think it was definitely the music. I had that riff laying around and I decided to record it and then I wanted to add some really dark soundscapes. Putting the two together was the next step and then it was a no- brainer.
LIKE A DRUG
How have you grown with this song as a band from your beginnings to now having this as your new single?
It’s definitely our most progressive single in terms of pushing the boundaries of sound, feel and lyric. I think when people look back, they’ll see a big difference in the band from “DELETE.REPEAT” and everything afterwards. We definitely grew on “12.31” but ultimately, we are exactly where we want to be with this new full-length record. LIKE A DRUG and INSOMNIA both have that dark element to them but they also make you want to sing along and move. There are instruments on LIKE A DRUG that we’ve never used before (such as the horns in the chorus) and that’s definitely a sign of our growth and maturity. It’s also a sign that we’re trying to modernize our foundation as an Alternative rock band. We love having guitar riffs and big guitars but we’re at a point now where we find it even more interesting and exciting to take those guitars and turn them into….. pianos …. Or horns…. Or bass synths. We’re not getting rid of the guitars – we’re just having other instruments come in their place and in doing so we’ve actually spent more time on making sure that the guitar parts that we DO have are impactful and necessary.
What is one thing lyrically and musically you want to tell your fans about the writing of “Like A Drug”?
The message of the song is clear – We’re describing a personal relationship and comparing and relating the toxic love they have for each other to the addiction that a drug might hold over someone.
Will you have a full-length album out in 2018? If yes do you have a release date and a title yet for the album?
We definitely will have the full-length album out this year! It’s happening and we can’t wait for people to hear it. We have several titles floating about but we won’t lock one in until the very last moment. Regarding release date, somewhere in the autumn / fall.
You will be out on the road with Welshly Arms and Grandson in the fall. Any other touring plans you can tell us about?
We’re hoping to get out on the road in July. Nothing we can confirm as of now, but fingers crossed. After that, we’re very excited to hit the road with Welshly Arms and Grandson in September and October. Following that, we will be doing some festivals and shows in Mexico and then we should end the year out with some more shows in the states.
What’s your Favorite thing about touring?
Firstly, playing to new faces and making new fans. That interaction is like no other ☺ Secondly, my personal favorite thing is eating in a different city every day.
How do you stay healthy on the road?
We don’t…… it’s a problem
Your go to stage clothes?
Depends on who you’re asking but I personally have a black outerwear jacket option, a long black or dark grey t-shirt option and then either black skinny jeans or my own personal soft pants that are kind of in between leggings and jeans. Perfect for the stage because it gets really hot up there and movement is key!!
Please tell us two things about each of your band members that people may be surprised to know?
Kiliyan is an avid reader and he comes in with a new book every week. Blows my mind. He also is one of the best vocal coaches in LA. Mike (bass) only eats McDonalds, Mac and Cheese and Ketchup. He’s also a very in demand photographer
Any last comments?
I think we covered it all, Thank You Stephanie!!!! Check out all of our tour dates, music, videos, merch and general news online at our socials. Hope to see everyone out on the road!
Charming Liars – Upcoming Tour Dates
Date Venue City Notes
Tue 9/25/2018 Record Bar Kansas City, MO w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Wed 9/26/2018 7th Street Entry Minneapolis, MN w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Fri 9/28/2018 The Hi FI Indianapolis, IN w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Sun 9/30/2018 Magic Stick Detroit, MI w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Tue 10/2/2018 Velvet Underground Toronto, ON w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Wed 10/3/2018 Brighton Music Hall Boston, MA w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Thu 10/4/2018 Music Hall Brooklyn, NY w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Sat 10/6/2018 The Foundry Philadelphia, PA w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Sun 10/7/2018 Union Stage Washington, DC w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Tue 10/9/2018 Visulite Theatre Charlotte, NC w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Wed 10/10/2018 Exit/In Nashville, TN w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Fri 10/12/2018 Vinyl ATL Atlanta, GA w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Sat 10/13/2018 The Parish New Orleans, LA w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons