Charly Bliss: “I Just Hope That Our Music Makes People Feel Really Strong”

We spoke to Charly Bliss about ditching their grunge roots, staying healthy on tour and empowerment.

Charly Bliss: “I Just Hope That Our Music Makes People Feel Really Strong”

By Ashwin Bhandari

Jun 6, 2019 16:22

Ahead of their headline show at The Garage in London, Charly Bliss are brimming with anticipation to show off their latest album in full, along with plenty of fan favorites. Their debut record 'Guppy' was initially meant to be released in 2015, however on reflection, it made more sense to re-record with a more pop-centric focus to their material. This drastic change in musical direction paid off nicely, adding to the youthful Brooklyn group's previous success of getting share stages with the likes PUP,  Death Cab For Cutie, Diet Cig and plenty of well-deserved international hype.

On top of unleashing their love of pop, ‘ Young Enough’ ventures further into being influenced by 80’s radio bangers, Chvrches and Lorde than anything remotely grunge related. They have also transitioned from college graduates to full time touring musicians. “We all had day jobs when we were writing ‘Guppy’, so the biggest change was that when we were writing we had the ability to purely focus 100% on the music,” frontwoman Eva Hendricks explains.

Teaming up with critically acclaimed rock producer Joe Chiccarelli, this gave Charly Bliss a chance to experiment and tweak their formula – a huge contrast to recording ‘Guppy’ in a mere four days.

“We were like; ‘Oh my god we have all of this extra time and we had no idea what to do with it. So naturally Joe pushed us incredibly hard and we were averaging recording about two songs a day, just instrumentals. By the end of the two weeks, we had done instrumentals for the majority of the tracks, and then we did ‘Heaven’ which was not going to be recorded, ‘Hurt Me’, and ‘Fighting In The Dark’. We did another week of vocals and then went back to LA. Basically, it took a really long time, up to about a month. ”

As well as Eva Hendricks recently appearing on PUP’s ‘Free At Last’, both bands have been open with their unconditional love for their fans, relentless touring and finding joy in the curve balls that life throws at us. Their Canadian tour manager got them in touch fairly early on in their careers and have been close ever since.

“It was amazing,” says guitarist Spencer Fox. “We were first, Rozwell Kid 2nd, PUP headlining. It was only West Coast pretty much but it was unbelievable. We hit it off with them and they are the nicest people of all time, they really care about their fans and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.”

More than ever with touring bands, the concept of overindulgence on tour with the rock & roll lifestyle is something that younger bands are veering away from. Damaging your body through months and months of being on tour can have dire consequences for not only yourself but for everyone else involved with your music.  Thankfully Charly Bliss have a few tricks up their sleeves to ensure they can be in top shape on the road.

Armed with a curious green smoothie and a tour manager who Eva describes as “a unicorn as well as a mom”, taking care of yourself on the road is crucial with bands who are away from home for long stretches of time. Guitarist Spencer Fox, in particular, bulk buys from Whole Foods before their tours. Once they’re on road, they make sure to check out local food spots to make the most of where they are.

As Eva points out; “It’s just learning to pay attention to your body. I think like when we first started touring I was 20, so when you’re that age it is easy for your body to ignore its wants and needs. When I’m on tour I kind of think of myself as a baby, so I try and take really good care of myself. ”

As well as the Hendricks siblings being heavily into musical theatre as kids, bassist Dan Shure ended up ditching directing off-broadway musicals to join Charly Bliss in 2014. “One of our favorite all-time songs from a musical is Maybe This Time from Cabaret, it’s a ‘break your heart’ kind of song. It’s hard because I like every musical ever. We listen to Wicked sometimes. Camp Rock counts as a musical right?”

With ‘Guppy’, a big theme of the record was about snarkily fighting back against toxic people. In-between that time and now however, the #metoo campaign has given abuse survivors a global platform to speak more openly about their experiences in the hope that what they went through doesn’t happen to anyone else. There isn’t a specific guideline on how it should be addressed as everyone’s circumstances are different. However, Charly Bliss want their to break the silence and stigma through positivity and triumph, that what happens to abuse survivors dosen’t define their entire lives.

“I just hope that our music and specifically this record makes people feel really strong. I think so much of deciding to talk about the subject matter was very difficult for me and something I went back and forth a lot about, ultimately it was something that made me feel really connected to other people and strong.”

“The great thing about everyone knowing what songs like ‘Chatroom’ are about is that when we perform them now, the connection that we feel with the audience is really special and kind of magical.

Our audience know that it might be hard to come forward and then they come back with a tremendous amount of love and support. I feel really privileged that we have the fans that we do. I think that anyone can relate to knowing someone who is very manipulative, takes advantage of you.

I think that even if you haven’t directly experienced assault or abuse, those types of relationships are common and people who really don’t treat you well. It’s powerful for me to listen to songs about cutting out toxic people from your life, especially when you’re a people pleaser. It’s a very powerful lesson to learn.”

‘Young Enough’ is out now via Barsuk Records.