Presenting to you today an interview from Marquette, MI based emo rockers Charmer. The guys have a straightforward, emo vibe to them similar to their contemporaries Brand New, but with a more modern sophistication to them that puts them in a class all their own. Drummer Nick Erickson was nice enough to take some time out as we find out more about the gents, their beginnings in suburban Michigan, what the music scene is like there, how they feel about the "Emo" tag, their experiences recording their latest album, and where they see themselves moving forward. Here is the transcript from our chat:
Give us your names and roles in the band? My name is Nick and I play drums. Describe the band’s formation and how you all met? I was actually not in the band initially. But I was able to convince Charmer to play their first show because the band I was in at the time had to drop a gig and I needed to find someone to fill in for us. I asked Dave (Charmer guitar/vocals) if his new band could play, so he quickly named it Charmer and they played the show. That show is where he met Neil (Charmer guitar) and that led to the current incarnation of the band. I joined a little over a year ago. Take us behind your musical influences and how they help shape the sound of the group? I am influences by all sorts of music and I am always trying to play with as many different people as I can so I can always be learning something and not just get bored with one style. I wouldn’t say I ever adhere to one style, but I am particularly into the current Dutch black metal scene, the east coast screamo of the early 2000’s, Chicago noise rock and punk from the 90’s on, and the 90’s Midwest emo scene. What is the music scene like in Michigan and did you find a lot of opportunities to play shows while getting started? We are a little isolated from the Michigan scene in general just due to our location. It’s a 7 hour drive to Detroit and there isn’t a whole lot in between. We usually end up setting up shows ourselves up here in Marquette and that’s pretty much always been the case. It is always nice to get asked to play shows in Lower Michigan, but we can’t do it as frequently as most bands just due to our location. Our scene in the Upper Peninsula has always been awesome because there aren’t enough bands for a specific scene to form so everyone is doing something different. A lot of local shows are mixed genre bills, which I think is awesome.
How would you define “emo” or is it just a label like all of the other genres?
I know there is a lot of debate about the term, but I always reference the Christie Front Drive / Boy’s Life split. There’s a lot of emotion on that record and it’s coming from the guitars. The vocals are great too, but emo has never been lyrical to me. It’s just punk rock with a different energy, and with that record especially the emotional aspect is just so strong. I would really say the same thing about either of those two band’s other releases, or bands like Texas is the Reason and the Van Pelt. Let’s go behind the recording of your new self-titled album and what was the whole process like? The process was pretty comfortable compared to a lot of other recording I’ve done. Jake Ewald is such a nice dude, it was really easy to work with him and I don’t think we would’ve wanted to do it with anyone else. Most of the songs were fully formed when we went in so we were able to do it all pretty quickly. We recorded some the vocals and overdubs after we left the studio and Jake did a great job mixing all of that in to what we did in his studio. Overall we are happy with the result. What is your favorite song off the new effort that you’re most proud of? Personally I would say “Topanga Lawrence” because I love the lead riff that Neil came up with and the whole song just came together so naturally when we were demoing songs for the record. There’s also the added touch of trumpet at the end thanks to Dave’s younger brother Grant. What’s coming up next for you guys, any shows planned around the Boston area in the near future? Up next is a roughly two-week tour of the Midwest. We hope to play in Boston very soon! We were definitely sad to miss playing there on our last East Coast tour. How can people find out more info about you online? We are in all the usual places. Most active on Instagram, and our music is on Bandcamp, Spotify, etc… and soon you’ll be able to buy a record!
Lastly, how has being in this band changed your life? The biggest change is that I get to travel more. I was friends with the rest of the band before, but now we are all closer friends so that has been really cool too!
Thanks once again to Nick for being so rad in doing this interview. Seeing how Charmer got started from the ground up, you really begin to develop a deeper appreciation for bands who have developed a DIY work aesthetic to their DNA that makes them so much more unique for admiring their craft, and the journey that got them to where they are right now. For more on Charmer, please 'Like' them on Facebook from over here,