This summer, NYS Music premiered the song “Idaho” from Carpool’s debut album. I Think Everyone’s A Cop came out on September 13. The Western NY alternative rock band’s songs contain catchy hooks, emotionally-charged lyrics, mathy riffs, and plenty of guitar pedal effects.
Carpool weaves together elements from various alt rock sub-genres, which gives them broad appeal. Over the past few years, they’ve opened for a diverse array of national touring acts like Microwave (alternative rock), Tiny Moving Parts (math rock), Roswell Kid (pop punk), and Fossil Youth (Midwest emo).
Carpool is made of Rochester natives Chris Colasanto (lead vocals/guitar), Blake Weissinger (bass/vocals), Tommy Eckerson (guitar/vocals), and Juan Ortiz (drums). NYS Music sat down with Colasanto to talk about gear, the album, and the Buffalo scene.
Paula Cummings: Why the name Carpool?
Chris Colasanto: We originally started as Eyes Wide Shut. It sounded pretentious. So we changed the name to Carpool. It’s about hanging out and sharing good times with your buddies. We actually released an EP, Absolute Loss, under Eyes Wide Shut. It was more straight shoegaze. Carpool is more punky-emo. It’s cutesy – punk, but fun.
PC: Was this your first time in the studio?
CC: This was the first time going into a legit studio. We banged it out in four days, 12-hour long days. It’s different from what we used to do. Sometimes we were recording in a bathroom on someone’s computer using Audacity or GarageBand.
PC: Why did you go with the studio you chose?
CC: We went with RJ DeMarco at Skyway Studios. Our friends in Ghostpool dropped an EP and we absolutely loved it. We messaged them, and they said to go to RJ. We weren’t pressured, but it felt like everyone was lighting a fire under our asses do our best. We fell in love with Buffalo. It’s why we decided to move here. We visited before, but this was different. We now live in the house we stayed at while we were recording. Everything fell into place nicely.
PC: What’s the Buffalo scene like?
CC: Everyone in Buffalo comes out to shows – they go hardcore and support the scene. The demographic is all over. Our last show was at Milkie’s and there were kids, parents, grandparents.
PC: Tell me about the album.
CC: We started writing a year ago. The whole thing is about complacency, substance abuse and relationships – like you’re stuck in a stagnant state of molasses.
PC: I like that, “a stagnant state of molasses.” Your lyrics have interesting ways of turning a phrase.
CC: We were very conscious of the lyrics this time. We wanted to write songs that everyone likes, that everyone can dance to, but the undertone has more to it. Some of the lyrics are very tongue-in-cheek and quirky. I feel it’s relatable because of those quirks. It’s honest, maybe a little too honest at times.
PC: Tell me about the gear you used in the studio to create your sound.
CC: Me and Tommy used my Roland JC120 amp from 1983. It’s awesome, it’s my baby. We used my pedal set-up, primarily Adventure Audio pedals (they’re from Rochester), and Electro-Harmonix and EarthQuaker Devices. Sometimes I get pretty obnoxious with the pedal effects, but it’s fun. Tommy added a BigSky Reverb that added layers and depth – a lot of wet noise. Blake used his Jazz Bass, and he used my Adventure Audio Pedals. It ripped. And we have Juan Ortiz on drums – he’s the man, amazing as always.
PC: Final question… What would you each sing if you were on Carpool Karaoke?
CC: Me and Blake would do a duet of “Picture” by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock. Tommy would do trap rap – “Gucci Gang.” And Juan would do a full 21 Pilots album.
Purchase I Think Everyone’s A Cop digitally on Bandcamp. Physical copies will be available soon through Syracuse indie label Nothing Feels Good Records. Catch Carpool at Mohawk Place on October 13 with Culture Abuse, Gouge Away, Worse Things, and GOA, or on November 8 with Taking Meds, Teenage Halloween, and Movershaker. Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for upcoming shows and news.