Meet 'queer dream pop' trio Carolyn's Fingers: Carmen (she/her – guitar, beats, voice), Jess (she/her – main voice, bass, beats) and Chess (they/them – synth, voice). They've just released their first single, 'Her Howl', which they recorded and produced totally DIY – and it's lush. They kindly agreed to tell us all about their lovely selves!
We’ve been playing together for about two years now in other bands, but only started Carolyn’s Fingers in April 2017. The name of the band is a reference to a Cocteau Twins song, as they were one of our first main influences, along with FKA Twigs, Frank Ocean, Kelela, Grimes, Siouxsie and the Banshees.
We met at Cambridge whilst studying our PhDs, and we are really really close friends, we spend about 80% of the day messaging. CF has only made us come closer – every time we do a song, we sit for hours talking about exactly what each part means to us, we take it very seriously, ha! We are all queer, and so queer love features a lot in our songs, as well as things like mental health.
‘Her Howl’ is a song about depression – but it is a hopeful song. It is about how difficult it can be to walk that line between mania and depression, and about how hard it is to try and find a different, less destructive way of doing things. Each part of the song sort of goes through a different but related state of mind when you find yourself feeling dark. All three of us have had dark periods in our lives, and all three of us have been lucky enough to have a great support network around us to help us through those times – this is why it’s hopeful, and what we want to transmit to people.
Before April we were playing with a drummer and bass player, so it was all acoustic. In April we decided to do electronic beats and downloaded Ableton for the first time. Since then, we have just learned how to do everything ourselves on Ableton, and DIY recording and producing is sort of the last step! Also, we had a disappointing experience once in a recording studio. So we built recording booths in our bedrooms – pillow/blanket castles inside wardrobes and using drying racks, ha! And learned how to position everything properly, how to sound insulate, which mics to get, etc. DIY recording has allowed us to make the music we really wanted to, adding little extra recorded details and layers everywhere.
Once all the recording was finished, we also then produced the track ourselves. For ‘Her Howl’, the production was mostly down to me (Jess, though Carmen also did amazing work EQing guitars). This is the first track I’ve ever produced and it took 60+ hours – no joke! Most of it was trial and error. I watched a few videos on EQing and then got stuck in. The most helpful thing I think I did was to listen to loads of other well-produced music and try and work out what was happening and how certain things had been achieved. These days every time I listen to a new album I feel like I learn something new! For a first ever foray into production I’m really pleased with how the track turned out and I can’t wait to get going with our next track!
Find Carolyn's Fingers on Facebook or Soundcloud