Band of the Day: Ask Carol

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

We are from a small place in the Norwegian mountains called Auma. About 150 people live there, and the nearest “big” city, Trondheim, is a 2.5 hour drive away.

How did you meet?

We, Ask and Carol, the two members of Ask Carol, became friends right after high school, when studying music in southern Norway. We met at the “Folke-high school” Agder FHS, in Søgne, Norway.

How long have you been playing as a band?

We were always talking about starting a band, but it would take about 7 years after we first met before we finally went through with the idea. The summer of 2015 we stayed at a cabin in the Norwegian mountains, with no electricity and no water, far away from people and civilization, only a few sheep outside the windows. That’s where our first songs were made, and where the seed to what would become Ask Carol started. One more year went by before we started for real, and Ask Carol was officially born, in 2016. Our first concert ever was at a small blues club in Seoul, South Korea, called Strange Fruit. At that point, Carol was already a somewhat known guitarist-for-hire in the Oslo music scene, and had never ever sung in front of people before, or at all for that matter. That’s why we wanted to try out our music and hold our first concerts far away from our hometown.

Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?

After thinking hard and long about the band name, with many pretty good suggestions, we ended up with the simple band name Ask Carol, the first names of our two members, Ask and Carol, put together. Ask is a real Norwegian name, coming from Norse Mythology, the Viking religion; Ask was the first human being, created by the God Odin, out of a piece of Ash-wood. You can read all about that story on Wikipedia.

What are your influences?

We have many common influences, like 70s rock, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and one of our biggest guitar idols, Jimi Hendrix. Also the grunge era (Nirvana and more) is a big influence. Both of us also have our own things, with Ask’s favorite band being The Clash, and Carol’s idols Lauryn Hill and Norah Jones.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

Our style is a mix of different genres, but we like to call it grungy alt-pop rock. Usually we sound a little more rough live than on the records, with more of our rock influences shining through live. We like so much different music, and different genres, and we believe by blending them we can create something a little bit new. Being only two, playing almost all instruments live on stage, our live-style is multitasking, with both of us often playing two instruments at a time, maybe even more. For bigger concerts/stages we use either a third person or a little bit of tracks to fill in.

Do you have any particular lyrical themes?

More often than not, the songs tend to be about going your own way and doing things without caring what others think, the haters and stuff. Usually we don’t think too much about exactly what the songs should be about, and instead let it come to us naturally.

What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?

As of now we have done around 70 concerts, but we have focused more on recording and writing material the last year. In 2020 we will get a lot more touring done. We’re always working to improve our live show, and in 2020 we plan to unveil a new and more coherent show. It’s exciting times, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with the world!

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?

The wildest we’ve seen on a live show must be our first concert in the Philippines. We were scheduled to just do a short appearance on this Valentines day event thing in Manila, and we thought it would be a small venue and a few people. When we got there it was this huge open air auditorium! We though no way this is gonna fill up… no one was there, so we went backstage and waited. When it was a few minutes left before our slot, we had a glimpse outside, and wow, shocked we saw that it was actually full, probably around 1500 people! People were even waiting outside! That was wild, and I guess in the Philippines anything could happen!

What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?

Carol uses a Gibson Les Paul, sometimes a Fernandes, and Ask uses a Fender Strat. We also have lots of other gear, guitar effects, midi-keyboards, drums, drum pads etc.

What are your plans for 2020?

We are currently recording songs for our upcoming album, scheduled for release sometime around summer next year (2020). There will also be a couple of new singles coming after new years, following on from our last single, “Shining Bright”, released in November. We’re also working on some videos and some new merch-designs that will be coming next year.

In February we are planning a tour to the Philippines, where we have big following thanks to Carol being half Filipino, and having toured there before. We also plan on doing a small tour in the UK and Germany in the coming spring, and a US tour later in 2020. If you like rock, punk or alternative, and don’t mind a little soul and pop thrown in there, you should be there! Hope to see you then!

Oh, and we’re working on setting up a webshop for our merch. It was so popular at the shows, so we thought it would be a good idea to get something online too. As an independent DIY band we are doing everything ourselves though, so it might not be ready before New Years… But we promise to get it ready soon!

If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!

We’d love to do support for The Kills, Black Keys or Twenty One Pilots! They’re fellow duos, and sort of similar music. To open we’d choose a British artist called Lion. We saw her live at both the SXSW Festival and Reeperbahn Festival, she’s great.

Ask Carol: officialfacebook | twitter | instagram | youtube | spotify

Header image by Renate Madsen

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