Carly Binding…In the Spotlight

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Her hair style may change with every video, but Carly Binding will go for jeans and a t-shirt over designer threads any day. Carly talks to nzgirl editor Kate about music, relationships and her “gap years”….

“Passenger” was supposed to be released earlier in the year, how has that reflected on the album?
“I think it sounds better because we changed things around and were able to redo some vocals. We also rethought the artwork and the track listing. I wanted it (the artwork) to be young and vibrant, but also have a scrapbook/art house feel about it. It’s kind of got that 50’s thematic feel about it.”

We’ve heard the first three singles, what’s the rest of the album like?
“The album gets quite quiet and almost country and western – but more of a bluesy country sound. Some of it’s like the singles, and in places it gets quite 60’s sounding…there are many layers.”

Your hairstyle changes constantly, is that your trademark?
“I get very bored with my hair because I don’t like it very much. I look at it in an interview and I think, “Oh my God!” Half the time I think it looks like a big “bleargh” and I go and get it lightened or cut it.”

What’s your favourite song on the album?
“Not That Cold.” That was the last song I wrote for the album. I wrote it in September last year so maybe that’s why I like it. It’s more recent and more of the type of music I’m writing now.”

How are the media treating you this time round?
“Really good. I was prepared for the reviewers to not like it and to not get it because it is pop, but they’re really liked it. I don’t think this album is the pop that the rest of the world puts out…I think there is still something quite earthy about it. It’s not quite as polished and crystal as overseas stuff.”

Do you think your singing style has changed over the years?
“Oh yeah! I think the more you sing and the more you write the more you find out what your actual voice is. It’s quite easy to mask it or to try and make sounds, because people don’t really like the sound of their own voice – speaking, singing etc… – so they try and make it sound like something else. It’s better just to strip it back and learn what your voice is. You almost have to start from scratch and build character…”

What did you get up to in the “gap” years?
“I just lived and I worked full time on and off. I worked doing music advertising, and did the Blood Brother’s tour, and doing corporate videos…. I wrote songs and tried to get back to normal life and figure out who I was…which seems like a strange thing to say, but it was so when I did release the album and things happened I was ready for it. In Popstars it was a case of trying to be heard, so you step out of character; and I didn’t want that to happen again.”

What’s your fashion style?
“It used to be as much make up as possible to try and disguise what I looked like, or try to look like someone else, but now it’s more a case of fresh healthy skin, less is more, healthy hair, great shoes, jeans, t shirts – it’s comfortable.”

Do you spend a lot of money on your look?
“No, but that’s partly because I’ve had no money. In fact up until 6 months ago I had like, 3 pairs of shoes, but now I have a few more! I’d like to, but I have friends who do PR for different fashion labels, and I get to borrow stuff, which I think is great! I think that if you buy expensive clothes then they do go out of fashion and you have to keep on top of that. If you’re going to buy something, buy great jeans, great pants, a great jacket….”

What are you doing on a gig-less Friday night?
“I’m a real homebody. I don’t really like going out because I don’t drink, I don’t smoke – I gave up smoking at the end of last year because it ages you in every respect. I love making things and I get a little bit obsessed. A friend of mine has just bought a house and she’ll get an idea and I’ll say, “Right, let’s make it!”

I can see the interview title now…”Carly Binding….spends a lot of time at Spotlight.”
“I do! It’s such a good store…I love making things! I don’t believe in this fast culture thing that’s happening where if you want it, you go buy it…why not make it if you can?”

What’s the most extravagant thing you’ve ever bought?
“My guitar – it wasn’t that expensive, but it’s the most I’ve ever spent on anything. I knew what I was looking for because a friend of mine took me in, but I couldn’t find any that I liked. Then I found a Canadian guitar called Seagull – its low action, really girly sounding (that’s a strange thing to say isn’t it?) light and bright…and a camo strap that goes with my camo high-tops!”

What’s the best present someone’s ever given you?
“My boyfriend got me a little diamond cross – I wear it every day. I love it because for a guy to buy jewellery that’s really small and delicate – its not like a boy to go into a jewellery store and buy something…I love it! It was for my birthday in February, and he got me this little charm bracelet too. He’s a good boy!”

Tell me about your best friend…
“She’s a musician as well (…it’s Boh Runga), and she’s a magpie. She sees sparkly things and she wants them…so she’s the hunter, and I’m the collector. I’m the one who makes things out of it. She’ll have an idea to go find something and I’ll say, “Yes, that’s perfect, let’s make this out of it”. She’s always late and takes forever to get ready and absorbs time – and I’m always on time. We’re quite opposite in many ways, but we’re also quite similar.”

How long have you been friends?
“I’ve known her for about three years, but it’s only been the past year that we’ve started hanging out. I think she’s a lot like me in the fact that she’s a boy’s girl. She’s good at namby pambing – she’s definitely a girly girl – she always has beautiful hair, and beautiful skin, and always dresses perfectly and she’s completely stunning! She’s a sharp shooter though…she doesn’t beat around the bush, and that’s something I really like about her.”

Who would you like to date and what would you do?
“I reckon Chris Martin from Coldplay. He’s beautiful – he’s scruffy and beautiful looking, but he’s also quite articulate – you can tell he was never a cool jock. We’d probably go somewhere completely uncool like a theme park – Disneyland or something so you’re forced to act like a bit of a fool around each other.”

What are the biggest rebound dos and don’ts?
Don’t: if you want to get the boy back, don’t go and shag something else and start something off with somebody and become a blubbering idiot around your ex because he’s just going to think you’re a fool.

Don’t: pretend that you hate him, because if you tell them you hate them, they go, “She hates me”.

Don’t: Mistake a rebound fling to be the real think just because you’re lonely. It’s easier to close your eyes and make them wear your ex’s cologne and dress like them than to face reality. And don’t hurt a poor innocent young lad just because you can!

Do: Go and get your hair done…and buy a new pair of shoes.

Do: get a new hobby – something that makes you feel bettering yourself – get a pet or learn to play an instrument, or go to the gym – something that’s good for you.

Do: Not talk about it non-stop!

These are all things I’ve done you see!

What’s the art of keeping a partner then?
“There are so many things! It’s got to be the right person. You can’t live in each other’s pockets, you know, have separate lives…and if you’re going to take the relationship seriously and treat it as a long term thing, you have to realise that you’re going to have to live with this person, and you’re going to have to find a way of living around each other. This means not being possessive and not being jealous or wanting to know where they are all the time and TRUST on both sides. It’s not choosing people for superficial reasons…there’s got to be legitimate mystery and legitimate things in common.”

At this point we were distracted by a man prancing around the park across the road wearing a full Spiderman outfit…at 11am on a Thursday morning.

“Look! There is a man across the road, dressed like a superhero…special Spidey!”

“You’ve also got to have things that you don’t do around each other…like bathroom time – keep some things to yourself! You’ve got to retain some individual dignity. If you saturate each other, that’s when you start to get a bit niggly or a bit bitter – give each other a bit of space.”

So you’re quite good at giving advice then?
“I think it’s something that you learn for yourself…that’s the catch 22. It happens when you meet the right person…before that you do the most idiotic things that sabotage it.”

Carly Binding’s debut solo album, “Passenger” is in stores now.

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