Following on from a string of bold and powerful offerings these last few years, Norwegian duo Ask Carol have now returned to deliver their latest upbeat release 'Do It In LA'.
Described "as if Blondie had a kid with Paramore", 'Do It In LA' makes for a wonderfully bright and euphoric return for the group. Filled with anthemic production, catchy hooks, and a brilliant singalong chorus, their newest delight looks set to see them take on the world in the months to come.
So with their new single available now, we sat down with them to find out more about their background and what has inspired them most over the years.
What were the first instruments you fell in love with?
We are both guitarists at heart, that’s what we started with, and fell in love with, and that’s our main instrument.
Ask: My first real guitar was a Fender Mexico 60th Anniversary Strat, silver. It is very nice, very good to play. It was a cheap guitar, and you can kind of hear that, but I still like it very much. This one is still my main (only actually) electric guitar.
Carol: My first guitar was a Fernandes Vertigo H80, with a Pewter finish. I bought it with my confirmation money when I was 15. The happiest day of my life. Couldn't stop smiling for a month at least.
What has been the most prominent inspiration behind your music so far?
We are both inspired by so many different things. A few of our biggest common inspirations are Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd, which I think you can really hear in our music. In addition to that, Ask is very influenced by The Clash, and Carol draws inspiration from amongst others, Norah Jones and Lauryn Hill.
Ask: I remember reading the biography of The Clash, about when they started out in London, and it really inspired me, so I picked up my mums old guitar and started making a little sound. That was where it all started, and it snowballed from there on, and well, now we’re here.
Carol: I’ve been surrounded by music since before birth. My dad put headphones on mum's belly when she was pregnant. Haha. But my first memory was/is probably of my dad playing “The Stones” or Deep Purple and my mum ABBA or something on vinyl records. I’ve been super interested in music since I was very young, but when I saw the movie “Sister act 2” with Lauryn Hill (when I was maybe seven), I knew I wanted to sing, but it took me almost twenty years to actually do it. I fell in love with the sound and the looks of the guitar about the same time, but that was also a long process. I bought my first guitar when I was 15, super inspired by the grunge era. You can say I’m a late bloomer.
What kind of music did you love as teenagers?
Ask: I really loved The Clash, that was my favourite band back then, and still is one of my favourites. They are great! As a teenager my taste was more narrow than now, but I really loved 70s rock too, like Pink Floyd, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.
Carol: In my teenage years I loved Nirvana, still love them. And same as Ask I listened to a lot of music from the 70s. Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix. I also loved Lauryn Hill and the Fugees.
What inspires you to make music?
We get inspired by, amongst many other things, traveling and touring. We also get inspired by hearing new music or discovering old music we haven’t heard. A place that has inspired us a lot in the past has been Carol’s cabin, high in the Norwegian mountains. There is no electricity and no water, so it’s a very old school way of life. And no internet. That means less distraction, and room for inspiration. The inspiration might always be there, but with all the constant impressions and distractions from the internet there is just no room for it. That is where we wrote our first songs as Ask Carol, in that cabin.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
The last few days we have been listening a bit to The Black Keys. That’s because we have been very focused on mixing our new single, and we needed a reference which sounds kind of similar and has a very good, professional sound. They might not be our favourites, but The Black Keys are awesome. So we ended up listening mostly to them (and our song that we were mixing obviously) these last few days.
How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?
Well, we haven’t actually written about any specific people in our songs. Of course, sometimes we think about someone in certain «scenes», but none of the songs are specifically written about someone. Sometimes if a song makes us think of someone, that comes after actually having written the song. Maybe we unconsciously thought of that person, but didn’t realise until afterwards.
What has been the funniest moment in your career so far?
There have been many funny and weird moments. To mention a couple, that one time we were asked to come on stage and speak at the LA Times book festival was very funny, and not expected at all. Afterwards we were both thinking «wtf just happened?», haha. And another time, on our Filipino Tour, when we had a TV appearance on a local Manila TV station, EuroTV, and the boss invited us home for some cognac (before the show), that was also so much fun!
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
Oh, there’s many! But one is The Kills, cause we believe those who would go to a concert with The Kills are people with a good potential to like our music too. And The Kills is a great band, a duo like us.
If you weren’t musicians, what other path do you think you might have taken?
Ask did study architecture for a year some time ago, might have ended up as that. Carol could have been a top level football player, if she had had the discipline as a teenager when the talent scouts told her she had the potential. But music was more important, so that was the reason the discipline wasn’t there. It just wasn’t the right thing.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as musicians?
Never sign a contract you don’t fully understand. That’s some good advice we got some time ago. If you do, you could be in real trouble down the line.
Ask Carol's new single 'Do It In LA' is out now. Watch the new video for it in the player below.