Interview: Puscifer

lauren stern speaks with carina round of puscifer, one of the many bands of tool frontman maynard james keenan…

British singer/song-writer Carina Round started making music at an early age and since then has been making quite a name for herself. Since her first album First Blood Mystery was released in 2001, she has worked with many artists including: The Twilight Singers, Smashing Pumpkins, and Brian Eno. In the fall of 2009, Round became a touring member of Puscifer, Maynard James Keenan of Tool’s solo project. She also worked on Puscifer’s latest album “Conditions of my Parole” and occasionally is the opening act for Puscifer’s live performances.

On May 1, Carina released a fantastic new solo album called Tigermending. I spoke to her about this new album, her involvement with Puscifer, and her 2012 touring plans.

Oh, and make sure to catch Carina open and play alongside Puscifer live at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, N.J. on June 16th!

Photo Credit: Tim Cadiente

Pop-Break: For first time listeners, how would you describe your music to people?

Carina Round: A lot of people call it indie rock but there’s a lot that comes under that umbrella. So this record, in particular, there’s a lot of production and a lot of it can be really off but it can also be very raw. It’s dark, I like to keep this sense of hope. It’s really melodic but also really has a lot of lyrical content.

PB: I read somewhere that there’s some sort of inspiration or influence for the new album from a painting. Can you go into this further?

Carina Round. Photo Credit: Kristin Burns

CR: The title Tigermending came from a painting by an artist called Amy Cutler who is based in New York and I saw the painting many years ago called “Tigermending” and I was just really moved by it. Not to the point where I was like “Oh I’m going to name my album that,” but just really moved by the image. It’s these women just sitting around with these huge tigers just draped over them. There’s no suggestion of how the situation came about. I don’t know, it just touched me, it moved me. Years later when I was trying to think of a name for my record, for some reason that image connected with me regarding how the songs fell.

PB: Did the painting have any influence on the songs as well?

CR: No not at all.

PB: Who are some of your biggest influences musically?

CR: From when I was a kid, I was really was influenced by the first Roxy Music record. Um, obviously Led Zeppelin, Patti Smith, Nina Simone, all that kind of stuff. Bob Dylan, you know, obvious things. I’ve been listening to a girl, Laura Veirs, she’s really inspiring to me, she’s actually where I’m on my way to right now.

PB: Why did you decide to get involved with Puscifer?

PB: While I was making The Things You Should Know EP I got an e-mail from Matt Mitchell who is I guess the manager of the band, wanting to know if I would be interested in being a part of the live line-up of Puscifer. I listened to the record and loved it.

PB: What is the distinction between Puscifer and Keenan’s other groups Tool and A Perfect Circle?

CR: The music is completely different. Puscifer is not a joint venture with anyone else, it’s really his thing. If you really wanted to know the real differences and where he is coming from, you’d have to ask him.

PB: Let’s talk about your experience with the Twilight Singers. How did you get involved with their album and what was it like working with them?

CR: Working with Greg (Dulli, also of the Afghan Whigs) was awesome. I actually met him through a mutual friend who I met through Billy Corgan. I didn’t know this friend when I went on tour with the Twilight Singers. Greg also knew him and I went over to his house one time and Greg was there and they were making the Twilight Singer’s record. I had a connection with Greg for a while and while I was there he just asked me to sing on the record and I did.

PB: That’s awesome!

CR: Yeah it is pretty awesome. He’s great, he’s really sweet. I met him a few years ago, it was actually through his girlfriend at the time. He was really into The Disconnection and put it on his iPod and through hearing it on a car radio he wanted me to open for them in the UK and that’s how I first worked with him.

PB: You have worked and toured with a lot of great acts. Is there anyone you haven’t worked with that you would like to work with in the future, if so who?

CR: Woah. I mean probably a million people. I’d really love to work with Queens of the Stone Age. I was just listening to them, I would love to work with them. Jack White, same thing.

Photo Credit: Tim Cadiente

PB: That would be a really cool collaboration if you and Jack White worked together.

CR: It would be really fun! Obviously, Thom Yorke, but wouldn’t everyone like to work with that guy?

PB: Yeah, pretty much.

CR: Yeah, there’s too many to mention but those are the three that come to mind right now.

PB: What are your plans for the rest of this year?

CR: I’m on tour right now doing the headline shows for this record and then I’m going back out with Puscifer in June, for the whole month of June. July I’m going to be doing some more headlining shows probably on the east coast and then I’m going out with Tears for Fears for the month of August. I’m going to be playing in their band and also opening for them in parts of Asia and the West Coast and Europe. Then, in September and October I’m going to go back to touring for Tigermending in the UK and Europe.