Carter Tanton really cares about how his music sounds. Which is probably a good thing. Because it means you’ll get a quality show. Only, he may not acknowledge you. Formerly of the band Tulsa, Tanton put touring on hold for 18 months. This Fall, he is kicking off a tour with The War on Drugs to promote his new album, Freeclouds, out November 15. We caught up with Tanton to talk about Sparklehorse, his new album, and how you’re supposed to get his attention.
You have received praise [NPR and Refinery29] for being a wonderful live performer. What do you like most about performing?
It’s been a while actually. This tour will be the first batch of shows I’ve played as my own band in a year and a half. I was kind of on cruise control; I didn’t feel like I was putting that much into the live shows, so it’s hopefully going to be like rediscovering what I like about it this time around. What I’ve liked about it in the past is, it really has to do with the people that I’m onstage with. This isn’t a slight on the audience, but I don’t really connect with the audience. From night to night I don’t feel like, “oh that audience was really good, that one wasn’t good.” It’s more like the people that I’m onstage with are the people that I feed off of instead of the crowd.
Is there something the audience could do to make you feed off of them?
I’m serious about this – I don’t even look at the audience. A whole show will go by and the people I’m playing with will say something like, “did you notice that guy in the front row who had that crazy t-shirt on?” and I’m like, “no, I didn’t” because I really don’t look up.
What happens if I’m a huge huge Carter Tanton fan and I’m so pumped to see your show and I’m right up there next to the stage and all I want to do is make eye contact with you. What then?
I’m sure it would happen. I mean, eventually anybody could get my attention. But I don’t know, you’d probably have to yell. (more…)