Interview with Cleveland's Mr. Carnivore
While Mr. Carnivore may be a relatively new band, they are already catching the attention of many music lovers across the state and the region. Michelle got a chance to have a chat with Joey LaGuardia, bassist for Mr. Carnivore, and talk about their music and their message, and also share the premier of their new song, Knees. Read on!
Hold the Note: Thanks for agreeing to talk with me. One area of Ohio that I've been wanting to explore much more is the Cleveland scene. I was so excited when we connected! And then I checked out your music and band, and was instantly interested in talking more.
Joey LaGuardia: The Cleveland Scene is definitely an interesting one. There's a lot of insanely talented people up here. I've had the pleasure of hosting an open mic for the last six months or so and get to see a lot of people come through. It blows my mind how many people who don't get recognition are out there just doing their own thing.
HTN: Indeed. You all come from a lifetime of music, don't you?
JL: I've been playing music since I was five and And so has my brother Pat. I know Mike's been playing since early high school and Kevin played at an early age, too. We been playing in the Cleveland seen since about 15 years old. So that's a solid 15 years.
HTN: There've been other projects along the way... before Mr. Carnivore, for sure...
JL: There have been many bands that have come before Mr. Carnivore. The best thing about this band is, I feel like everything I've done at this point has led me to this group of musicians. It really feels like the dream team.
HTN: And so hosting open mic, has anyone stood out to you as exceptional? If so, what was it about them that stuck with you?
JL: We've been lucky enough to have some of the top acts in Cleveland come through and be the featured artist for our open mic. Those are always fun to watch but I find that it's the people that you don't expect to be good to be the most enjoyable.
For me, I always find that what sticks out is a great song. You don't necessarily have to be the greatest guitar player, are the greatest singer. In this day and age of bells and whistles, it's easy to forget the gravity that a well crafted song can have.
HTN: So I noticed there’s another “LaGuardia” billed on your (super intriguing) music video, that’s not in your band…
JL: Me and Pat come from a very large family. Four boys and two girls. We always been very close growing up. I believe there is something like 26 cousins that we are very close with as well. Jacob LaGuardia is one of them. We seem to be a very talented bunch as well, everybody seems to have their own niche. Jake went to school in North Carolina for film production and is currently in Los Angeles. He does a lot of work filming music videos for artist. We were fortunate enough to catch him while he was home visiting family to shoot the video for Hot Air Balloon.
HTN: That's awesome!
JL: Yea. We love to keep it in the family if we can!
HTN: Talk to me about creating a community surrounding your music and "Bassist Joe LaGuardia says, ‘the music may come from within this small group, but is meant for everyone.’ “ (from the online bio).
JL: So this idea definitely comes from a couple different angles. We told ourselves when we started this group that we didn't want to take ourselves too seriously. We didn't want to pose for super serious band photos, we didn't want to be so artsy that no one knew what we were talking about. We didn't want to be cryptic.
For me personally, music has always been a means to connect with people. I've always played music to meet new people, to make new friends, and to get out of the house with a purpose. We really wanted that side of music to come through with our band.
Also, we've noticed how it seems to be harder to get people to come out of their houses and enjoy your show. When I was in high school I was chomping at the bit for an opportunity to go see live music anywhere. I didn't care who was playing, as long as there was live music. There are a lot of factors that play into that but we're trying to overcome and have people come out and enjoy themselves in a live music atmosphere.
HTN: I definitely think at least part of the answer is making an experience for the crowd, for sure. Good stuff.
JL: We haven't gotten the chance to play out in the capacity that we will once we put out our extended release. But once we do, we want our shows to be like a party.
So say someone comes to check out your live show, and they've never heard your music before. What do you hope people will say at the end/to their friends?
And before I forget, you talked about this band being a dream team. What do you feel are the strengths of each member (besides the actual instrument they play, of course)?
JL: If they walk away saying, "Holy shit, they were great!" I would be happy! I do feel like each person at their particular instrument is one of the best that I've ever played with in my career at that spot. That definitely contributes to my feelings. Pat and Mike are two of the best songwriters I've ever encountered. But beyond musical talent, we really fit together well as a team.
One of my philosophies on life is you are only as strong as your weakest link. The nicest thing about this group is where any one individual may be lacking, there is someone else in the group to fill in that gap. Like I said Mike and Pat are fantastic song writers, but really hate to self promote. Kevin and I are fantastic on the business end of things. That's just one small example where we lift each other up
We are really trying to focus on writing high-quality songs. We are a four piece band. And electric guitar and acoustic guitar a bass and drums. We try to write the best song we possibly can within those parameters. If we are able to wow someone using just that in this day and age of 808's and crazy sense, then I think we're doing something right
HTN: And I hear you're already "wowing". The single that's coming out, you say that's a part of a larger, upcoming release. Are you focused on a full-length or an EP, right now?
JL: Well, we have a solid chunk of songs that we’re working on at the moment. As we finish the songs we will see how many we have and make a determination from there.
HTN: Fair enough.
JL: Hope to be releasing late spring early summer
HTN: Okay cool. So what's the best way right now for people to support you?
JL: Following us on our social media. Sign up for our mailing list. Mrcarnivoreeats.com is the best source to find all of that.
HTN: Awesome. Thank ya! I really appreciate your time.
Before I go, is there anything you wish people who interview people would ask you/your band? And/or is there anything else we should know about the future of the Cleveland music scene and Mr. Carnivore?
JL: I would just say that the most important thing for music fans is to get out and support the bands that you like. All of your favorite bands were local bands at one point.
If anyone's ever trying to come hang out and see some great local music, come out to the speakeasy open mic in the basement of the Bier Market every other Thursday. You'll most likely catch at least me if not several members of Mr. Carnivore hanging out there. And you'll see a lot of other amazingly talented musicians. Be sure to follow us on all over social media to stay up-to-date with everything that we've got going on. There should always be something new for you to see (with Mr. Carnivore).
Check out their website, here: Mrcarnivoreeats.com
And check out their new single, here: