“Ages” is a brand new album by California based band “Ships have sailed“.
The compoud of 12 songs takes listeners on an introspective journey through the ups and downs of human experiences. From overcoming hurdles and dealing with decisions made in “Can´t Go Back”, to excitment and dopaminergic cravings in the energetic indie rock song “More” to secrets that come haunting you in “Breathe”, to empathy and kindness in “Skin”, this album has it all!
Indie-Rock and Pop lovers alike will love this masterpiece. We were lucky to get a hold of frontman and band founder Will Carpenter to chat about his songwriting process and the inspirations that led to this album.
Will, thanks so much for your time and congrats on your album release! Tell us a bit about what this album means to you, would you?
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! “Ages” has been an incredibly personal journey and, at every step along the way, the meaning has only grown. While a couple of the songs pre-existed the moment when I realized there was, perhaps, something bigger brewing, the moment I made that realization was during the creation of “Escape”, a song that came out of a cancer diagnosis that eventually claimed my mother-in-law’s life. Thus, this album took on a life, momentum and direction of its own, and I look at it as an exploration of life itself, from the younger days where we are careless, perhaps ego driven and prone to burning things down when they don’t work out, to the journey of building a bit more self-awareness and empathy, realizing that secrets can be akin to a physical disease and finding our way to (hopefully) a more balanced existence, all the while realizing how fragile and temporary (yet beautiful) our lives really are.
I am sorry for your loss, this must have been hard to process. Songwriting is a great and – in my opinion – healthy way to help us deal with pain and a beautiful way to honor these life experiences. You wrote all 12 songs on “Ages” yourself and (for obvious reasons) I love how you say “something bigger was” brewing 😉 Tell us, what are some of the inspirations behind these tracks and which song was the hardest to write?
Each of these songs represents a different step along life’s journey, loosely sourced from my own experiences and observations. “Can’t Go Back“ is the beginning of the journey, but it’s also the end of one if you listen to the lyric, it’s about burning a life down and starting over. “More” is a selfish, ego-driven life phase, “Take My Money” starts to become sarcastic and a little jaded and “Faithless” I like to think of as a “taste of our own medicine” as we get burned just as we might have previously burned others…the journey continues from there.
I don’t really recall any of them being super difficult to write, but some of the songs were a bit raw to perform, especially the lead vocals. “Escape” and “Ages” come to mind here – what those songs represent and where they came from are very personal, emotional topics for me and the vocal needed to convey exactly how emotional they were, so as a singer what I do is I try to get back to that emotion itself, the moment the song was concieved and channel that into the performance. It isn’t always a “comfortable” experience, but I find it leads to a very compelling and emotive vocal.
I salute your for that! I agree, singing is a very personal and vulnerable mission. It´s a service to others really. Opening up for the sake of helping others acknowlegde their emotions. Let´s quickly talk about “Broken Hearts”. A song that was recently featured on CBS´s serial drama “Bull”. Tell us a bit about the song and what made it such a good fit for the show in your opinion?
“Broken Hearts”, while it didn’t end up on the album, is equally as special to me as any song that we did. It’s about letting go, which is something we all have to learn to do in this life. When it was placed on “BULL” the song hadn’t even been released, so no one could find it on Shazam, but people started finding us anyway – tracking us down online via Reditt and Tunefind threads, leading us to schedule its release on December 30, 2021. I think really the scene where it was placed was perfect for the song and not the other way around: the main character (who is a psychologist with an innovative legal practice) was trying to use an audible trigger (a specific cell phone ring) to process a trauma, hence the theme of letting go suited the scene but without quite being on the nose. I think honestly our music just reached the right inbox at the right time – there’s a healthy dose of luck and timing where film and tv placements are concerned and you just need to have a bit of patience and persistence in getting your music out there and trust that your creativity will ultimately be appreciated, which in this case it most definitely was.
You titled your album “Ages” .What makes this 12th and last song on the album special to you?
Great question. I think that the purpose of an album is to tell a cohesive and compelling story through music – a series of songs. I also believe that, in order to justify naming an individual song as a title track, that song should embody the entire story arc of the album itself. In this case I believe “Ages” the song encapsulates the theme of the entire album, which I thought made it perfect as both the title track and also the closing moment of the record.
I love the lyric lines “With a sugar-coated smile, troubled eyes, and in his mind the battle rages, and it’s been ages since he felt alive” How important are lyrics to you?
Incredibly so, and on this album in particular I think the lyrics speak as poingnantly as the music itself. Of course a good song needs to have both elements shining as strongly as they can, but without a compelling lyric you’re really just relegating the voice to being “just another instrument”, which is fine, but you’re losing out on a very important dimension that lyrics bring to the listening experience, in my humble opinion.
Couldn´t agree more! I am a lyric enthusiast! Let´s talk songwriting a bit more. What does your songwriting process typically look like? Describe a good day and a bad day in songwriting for us, would you?
Another great question. This varies based on whether I’m writing for Ships Have Sailed or for another artist (which I also do frequently). Ships Have Sailed to me is a project where the songs come purely from my own heart, mind and soul – I do co-write, but there is almost always a fragment of an idea brewing that is itching to be born, and those ideas tend to come to me randomly almost out of thin air. “Escape” for example, wove itself out of thin air in about five minutes – the whole song – lyrics and melody and even a dreamlike “vision” of the production the way I wanted it to sound. Other songs will have a main lyric or melody and the rest is waiting for me to dig in a bit more, either on my own, or oftentimes with a collaborator.
When I’m writing with other artists, my job is a little different: I’m trying to find their emotional truth in the moments we’re sharing together and try to translate that into music. I find the best place to start is with a conversation, find out how they’ve been feeling, anything they might be struggling with, trying to overcome or feel particularly passionate about, and then how they are wanting to express themselves at that time. It’s quite a different process, something I also really love and find truly gratifying!
That is interesting to hear. I think as a songwriter to be able to write “on behalf of” another person, or say in order to emultae their story, a lot of empathy is required. At least for me, I have to feel it, to write it. Speaking of thirs parties, who were and are some of your musical inspirations and what song is currently on repeat on your playlist?
I have such a wide range of musical influences it’s almost impossible to list, but basically everything from classical to metal to classics to folk, singer-songwriter, pop, rock and everything in between (covering virtually every genre and era). Current music I’ve been enjoying includes Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, CHVRCHES, The National and many more, and I also dig back into the classics often, whether it’s The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Tom Petty, or countless others.
Love it! In a nutshell, what makes a good song?
Wow, excellent question. I really think it comes down to tapping into an emotional vein. You can have something that’s immaculately written, composed and produced, but if the emotion isn’t there no one will feel anything, and that’s what music is all about: making people really FEEL. So if I had to pick one element that makes a song resonate, really it all comes down to emotion.
What is one thing you learned along your songwriting journey that you would like to pass on to songwriting newbies?
Keep going, keep creating, keep listening and being inspired, keep absorbing, keep raising the bar. This journey is not about any “goal” or award(s) or fame…it’s a journey that most of us are on because we have such a deep love for what we do that we can’t imagine life without being a creator, as tough as it can be on this road sometimes, and it is about the journey itself. I’ve forgotten that several times along the way, and I’ll just say that the music tends to be the best when you forget about the industry, the accolades, etc… and just create something that is true and beautiful.
Beautiful! Last not least, where can readers find you online?
The best place to start is our website: https://www.shipshavesailed.com which will help you find all of our social channels (@ShipsHaveSailed) and sign up for our email list (which ist he very best way to stay in touch). I’d also love it if you’d give our new album “Ages” a listen: https://vibe.to/ages …and I would love to hear what you think!
Thanks so much for your time and thank you for the music! Keep being creative and sharing your gift!
Thank you so much for the opportunity!
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