Debut LP, Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else out August 23rd
Having played in several bands and touring throughout the US since, skipping college in the process, Cincinnati-based artist Curt Kiser has been meticulously crafting his proper debut as a songwriter in step with his own personal development. Adopting the moniker Carriers back in 2014, Kiser has worked with a collective of friends, including Bryan Devendorf (The National) and John Curley (The Afghan Whigs), to bring his sweeping rock visions to life.
Carriers’ debut LP, Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else, is a testament to the power of self-reflection and is carefully layered, leaning on strong core songwriting, hypnotic synths and lush guitar tones from Kiser, mesmerizing percussion delivered by Devendorf, and nuanced, dynamic bass lines from Curley. The 9-track album evokes the same guitar-led grandeur of The War on Drugs as Kiser takes stock of life, death, relationships and gratitude for another day.
As Kiser details, “Overall it’s about appreciating what we have and remaining present, while still being able to have an honest perspective of the past and our future. I’ve personally found a lot of peace in just working hard and staying focused on what I’ve got going on, trusting, rather than being consumed with striving. This record process has taught me a lot about patience. Life will continue to teach me to have more. I’m just trying to accept what happens and handle it the best I can. Patience is forever.”
All the drum parts were worked out in a series of rehearsals with Curt in an old crumbling factory over the course of one winter. I didn’t know it at the time but we were a couple buildings up from a locally important studio where we would eventually record the drums for Carriers the next summer.
My first drum teacher, Steve Earle (not the singer-songwriter), had recorded at Ultrasuede many years before with the Afghan Whigs. I was fortunate to get in there too before it closed. Shag carpet, parquet floor, and cedar paneling defined the live room whose centerpiece was the studio’s original name — QCA STUDIOS — emblazoned on wall-mounted shag. Nice, warm, and low lit.
Adding to the cosmic ‘circularness’ of the situation, the bassist on the Carriers sessions John Curley, bassist in the Afghan Whigs. It was pretty wild for me there, setting up drums while John set up mics, me thinking back to my early days, seeing Whigs shows and practicing drums in my parent’s basement and suddenly there I was….
“Another Guy” like all the Carriers tracks I worked on was a really fun challenge — I really had to work hard to get all the forms down, half bars, etc. Curt, why do you need half bars?!!!
The demo version of “Another Guy” was recorded in the control room at Ultrasuede in July of 2015. It was just Curt playing acoustic guitar and singing. The demo is slower than the version on the record and it has an almost melancholy vibe to it.
As I remember it, the song began to grow into its current form when we recorded it with Bryan. It became more of a pop song. The tempo picked up and we changed the arrangement somewhat. The bass part I was hearing in my head came together for me when we played it with drums. I really like the tight snare fills that he throws in.
It was cool to see how the songs on this record evolved from the early demos into what you hear on the record. Curt encouraged everyone involved to contribute something unique and gave us the space to do that.
Curt Kiser (Carriers):
When you’re writing a song and in the midst of capturing what is inspiring it, you usually don’t think about anything else but just staying focused on that moment and letting the song appear and become realized. At least, that’s how it happens for me.
“Another Guy” is a song that I knew I needed to write but I never knew if anyone else would really hear it beyond some close friends and family. It’s a song about a dream I had that holds a lot of weight and significance for me. While trying to tell the story of this one, I’ve had trouble coming up with the right words to do so. How do you explain a spiritual encounter and fully convey what it meant for you?
I was lifted into the air, saw a statue of Jesus break apart, come to life and we had a conversation. It was pretty weird. I think I’m okay with letting this song speak for itself. It was a dream. It was extremely vivid. It changed my life & my overall outlook of myself and the depths of the supernatural realm. It opened me up to new possibilities and something I had never been shown before while also confirming some things I’ve held as truth.
I know what it means for me and when people hear this song, I hope that you can feel something similar to what I felt while having the encounter and that it changes the atmosphere wherever you are.