Mile Higher Musicians
Get to Know One of Denver’s Most Talented Artists
When I first moved to Denver, checking out the local music scene was one of the things on my to do list. One of the earlier performances I caught was from CRL CRRLL and it was immediately clear he had the talent to make a name for himself. His live performances are energetic and his music translates well from wax to his live sets, bringing to life the groovy sounds he creates. With influences from funk, soul, and disco, CRL CRRLL’s music is eclectic and organic, tempting listeners to get up and dance the night away. I got the opportunity to ask CRL CRRLL about his unique sound and how he found it and he came through with some solid answers.
What made you start making music? When did you realize it’s what you wanted to do?
Making music was always an interest of mine but I never took it serious until a few years after leaving college. I always had a musical influential person in my life. Growing up it was my sisters, hearing them sing and perform. Then, when I was a little older it was my uncle, Ramaldo who had experience playing in bands and touring who helped me find my first instrument and influenced me finding my way into playing and making music.
Can you explain the CRL CRRLL moniker?
The CRL CRRLL moniker came as a joke concept, I use to play shows under my full name, I always had booking agents and promoters spelling my name incorrect so I said why not just misspell it and send it, maybe they’ll start to spelling it correctly..? Ever since I did that I never really had a problem with it. People would just email or call me back to double check which was better than people just assuming and misspelling it. Now it’s just fun when people say “Is your name CURL CURL” and I reply, “yep!” Makes it easy…. It’s actually my real name with no vowels in case anyone wants to really know.. (Carl Carrell)
What influences have helped you build your sound?
I think when people ask me what influences me the most, it’s a puzzling question because it’s easy to say a name like Prince or Marvin Gaye or something but I naturally gravitate towards sounds and colors- recently I’ve found inspiration through art graphics and huge libraries of sound bites and samples. I use a lot of them to build ideas on and sometimes I setup a display and go through photos while I’m playing with synths or samplers and it inspires different concepts and ideas. I’ve started a project on my website and YouTube that will be launching soon called#1BeatADay that is going to evolve from this. The idea of creating something everyday, a new beat, a new idea, is something I’ve read recently and it’s really inspired me to push myself. It’s opening my mind and making me more creative. I guess you can say creativity inspires me and I’ve been blessed enough to stay surrounded by creative people.
Your music has an upbeat, organic sound to it. What’s the process like in the studio when recording and finding that sound?
I feel like I’ve been through a lot of stressful and negative things early on in my life that I’m in a place where I just want to contribute positivity to the world through my music and art- I’m not saying I’ll never make a edgy song that is sad or angry, but for the most part I’m celebrating life and celebrating for the homies that didn’t get a chance to celebrate. I love funk, soul and disco and a lot of modern sounds, so organically I’m going to gravitate towards making people dance and move. I feel like people are out and going to shows to feel something [and] you have to take them there. When I’m in my studio, my process is simple: I turn on all my gear, which, is all setup to be live and ready to use so what ever ideas come up, I can easily throw them down. I’ll start out on the keys or on the sampler with a basic concept then I’ll just keep adding to it and layering until I feel like, O.K. this thing needs to be directed. Then from there I’ll start to form a song if the ideas are ready to be formed. Basically, I just have a jam session until a song comes along. I save all my jam sessions to reference different ideas. You never know when you might want to rework an old idea.
You’ve performed live many times. Do any performances stick out to you? If so why?
I’m not sure which one is the stand out performance for me…But one performance I do remember that was fun for me was The Solution with DJ Low Key and Lazy Eyez’ Christmas Party 2015. I think it was the most fun because the song, “Cheers” was still fresh and I had just released the video and everyone was singing along, plus we had Phonte from The Pharcyde out to rock it! It was a live-ass house party vibe. I know every show I do, I try to bring something new, I try to meet new faces and I love to hear what people think of the music. I’m one of those people that wants to know why you liked something or why you didn’t like something, that way the next time it could be an experience [for them].
What’s your favorite song you’ve ever recorded and why?
I have a song on my Wave EP called “It’s True,” not sure why but I will never forget the summer of that project and my then drummer, Daniel Hogans was just doing these crazy fills on the end- the kid had phenomenal chops. We recorded the whole project in kind of a bootleg format, but it gave this Lo-Fi summer time beach vibe. The end of that tracks rides out on a sample of the waves from Santa Monica beach taken on my old iPhone 5- Just good memories I guess… With every project, I feel I grow and that the next project gets better. We’ll see as I get closer to a full album which [song] ends up becoming my favorite.
When/where can we catch your next performance?
I play a bunch of DJ gigs around the U.S. this June, but July will be spent mostly in Denver. If you would like to come vibe out with me during a DJ set, I’ll be playing Forever Fest June 9th, Motown Grooves with Miggy and DJ E-Trane on June 10th, Atomic Cowboy South Broadway June 8th and 22nd, Bar Fausto June 15th, the Westword Music Showcase on June 24th and Stay Up Saturdays on June 24th. The only live show I will be playing until late summer will be the Red Bull Sound Select show on June 29th at the Bluebird Theater with Pomo and Dave B. Get tickets online and RSVP for $5 entry at http://win.gs/JuneDen
Big thanks to CRL CRRLL for coming through with some in depth, thought provoking answers! Thanks for reading through the interview and be sure to check out CRL CRRLL on June 29 at the Bluebird Theater with Pomo and Dave B as part of Red Bull Sound Select: Denver, who always knows how to put together a dope lineup.