Since Tyler Carter and Woe, Is Me, went their separate ways last summer, the former has kept busy building a solo career. The first taste of this, “Side To Side,” emerged last September—and the piano-driven, Cab-like tune certainly seems indicative of the direction Carter is taking his career. Still, when AP reached him last week at his manager’s house in L.A., it’s clear things are very much in an embryonic stage. The singer/songwriter says he’s “been working on an album a little bit—networking and writing with producers,” but concrete plans for the full-lengths release are still in the works. Carter filled AP in on what he did know, including where he sees his music going, both in the studio and on his upcoming tour with Go Radio.
Who’ve you been writing with?
I’ve been writing with a guy named Jerrod Bettis, who worked under Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic. I’ve been cutting some Ryan Tedder songs. Been working with my buddy Mat Musto. A few different people.
What do you have done so far? It sounds like you’re definitely in the beginning stages.
We’re still kind of building the sound we want and figuring out the style we want, because obviously in this game, it’s about being next-level and coming up with a new thing, but really putting your heart into it and finding something that hasn’t been done. We’re trying to do that, but we have cut a few songs. It’s coming together really cool.
How much do you have done?
We have, like, eight songs tracked. Nowhere near the quota of songs to be done to choose from, but it’s a good start.
Sounds like with the people you’re writing with that things are a lot poppier then. Is that fair to say?
Yeah, definitely. It’s going to be like a pop/R&B album. That’s kind of what I’ve always wanted to do, so it’s been fun out here working with pop/R&B producers and hip-hop producers and making top 40 records.
What’s been the biggest difference working with people from that world as opposed to the world you have been working in?
It’s so different. The way the songs are written, the process and everything. But everybody is really used to working with soft voices and toned artists, but I’m going in with a post-hardcore mentality with my R&B vocals. It’s like, who’s heard a gritty, powerful, post-hardcore-style R&B vocalist over soft pop music? It’s kind of cool. You just have to hear it, I guess.
Can you describe the new songs you’ve been doing? Is it kind of something similar to that? How have you been describing your music to people?
I really haven’t been describing. I am trying to keep people on their toes a little bit, which is a risk because it could be a hit or miss if it’s not everything I’ve worked it up to be. I’m just trying to keep people wondering until I figure out exactly what my record is going to be like and then I can describe it to people.
How long are you planning on recording? Are you going to stay out in L.A.? What studios have you recorded in so far?
We had planned to be out here until about March or so, maybe mid-February, and then we were going to take a trip to New York and work with some producers out there and then maybe stop in Miami and do a couple things. But I just confirmed a tour with Go Radio. Basically, that’s for my fans, because it’s been a while since I’ve been on the road. I’m hungry for my fans and fiending for that connection. We definitely needed to get on the road so my fans could come out and see me, because it’s going to be a while before we put out a record. We’re going to postpone the pre-production until after tour and then hit it full-time.
"Side To Side"
That tour is going to be interesting, too, because I think you’re going to be put in front of a different audience.
Right. It’s cool because we played with Go Radio and those other bands on Warped Tour. It’s not too much of a different audience, but it’s weird because nobody has heard my new music and my sound, so they don’t even know what it’s going to be like to start with. On top of that, we’re taking my new music and twisting it to a pop-rock feel for the tour, so that we can kind of fit in with the other bands. It’s almost going to be more of a mystery, because people are going to come out and hear some of the songs they know, and some of the songs they don’t know, but it’s all going to be twisted pop-rock. But that’s not even what they’re going to hear when the album comes out. It’s going to be fresh and people aren’t going to be tired of hearing it, because it’s going to be different.
That’s good that the songs are versatile enough that they can work in those different genres, depending on how you arrange them or record them. That’s always a good sign.
Yeah, right. That’s what I was saying: You just have to be next-level in this world and this industry, and come out with something different and be an artist—be a different person, a different artist—so kids cling onto you. It’s cool, because I am an artist, and I’ve always felt like an artist, making music I can twist any way I want. That’s why I respect Bruno Mars, because he has a song it’ll come on the radio a certain way, but then he’ll play it at the VMAs, he’ll put a completely different twist on it and play it completely different than the single that was released. I like that about this industry. You can do anything.
When you go out on tour, who is going to be playing with you?
At this point, I think I’m trying to keep it a little bit minimalist. I’m not going to go out with full production and a full band, but I’m going to try to be a little pop-rock, so I’m definitely going to try to take out a guitarist. At this point in rehearsal stage, we’ve just got a drummer and a DJ. We’re still working on the record, so we’ve got a whole two-and-a-half months to decide what tour’s going to be like.
It seems like if we talked to you in a couple months, things would be completely different.
[Laughs.] Exactly, yeah, it’s like, I’ll wake up with an idea and a vision and it could be completely different than the vision I woke up with yesterday. Dreams are endless. Dreams are real. One vision could outshine another, and it could be the best vision you’ve ever had.
Lyrically, what sorts of things are you exploring and want to explore as you continue writing?
When I was in a metal band, I was writing lyrics that were deep and poetic. I’m still doing that, but in a metal band, it seemed like I was only able to touch really emotional, depressing situations. I’m still doing that, too, because I want to paint pictures for this world and tell stories, but at least now I’m able to hit more positive things and more things about love and stuff. A lot of people are like, “Oh, great. Tyler Carter is writing broken love songs,” but I think people will be surprised, because it’s not exactly as generic and cheesy as you would think when I say I’m writing a love song. I’m still putting the formula of post-hardcore lyrics to it. It’s next-level, I think.
Do you have any idea yet when the album is going to be released?
I definitely have no idea at this point. [Laughs.] We haven’t even gotten all the song submissions to put an album together. Who knows, in the next month we could have enough spare songs to make a mixtape or put out an EP. You never really know—like I said, every day is a new vision.
It seems like that uncertainty is pretty exciting and gives you a lot of freedom. What else do you want to add, then?
A lot of people have got this weird [idea] of me that it’s like, “Oh, he’s so egotistical” and “He forgot about his fans, screw him.” Really, I’ve just been busy making stuff for my fans. I’ve been trying as hard as I can to connect with everybody online and put stuff out there, but some people just don’t use Facebook as much as me. So come out on tour and let’s hang out and meet again. We’re starting from the ground up—it’s a whole new vision and I’ve been dreaming of it and working on it my whole life, so let’s get there. Let’s do it together. alt