Life On The Road / 9 May 2018

Spencer Fox of Charly Bliss Talks Band Name, Influences and Gear

Charly Bliss are a band composed of four long time friends who went to high school together. They describe their sound as “the finest guitar-crunched power pop this side of an old Weezer record with a blue cover” and “a candy-scented safe space for extreme fits of happiness and angsty teen-level explosions of romantic ennui.” Whether you’re able to decode this or not, we do know one thing – you’ll find their songs brimming with infectious and irresistible melodies paired with honest, storytelling lyrics. Whatever you want to call it, it’s simply awesome.

We spoke with Spencer Fox, who takes up guitar and backing vocal duties, and found out more about how they got their band name, their influences and life on the road.

Tell us the story behind the name Charly Bliss?

We were killing ourselves trying to think of a band name for months and months, then one night Eva was at a party when someone who happened to be named Charlie Bliss suggested we name the band after him. We added the “y” to avoid identity theft and it stuck.

Who are some of the biggest musical influences that have shaped the sound of the band.

Recently, we’ve drawn a ton of inspiration from Lorde and Superorganism. Both of these artists make super fun and concise pop music without ever sounding contrived, and I think that’s something that we’ve always tried to hone in on.

Can you tell us a little bit about your approach to the songwriting process?

One of us will come to the group with a demo that ranges anywhere from 5-95% done, and then the four of us all work collaboratively to finish it. For instance, songs like Glitter and Black Hole both started out as simple melodic lines that Eva wrote, and then the four of us worked together to turn that initial idea into a fully fleshed out song.

What was the moment that made you want to be a musician?

I wish I could give a cooler answer but honestly, the Live at Slane Red Hot Chili Peppers concert DVD. I get that they can be a goofy band sometimes, but John Frusciante’s guitar playing is something that I will defend until the day I die. I was super into Eddie Van Halen and Yngwie Malmsteen for the longest time, but once I heard John Frusciante play solos that were like three notes long and just as compelling as all the shreddy stuff, it totally recontextualized the way I thought about guitar playing and made it much more interesting to me.

What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned while on tour?

Patience is always rewarded and Whole Foods will save your life.

What’s one piece of music gear you cannot live without on tour?

As far as I am concerned, the most crucial piece of equipment I have is my t1m Pearl. It used to belong to Eva and I more or less accredit the entirety of my live sound to that one pedal. It’s a two-stage distortion, and I’m not really sure if it’s modeled after anything in particular, but it’s incredibly versatile. The first stage of distortion has a really nice AC30-ish bite to it, and then with the second stage kicked in it gets totally blown out.

If you could collaborate with one musician/artist, who would you pick and why?

Judee Sill!!! Her songwriting baffles me. I’ve been trying to learn her piano parts on guitar lately and it has resulted in a lot of hand cramps and made me realize how little I actually know about music theory. Her music sounds so intuitive and natural, but it’s all very complex and out there. I want to know how she does it!

What MONO gear do you use at home, in the studio or on tour?

The MONO Dual is a total monster. It’s incredibly light and being able to store two guitars is insanely convenient, especially while you’re flying.

What are the big plans we can look forward to for the rest of the year?

You can catch us on tour this May with Skating Polly!!!

To find out more about Spencer’s MONO Dual Case, click here and see our full catalogue here.

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