Days before Merchandise’s debut performance at Gramps and weeks before the release of the band's new album A Corpse Wired for Sound, we got the chance to talk to lead singer Carson Cox about the state of his buzz-worthy little Florida band.
Merchandise, originally from Tampa, has been touring the world as ambassadors to South Florida's music scene for the past few years. After 2012's breakthrough album Children of Desire, the band was signed by the iconic record label 4AD, and the group's latest single “Lonesome Sound” was just featured by Pitchfork as a Best New Track.
The band performs at Gramps this Thursday and will be stopping by Fort Lauderdale's Radio-Active Records tonight, September 21, at 6:30 p.m. for a free acoustic set.
Merchandise is a charismatic bunch with a punk attitude and might just be the next big thing coming out of the Sunshine State. But enough from us. Let's hear what Cox has to say.
New Times: You have been together since 2008. What has been the biggest challenge that you faced as a band so far?
Carson Cox: Continuing through the changes in life — from being a child to being an adult. Life changes, but you have to wake up and play music and keep on going. That’s a pretty big challenge.
I agree. Here in Miami, there are more and more new live bands playing every weekend.
I hope so. Electronic music will always be popular in Miami because — beside the people from Miami — you have many people from Europe, South America — all these places where house music is very popular.
How was the transition from being an independent band to being signed to 4AD? What were some changes that you noticed?
I think a lot changes, but maybe not so much of the core or essence of the band. Some things became easier and some things harder. I think it got easier for us to travel and play abroad, but it became harder to identify us within an audience. Most music audiences or media want to simplify you to a category because of sales. They need to be able to sell what you are doing. If you don’t want to fit into that — or if you can’t — it’s hard to
You recently released a new single, "Lonesome Sound." The track will be included
You are always very honest with your lyrics, so I wonder how you feel when you are playing a song in front of a new audience. Are you ever afraid of being judged?
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Last year you released a collaborative 7" with Dum Dum Girls. With what other artist/band would you like to collaborate with in the near future?
I don’t know. That collaboration was very fun. It kind of came out of nowhere. I’ve been friends of Kristin for a little while, and we have talked about doing something together, and it kind of grew out of a moment. I think if we did a collaboration with somebody else, it will have to present itself. I’m pretty open-minded in terms of writing. I like production a lot. I produced for other people. I honestly kind of like just playing with my band, so I don’t think about collaborations that often.
You will be touring Florida for the next couple of weeks. Have the weird stories and overall weirdness of this state influenced your music in any form?
I would say my whole life is a weird Florida story, from birth to death — even if I don’t die in Florida. I think there is something about Florida that most people don’t understand. It’s more like a mix of South America and America and a whole global community, combined with a lot of meth and bad decisions and a lot of invisible rednecks. I think, for sure, it's the strangest little place that has always been a part of my life. I guess people always read stories in the news about Florida and think it’s Russia or some weird place in the world. It’s strange, but it’s the kind of strange that I have always been attracted to, and whether I’m here or not, I’m always a F