We can all admit music does something to us, especially when it’s a song that makes us stop and ponder about life. On their latest single Ships Have Sailed’s vocalist Will Carpenter says, ‘I wanted to dive a little deeper and explore the struggle of always wanting more no matter what you already have, which I think is almost a feature of the human condition.’ This made us even more curious and of course, we wanted to find out what more we could learn from the duo’s latest single.
Alice: ‘Let’s Just Dance’ is a track about the struggle of always wanting more no matter what you already have. What do you guys want more of right now in spite of what you already have?
Will: Well it’s more of an idea rather than something super specific…the idea that there’s always something more to strive for or desire. For example, I’m always wanting to experience every moment…I never want to go to sleep…I live for the next interaction, conversation, that next glass of wine, the next great creative burst. So, it’s not just one thing, it’s a constantly shifting target with the same general feeling around it…and it can be a great motivator, but if you let it control you it can also build up into a feeling of discontent if that makes sense, so that’s always something I try to avoid. It’s all about keeping the inspiring aspects of that condition while trying to keep the more negative ones at bay.
Alice: You are exploring human emotions within your music. What is the emotion that you would like to have better control of in your life?
Will: I think I personally struggle most with the need to please other people. I think as an artist that’s a slippery slope because, while of course you want people to like what you create, you obviously can’t please everyone, and art is completely subjective, so that’s something I’m always trying to balance and re-balance: making sure that what I’m creating is simultaneously the best I can do, but also staying true to myself artistically as well.
Alice: Ships Have Sailed, what does this name say about the band?
Will: I love when I’m asked this question! The name came to me as the project was forming, and it was a particularly transitional time in my life…lots of things were shifting and not all of them felt great in the moment, but wound up leading to better places than where they started. It led me to do a lot of reflective thinking about where we wind up at any point in time, and how we get there…often something that seems like a wrong turn winds up being the right one once you follow the path far enough. So, I was thinking back to all sorts of ‘missed’ opportunities, and the phrase ‘That ship has sailed’ popped into my head, and I kind of thought to myself that it should be more positive, so I flipped it to ‘Ships Have Sailed’ and realised it was the perfect name for this project. It really has informed our creative progression over the years too, we cover a lot of ground stylistically, and really don’t like to limit ourselves when we create, but the common thread through it all is to attempt to find a positive angle through the music, regardless of what we’re writing about.
Alice: What would you like to conquer with your music?
Will: Well, I would say that it inspires me when I see artists who can evoke profound emotion and incite profound change with their music, so that is always something to aspire to. There is nothing specific I would say we’re trying to ‘conquer’ really, but we’re just trying to continue to create our best work on our own terms, and if we can put a little good into the world at the same time, I think that’s something to be really happy about. One of the most rewarding aspects of growing with Ships Have Sailed is to see the genuinely amazing people that seem to gravitate to our music, hearing their stories about how they discovered us and what our music means to them, and then watching them find each other, become friends and develop genuine connections…it’s really humbling and amazing…those interactions frequently make my day!
Alice: You recently voiced your concerns about the changes to the Youtube Partnership Programme. What would be the ideal platform for artist such as yourselves to push their content?
Will: Yes, I guess I’m not super shy about speaking out when I see something wrong with the ‘system’ so to speak. The new YouTube rules are really frustrating for smaller creators because we’ve all worked really hard to reach the thresholds at which we were considered a ‘Partner’ only to find that the goal posts have suddenly moved. Now, it’s within YouTube’s rights to do this, but I don’t think it’s really in their best interest long term. Consistently favouring the larger players over the more independent ones is counter-intuitive because you’re no longer being friendly to the next generation of ‘big’ players – everyone starts small. That said, they’re not the only ones doing it – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all running algorithms now which really impact the number of people who see content. Ultimately, it’s all a play to drive revenue from ad spend, but it’s slowly starting to squeeze out the folks who operate on smaller margins, so of course, we’re concerned with that. What I will say though, is that there is one platform has stood out to me over the past few years, and that’s Spotify. They truly seem to support a level playing field for all the artists that use their platform and, while of course popular artists are featured (why wouldn’t they be?) everyone has access to the same ‘Fan Insights’ dashboard that provides some really incredible data about the music you release there and how people listen to it. I think these days an indie artist kind of has to be everywhere, but I’ve been impressed with what Spotify has been doing.
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