We recently had the exciting opportunity to speak with electro-pop artist, Carl Gershon. He is a graduate from Northwestern where he majored in Film and minored in Music Production. In addition to that, he went on to study at New York’s School of Audio Engineering. He has also had experience touring as lead guitarist in bands and scoring internationally distributed films and is now expanding his talents to his solo career. We were lucky enough to learn more about him and what goes into creating his exciting signature sound!
You’ve recently released your debut single, “Like Paradise,” with 1883 magazine. Tell us a little bit about the song and what inspired you to write it.
The song is about the feeling that myself and other people have that NYC is our paradise. When we come back to NYC after being gone we can exhale and feel like we’re home again. Even people I know that don’t live here say it’s their favorite city and wish they could live here. They are the people that speak the most romantically about the city and don’t take it for granted.
It also has an ’80s sound, could you tell us what inspired this?
I have always loved the production style and the instrumentation of the 80s. My main instrument is guitar and my favorite style of guitar is 80s rock with the shred solos. One thing I love about the 80s is that in almost any type of song, whoever the hot shot guitarist was they’d get them in the studio and put a solo in. Everyone back then loved the guitar and synthesizers, which I like too.
What are your future plans for your solo music career?
Right now we have a couple of videos in the works. The video for “I Can Only” should be done and out soon. And then we’re going to shoot a video for “Like Paradise.” I also just sang on a song with a producer called, Robots With Rayguns. His album will be out in September and then we’ll be planning live shows for the fall.
You were born and raised in NYC, dedicating your entire life to music. What started your passion for music?
I started guitar pretty young. I always wanted to play guitar but my parents always said I had to be in the school orchestra. So I started with saxophone because as a seven year old, I thought that was the coolest instrument in the orchestra that wasn’t the drums. And then after a few years of that, I made a deal with my parents that I could get a drum set if I played the drums in the orchestra. So I did that and then I started to get really serious into music and they knew they didn’t have to force me to play music anymore. And then when I was twelve I started guitar and that was it for me because that’s what I always wanted to play. And I would come home from school and spend hours in my room practicing guitar.
You’re a graduate from both Northwestern University and the School of Audio Engineering NYC. Tell us a bit about your college experience and how it aided to your career now.
It helped a lot. I majored in film and minored in music tech at Northwestern. And over the summers I would take some classes in engineering. That is what gave me a lot of insight, especially while studying film. A lot of people don’t really understand why I did music when I studied film. But music is a big part of film and a lot of what I learned about music and what has inspired my own music is music from film and television. And of course, going to Audio Engineering School after college gave me the skills to do what I do now, which is play all the instruments myself. And when I record, I work with an engineer in the studio. Knowing the technology and being able to talk to him helps get the sound I am looking for, as I have engineering experience and knowledge as well. I can look back at my music and am able to edit things myself too. I can tell him what I am trying to do and he can facilitate it while I am playing. We can also collaborate on things because we speak the same language.
We see you’ve also scored internationally distributed films, could you tell us about them and how you were able to do that?
So the first one I did was a movie my friend was producing. They wanted one piece of music for a small part which had an 80s style shred on it. It snowballed and they kept coming back for more music. Another one was that I played guitar in a band and the singer was a film editor. He was doing a documentary film on Special Forces and asked if I wanted to score it. That was the beginning of when I started getting into synthesizers because they wanted very synth-heavy scores. And with film, you have to take direction from the director or editor, whoever the boss is. With this particular one, the style they asked for wasn’t my particular cup of tea but I was able to make it my cup of tea. I researched all of the synthesizers and was able to incorporate everything I liked from that style into the piece of music they wanted. It was both a creative challenge and great learning experience.
In addition to all of that, you have also toured as lead guitarist in several bands. Could you tell us a few of your favorite tours you’ve done and what it’s like being on the road?
None of the tours have been super extensive as far as time on the road, they’ve all been pretty regional and local. To be honest, my favorite places I’ve played have been in New York. Outside of New York they have been smaller shows. As far as my favorite places that I’ve played in New York, it would be the main stage at Webster Hall. The location is one of the oldest venues in NYC which is special. It’s actually closing soon so that show has been on my mind quite a bit.
Recently you have also released your first batch of songs as a solo artist, not only writing and co-producing all songs but performing all vocals and instruments as well. What are some of the biggest differences from going on tour as lead guitarist to now having your own solo music?
Well it’s a whole different group of challenges between the two. As far as being in a band, one of the nice things is the camaraderie and the collaboration. It’s like a group of friends and you guys are always getting together and having fun making music. As far as the recording process in a band, as a guitar player, you can go into the studio and record your part and hang out while someone else does their part. It’s more of a relaxing and casual experience. Whereas now it’s every second that I am in the studio playing one instrument or singing and then playing the other instrument. It’s exhausting but at the end of the day I find it more fulfilling. Sometimes I do miss playing just the guitar in a band and someday I hope to do it again, but as for now, I am focusing on my own career.
Check out his song, “Like Paradise” here!
And be sure to follow him on social media!