Will Carpenter is the vocalist/guitarist/mastermind behind the amazing Ships Have Sailed, their latest single, “Take My Money” is -on the very surface- a cheeky and upbeat alt-pop jam that even flirts with 90s Pop-Punk; but just below all that crisp high energy, there lies a witty and incisive commentary on consumerism and the hypnotic power of the internet and its many dopamine-releasing reward mechanisms.
We had a nice chat with the captain of Ships Have Sailed on the topics surrounding the single and we uncovered more of that biting commentary and can-do attitude, have a look:
“Take My Money” is a fun kind of indictment against the overuse of social media and technology. Do you often find yourselves glued to your devices? do you feel like it’s affected your creative output in any way?
I’m not gonna lie, I struggle with this issue daily. On the one hand, I rely on my devices and the apps and platforms on it in almost every way: for personal and professional connections, convenience and access, and also to help Ships Have Sailed remain active and relevant online. With that said, yes, I often catch myself being distracted by push notifications or just randomly falling into Twitter or Instagram holes, and I have to intervene and make myself take a break and focus on other things for a while.
The song has a very catchy and almost manic ADHD vibe to it, Was that a conscious play on the lyrical themes, or was that some beautiful after-the-fact Irony you noticed when you put the whole tune together?
I would say that manic energy was the very first thing that struck me in the fragment of the idea, and good on you for picking up on it! I think that is really the biggest reason why this concept actually gelled…if we tried to present it in any other way than a kind of frenetic complacency I think it would probably fall flat.
On a positive spin: Which Social media platform you think has had the most positive impact for Ships?
Honestly, I’m going to say Patreon. I know, I know…it’s not REALLY social media, but we soft-launched our page during COVID (we’re not really directly pushing people there yet) and we’re starting to build a really nice little community of people who genuinely care not only about the music but also about us as humans and each other as well…it’s been super cool to watch it grow and start to allow it to evolve with the help of our little community there – like everyone has a stake in the project almost, so it’s a cool place to go with very rough content pieces or sketches of ideas and just test the waters of whether or not things are interesting. We’ve been starting to do this musically as well – demo listening sessions and whatnot, and it’s been a really amazing experience!
We all have an activity or two that we engage in to unplug from the constant stream of information, what are yours?
I love to cook, hike, do yoga, and lately, I’ve been doing some cycling and some rowing. Of course, the obvious answer for me is creating music or just noodling around on a guitar – I find that really therapeutic as well, but as a human being I love a lot of leisure activities, both active and perhaps less so. I’ve really been digging into home improvement projects as well!
On a more sour note: The Pandemic put your 2020 tour on hold, is there any news on that front? any idea when you might be able to hit the road again?
We are proceeding with caution. At our level, we would be playing 100 – 500 capacity indoor rooms and I just don’t want to be that guy that invites people to gather in small enclosed spaces just because I miss playing live…I think we don’t have enough long term data on these vaccines to guarantee peoples safety and I don’t want to be the cause of anyone getting ill or worse. That said, we will be starting to be a bit more active on the Live Streaming front and if we were fortunate enough to be invited to play outdoor events such as festivals or an opening slot on a larger tour (playing sheds or amphitheaters) we would absolutely jump at the opportunity to do so!
If you could go back to early 2019 and tell yourselves something about these past 2 years, what would that be?
Really REALLY enjoy the next 12 months. Put the studio work on hold, get out on the road and engage with some people…trust that the months after that will give you enough time to create what you need. But then again, if we had done that then perhaps “Take My Money” (which was created in 2019 actually) might not be the song it is…I really think that, no matter whether it feels that way at any given moment, the universe has a way of making sure we’re right where we should be at any given time.
Forget the Pandemic and the restrictions, you can play any venue in the world right now, jammed-packed to the brim. Which venue is that and why?
The Greek Theatre. I know it’s not the biggest, but that’s why I love it…it’s the perfect size to feel large, but still a little intimate and the sound is fantastic. Playing there has long been a dream of mine.
Lastly: Do you think we can still save ourselves from being too “online” or has that ship sailed? Should we simply learn to live with the consequences both positive and negative?
I think there’s always a way to course-correct, but it would require everyone to really agree on what the boundaries are (as far as data harvesting and snooping for targeting and whatnot) and implement guardrails against the exploitive behavior that a lot of these software platforms rely on for their income and growth. We would have to recognize that it would really impact our current state of life and even our economy, because we’ve gone down this road and allowed it to run rampant for quite some time…so there would be a certain amount of pain involved – like re-breaking an old bone break that didn’t heal correctly, and we’d have to be ok with that. Will it happen? Impossible for me to say…we’ll have to wait and see!
CONNECT WITH SHIPS HAVE SAILED
photos / courtesy of artist
story / Samuel Aponte