“We want to play the Weezer cruise!” Eva Grace Hendricks exclaims, bursting into a fit of excited laughter. “It sounds like the height of ridiculousness.” Driving from Portland to San Francisco on tour with PUP and Rozwell Kid, Charly Bliss are having the time of their lives – and that’s what it’s all about, really, isn’t it? “The essence of a Charly Bliss song is fun,” Eva affirms. “The more we’ve toured and played our songs, the more that’s been cemented as what we’re hoping to come across. We want people to have as much fun as possible. That’s really important to us.”
If there’s anything to be gained from Charly Bliss’ music, it’s a sense of enjoyment. The band’s self-termed bubblegrunge sound brings infectious pop hooks to life in an addictively raw style. Larger than life guitars and driving rhythms resound with an all-encompassing energy, sugar sweet vocals and searing solos glimmering like a diamond in the rough. Debut EP ‘A Lot To Say’ might be “so far from what we sound like now that I don’t know if I would totally count it” (and consequently has vanished from their bandcamp), but it allowed the group to cut their teeth and take their first steps towards something truly great.
Sounding stadium ready from the outset, the expectations the quartet – completed by guitarist Spencer Fox, bassist Dan Shure, and drummer Sam Hendricks – had for themselves were decidedly more down to earth. “At the beginning we were so excited just to be making music at all,” Eva chuckles. “Then when we started playing shows we were ridiculously excited that anyone would let us play a show anywhere.” Landing national tour slots with the likes of Darwin Deez and Veruca Salt, the group are watching their dreams come true around them.
“Our first show with Veruca Salt I don’t think it fully registered with any of us what touring with them was going to mean, or how big of a leap that was going to feel,” Eva recalls. “It was a huge venue, and there were tons of people, and everyone was dancing. I kept looking around and seeing everyone’s faces and we’re all just like ‘WHAT IS HAPPENING? THIS IS WHAT THIS CAN BE LIKE? HOLY CRAP!’” With a debut album “about 90% there,” moments like this one don’t look set to stop happening any time soon.
Initially recorded late last year, sessions for the band’s first full-length were quickly shelved as the four-piece (then recently joined by Dan on bass) began to flourish in the understanding of their ever-expanding possibilities. “I think that going into it, we really didn’t know what we wanted,” Eva explains. “We didn’t really know which route we wanted to go, or what aspects of our sound we wanted to highlight. When we heard the recordings back, we heard that from ourselves.”
Having already been playing the songs on the road and started to work on yet more new material, the group knew they were capable of creating better. So that’s exactly what they decided to do. “We wanted it to sound a lot like our live shows, and have a similar energy to our live shows,” Eva illustrates. “That was the biggest challenge in recording this. I feel like we achieved it well. I’m feeling really good about how it’s sounding.”
With songs occupying the space “in between feeling really young and feeling older” and “relating to things in life changing,” the record-in-progress is the essence of who the band are. “Some of the songs make me feel nostalgic for a way I felt at a certain time. Some of them I can hear myself grappling with things a little bit better,” Eva characterises. “More on that when they’re out,” she teases. And how long a wait that will be? “We’re dying to put it out!” she shouts. “It’s so important to us, now that we’ve been sitting on it for so long, for it to come out in a way that we’re all feeling very excited and good about. Hopefully as soon as possible.”
Charly Bliss are on the verge of greatness, but they’re not in any hurry to get there. Savouring every moment on their rollercoaster thrill ride, travelling in a van from city to city, the band are bringing their excitement to light for as many people as possible – and word is already starting to spread like wildfire. “We love playing shows, we think that’s the best part of all this,” Eva enthuses. “We want to continue to do that with more and new bands that inspire us. If you have us, we will come.”
Taken from the July issue of Upset, out now – order your copy here.