Caroline Smith And The Good Night Sleeps


It feels like Caroline Smith & The Good Night Sleeps are playing about 400 shows a year at the moment – there simply don’t seem to be enough days in the year to satisfy the sticky snowball of support that they are building up all over the world. They have been in Europe this year and they have just announced more dates in the US. They are also about to finish recording their fourth album. Their very distinctive brand of powerful blues folk pop is lead by the incredible Caroline Smith who possesses a voice of rare brilliance and one that will take a residency in your head. I was lucky enough to be able to corner her and ask a few questions JUST before she left to go back on tour with the band. Here is what happened:

You have just released a set of new tour dates in the US. Does this fill you with pure excitement or is there a little bit of you that finds life on the road tough?

You know, to be honest, I love being out on the road and I love touring, but no part of me is excited right now. The two weeks before leaving for tour is the most hectic two weeks I’ve ever experienced. There’s so much to get done and so much music to rehearse (I’m stressing myself out right now) that I don’t really get to feel the excitement like everyone else in the band feels. But I will say that the first day of tour definitely feels like I’m turning in my final paper of the semester and I can just enjoy break. But it’s not break, it’s actually more work. But it’s work that I enjoy doing!

You’ve been in Europe recently. How was your reception? Were my fellow Europeans friendly?

Playing for Europeans is amazing! Here is my playing in Europe anecdote for when people ask me this question. When we were playing in Paris, we were so nervous. It was our first show in Paris ever, so naturally we were totally freaked out to discover that we didn’t have another band playing with us on the bill and we didn’t have a sound guy. We definitely thought no one was going to show up. But at 22h on the dot, people filed in and absolutely packed the place mostly for a band they’d never heard and they were dead quiet. So quiet, in fact, that at one point a young man answered the phone during one of our songs and he was literally corralled out of the very cramped audience who was having ‘none of that.’ And after each song the audience would erupt in to cheers and banging on tables and walls–that is something that is very European: banging on tables and walls while cheering! It was awesome.

You are from Minneapolis – how connected to the music scene there do you feel, and in what way has it influenced you.

I feel very, very, very connected to the music scene here in Minneapolis. This city is unique for the support it shows its local musicians and that sort of support allows me to do things like tour around the US and go to Europe. It has influenced me to keep pushing and to keep driving forward. With out that gargantuan amount of support back home, I wouldn’t be able to do half the things I get to do. Minneapolis is truly amazing.

You began on your own, performing solo and writing music to be delivered largely unaccompanied. How have you found the process of adding a band, and how does it affect your writing process?

You know, it makes the writing process about 30,000 times harder, but it adds diversity and depth to my songs, which is totally worth the long nights and arguing about silly minutia. My band mates are my best friends; we have been stuck in a van together for about five years now–we were either going hate each other or love each other. They are like my brothers, except for the bass player because he’s my boyfriend and that would be weird. But they definitely allow me to split up some of the work load that a musician experiences. Even as far as me saying to Jesse, “I’m so tired and socially exhausted, could you talk to these people for me while I stand and smile behind you?” I can’t even tell you how valuable it is to have someone do that for you when you’re on your 47th day of tour.

You are in the process of recording your fourth album. How is this process going? What can we expect from this album?

This is the first time we’ve had a label involved with the record making process and I’ll tell you it hasn’t been easy. Man, they don’t let anything slip past without a discussion and that has been very exhausting. But as we just round the corner to finishing the record, I can safely say that this is the best record I’ve ever made. People can expect and new maturity and an outright sassiness in every single song.

If I were to switch on your ipod now, what would be playing?

Erykah Badu.

Do you have a place in the world that means more to you than anywhere else? A special place…

Yes, a small island in the outer banks of North Carolina. My family and I go there every summer and have ever since I was born. My mother went there every summer since she was 5 years old. Last year was our 50th anniversary. It is my favorite place in the entire world.

What inspires you to write songs?

Honestly it’s whatever I’m feeling strongly about at that current time in my life. I used to be very concerned with boys when I was younger so all of my songs were Taylor Swift-esque. Now I’m more focused on becoming a woman and what that means for me and the women around me. I tell you what, those songs are way more fun to write than the lonely songs about boys.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in music?

You know honestly, my friends make fun of me for this because people ask me this all the time and I always say “accounting.” If I up and quit music, I would totally go find a job where I got to hideaway and crunch numbers. Pretty ridiculous, I know, but the absolute truth.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?

In the UK hanging out with you! *

Finally, when can we expect to see you in The UK?

Hopefully, sooner than 5 years!

*By you, I think she meant me, but I can’t be totally sure. If you would like to imagine she means *YOU* then by all means allow yourself to get carried away.

Have a watch below.