In a region where the indie-rock scene has veered towards the melodic, lo-fi, chill, pop side of music, CHARMS stands out. Instead of sugar sweet confessional lyrics, you’ll find complex, layered, experimental instrumentation peppered with sparse yet poignant lyrics set to completely original melodies. Math rock, noise punk, whatever you want to call it—CHARMS sounds different, which is a good thing. In a scene with plenty of musical homogeneity at the moment, CHARMS brings a sound that is refreshingly original.
“The freedom that comes with [Washington’s cannabis culture] is liberating to people, and it allows people to feel more comfortable to do their thing at a show, smoke a joint outside or whatever and making it more enjoyable for themselves.”
These psychedelic sounds lend themselves to the cannabis-laden ears of Washingtonians. Additionally, CHARMS bassist Josh McCormick is no stranger to cannabis. McCormick works at Jet City Gardens in Georgetown, a boutique producer and he describes his job as “the best job ever.” CULTURE was able to connect with McCormick, who chatted about the band, its music and of course, cannabis.
How did CHARMS come to be?
It’s kind of convoluted, but basically Ray [McCoy], and E.J. [Tolentino], the guitarist and drummer started this thing. It was more of a, I guess you would say “poppy project” when it first started than it is now. It was just the two of them. So, they brought me in basically to just fatten things up and round out the sound.
Are all the band members originally from Seattle?
EJ and I are. I’m from the Eastside, he’s from the Kitsap Peninsula. Ray was an army brat and moved around a lot, but I think he would probably say he’s from Vermont, Burlington to be exact.
What bands have influenced your sound?
They’re pretty all over the place. Honestly I think all three of us are mostly listening to hip-hop these days. When the band was figuring out who we wanted to be, we made a pretty big transition somewhere along the way and evolved a lot, and I think bands like Battles and HEALTH really influenced that transition.
Does cannabis legalization and the PNW’s cannabis-friendly culture impact CHARMS?
I’m sure it does! The freedom that comes with [Washington’s cannabis culture] is liberating to people, and it allows people to feel more comfortable to do their thing at a show, smoke a joint outside or whatever, ultimately making it more enjoyable for themselves.
What’s your favorite thing to listen to when you’ve consumed cannabis?
Old-school rap, basically. Also, underground west coast rap. Like Andre Nickatina, Bay Area rap. It was the music I was listening to when I first got stoned. You know that like epiphany moment you have when you listen to music when you first get stoned? I was listening to rap back then. So I like to go back to that when I get high.
CHARMS newest album, Human Error comes out June 16 on Killroom Records. If you’re ready to start your summer off with some fresh Seattle rock, this album will help you do it in style.
SEE CHARMS LIVE:
June 15 @ Chop Suey, Seattle