Founded in 2018, Carmen is the solo project of US-born Chad Villarroel…or at least, that was the plan. Beginning in his bedroom in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Carmen was Villarroel’s sonic expression of life, love and despair. Fast forward a year (give or take), he released Carmen’s debut EP Pause/Again and tapped some friends from the Florida music scene to up the ante on his live shows. In 2020, the current line-up of Carmen is Chad Villarroel (vocals and guitar), David Johns (bass), Daniel Johns (guitar) and Jack Ringca (drums).
Influenced by alt-rock and indie-rock bands like Arctic Monkeys, Muse, The 1975 and Kings of Leon, one would image a dynamic, loud and fast sound from the group. To be honest, Carmen’s music is not far off from the assumed sound; however, it is far more mature and steady than a mish-mash of these influences. The latest addition to their discography is the single ‘Better Luck Next Time’.
If Kings of Leon were to have a baby with Kasabian and it was raised by Casino, the chances are it would be Carmen. The guitar-driven ‘Better Luck Next Time’ is an example of dynamic instrumentation combined with bold, warm and effortless vocals. While the single touches on issues of infatuation, romantic confusion and lost love, it does lean to a rather poignant concept; however, the sophistication of the melodic tune makes it more endearing and heartwarming than heart-wrenching.
“In terms of musical composition, my favourite way to express these darker feelings is within the context of happier sounding music – something someone can dance and bob their head to. This juxtaposition resonates with me as a listener the most, so I really like when that comes together in my songwriting.” – Chad Villarroel on ‘Better Luck Next Time’