Already drawing comparisons to rock icon Amy Lee, Buckingham has a long career ahead of her.
Review Fix: How does it feel to be compared to Amy Lee (of Evanescence) at just 16?
Carmel Buckingham: Unbelievable. Evanescence was one of my entryways into this genre when I was growing up and I gawked at Amy Lee the way my sister (Celeste) did to Barbra Streisand. She was definitely one of my inspirations, because I saw this amazing frontwoman who did what she loved and kicked ass, and I thought, hell yeah, I can do this.
Review Fix: How did the band get together?
Buckingham: The boys all attend Belmont University here in town, so that’s how we met. We got together to play for the first time and see how if we would get along, and it all just worked out and went from there.
Review Fix: How has music affected your life?
Buckingham: Whoa, that’s a loaded question. How has music not affected my life? It’s hard to imagine what I’d be doing without music in my life, because I find it so integral to my identity. I hate to say it like this, because it’s impossibly cliché and overdone, but music’s always been there for me—when people haven’t. Especially when I discovered my favorite band, which completely changed my life. Music is my escape—the place I go when I need to get away, whether it’s listening to it, writing it, or playing it.
Review Fix: How has all the traveling you’ve done played a part in your musical tastes?
Buckingham: It’s definitely helped introduce me to various genres; as well as expose me to music I wouldn’t normally listen to. You learn to appreciate music in a new way. You might not like every genre or every song, but you can appreciate the thought and the work behind it, which is definitely an eye-opening revelation.
Review Fix: What’s your favorite song on the album? Why?
Buckingham: I like different songs for different reasons. Some are a blast to play live and some were great to record, but if I had to pick a favorite, I’d have to say New Hampshire. New Hampshire is one of those songs that’s fun and loud and you can jam to in the car, and still it’s packed tight with angst and bitterness and frustration. It’s real and raw, which is something I find so important when it comes to writing music.
Review Fix: How was “Catastrophe” written? Is there a story behind it?
Buckingham: I actually wrote Catastrophe before we formed the band and then when we got together, I brought it out and we collaborated on it. There’s a story behind it—there’s a story behind almost all of the songs on the album—and it’s a familiar one, one that most everyone can relate to. It’s about falling in love, the authentic human experience, and all the pain and hardship that comes along with love and relationships out in the real world. I’m the kind of person that tries to never take anything to heart, in order to avoid getting hurt, and Catastrophe kind of shows the real emotions behind that shrug-it-off attitude. It’s for everyone who smiles and says, “I’m fine”, when they’re really not, because it’s telling you, “hey, you’re not alone; I get it. It sucks.”
Review Fix: What song on this album do you think has the best story behind it? Why?
Buckingham: Personally, I’m partial to Come Back Home. The guys might disagree with me on this, but I have a special attachment to Come Back Home because it was actually a co-write with one of my best friends, Hunter—one of those beautifully unplanned co-writes. We’d been talking for almost two hours; he had so much on his mind, and was so frustrated because he didn’t know how to express what he was feeling. So we sat down by the piano and I started playing chords and told him to just go for it, and it resulted in Come Back Home.
Review Fix: What is your average day like?
Buckingham: It’s really not all that glamorous. I’m pretty busy what with schoolwork and such and when I’m free—which is not often—I usually hole up in my room on my computer. I’m not-so-secretly a huge introvert, so I have to force myself into social situations. I’m much more comfortable hiding out in my room and spending hours on Tumblr. Being on stage is the only place I feel comfortable being loud and confident—and it’s definitely my favorite place to be.
Review Fix: How do you squeeze in being an average 16-year-old with music?
Buckingham: Honestly, I think of it like a job. Most of my friends have part-time jobs, so I consider my music to be the same; only it’s a hell of a lot more fun than waiting tables. I’m always busy, though; I’ll either be at school or rehearsal and when I’m not, I’m doing homework or writing songs. I wouldn’t change it even if I could, though. I thrive when there’s a lot to do, so I thoroughly enjoy being busy.
Review Fix: What was the creative process like for this album?
Buckingham: In a word, chaotic. We were on a deadline, so everything was done in a hurry, but that made it kind of great. I’d written all of the lyrics prior to meeting the guys and putting the band together, and didn’t know what to expect as we started adding music to it. It was a great feeling; the guys are so talented and committed to what they do and they have this phenomenal positive energy. We finished the songs in a matter of a month or two and recorded all the instruments in a span of two days, so thinking back, it really all feels like a blur. But a fun blur—this busy, hectic time when all we were focusing on was the music, and through it we grew as a band and as people.
Review Fix: What are your goals for this album?
Buckingham: It’s our first album. And my goals are really for it to be that first album. We had something to say with that album, and I like to think we managed to say it. So I guess my goal is pretty simple—I want people to hear it. It’s probably my favorite thing about the whole experience, when people hear a song and connect with it.
Review Fix: What have you learned from this experience?
Buckingham: Never stop working. I’ve always been determined and overly ambitious, but this has really shown me the importance of hard work. You can’t just be talented and sit around waiting for someone to offer you a record deal. Life doesn’t work like that. You have to really want it and put in the work to prove it.