Hotel Mira's Charlie Kerr on his upcoming album, depression & new visuals..
Vancouver's Hotel Mira are preparing the release of their upcoming album that has yet to be given a title (though the intro in their latest music video could be a hint), but their latest releases are creating much deserved hype surrounding their upcoming project. Lead singer Charlie Kerr is combining his thoughtful and layered lyrics with Hotel Mira's catchy sound that is bound to rip the roof off any venue in town. We got in touch with him for some questions concerning their latest shows and inspiration behind their upcoming album, which you can check out below. Whispers of a new album commenced with their first single "The Eyes On You" (which you can find on our playlist Burn Slow Vibes) that demonstrated the catchy direction their music was going. According to Charlie, they channelled the infectious and fun energy from songs like Rick James "Super Freak" and Village People's "YMCA," but remained focused on finding their own sound. Their second single "This Could Be It For You" dropped a couple weeks ago with the cinematic visuals releasing shortly after; directed by Zachary Vague and Sterling Larose. The idea for the video was to visualize exactly what the song makes the listener feel and what Charlie Kerr hoped to get across. This is Hotel Mira's best work to date so their upcoming album is sure to be a classic.
Watch the visuals for "This Could Be It For You" and check out our interview with lead singer/songwriter of Hotel Mira, Charlie Kerr below.
An Interview with Charlie Kerr of Hotel Mira
By Francis Baptiste
- You’ve called the song [This Could Be It For Me] “a battlecry for help.” How has depression affected your life and writing?
Charlie Kerr: I mean, I really have no other existence to compare it to. I only have an abstract idea of what having a neurotypical brain feels like, so that’s a hard question to answer but I’ll do my best. All I know is that living with a mental illness is a constant confusing struggle and I would be doing myself and those like me a disservice by shying away from that reality in my writing. It’s like I am on a life-long quest to be understood and understand my humanity and I do that primarily through my writing. I try to un-earth an uncomfortable truth or ask scary questions. So when it came to TCBIFM I can’t remember the exact instance but I think I was at a concert that I had gone to by myself and I was anxious and I was having a lot of suicidal thoughts and I was keeping them to myself and I had a realization that at any time in any social gathering, there could be a large chunk of those people contemplating suicide. And because mental illness is for the most part “invisible” it kind of is in our best interest to voice that. And the frustrating paradox of how that might make people more uncomfortable, especially if you are a people pleaser / perfectionist like myself.
- The latest singles have been very catchy. Is that something you’ve been working on with this new material?
Charlie Kerr: Thank you. Yeah, I have always wanted and strived to make catchy music. And as my abilities as a technical musician and singer grew so did my ability to write more elaborate melodies. I just think it’s a sign of the music growing and evolving. Like “The Eyes On You” is like a real ‘singer’s song’. I have only been able to write and sing songs like that in the past year or so.
- What message do you hope fans will walk away from listening to this new single?
Charlie Kerr: I hope that they feel less alone and seen if they are struggling or if they have a loved one who is struggling because that is no fucking picnic either.
- This past May you headlined Re-Mind in support of the B.C. Schizophrenia Society. Was this performance especially important to you?
Charlie Kerr: Yeah, I was honored when we were asked to play. And it was a very vulnerable show for me. Especially considering the line-up was just us and a woman doing readings from her book on her lived experience with schizophrenia. And we each did a Q and A. So it wasn’t a traditional triumphant cool sexy rock show and that’s kind of what I liked about it.
- It was your bassist’s birthday on Tuesday. Did you guys do anything fun to celebrate amid all your recent releases?
Charlie Kerr: I love Mikey so much. He had a party that looked like a lot of fun, but I was having a bad brain day, so I couldn’t make it, but he was super understanding but a couple days later I took him for Nando’s which is kind of the amount of excitement I am digging these days.
- The video for This Could Be It For Me is very beautiful. What was the inspiration behind the visuals?
Charlie Kerr: I think for the video we were trying to capture what the song was about without being entirely on-the-nose about it. Sterling and I sat down and discussed what could be some cool creative ways at getting these things across and that’s what we came up with.
- How has your songwriting process changed throughout the years?
Charlie Kerr: I think just like anything else it grows and evolves and changes. I think in the early days I was just obsessed with wordplay and if I could make my friends laugh or whatever. These days I would say I try to focus a bit more on writing lyrics that would hold their own if there wasn’t any music as a backdrop.
- What were your main influences and muses for the album you’re working on?
Charlie Kerr: I think influence-wise we were trying to find our own sound. The call and answer gang-vocals all over the new stuff kind of came from trying to channel the really fun and infectious sections of Rick James’ “super freak” and The village people “YMCA”. I was listening to a lot of Phoebe Bridgers at the time and that might be noticeable or maybe it’s not. But mostly we were just making beautiful music and trying to forget the past and the future things we had made. There’s a guitar solo that Colton does at one point, and the main thing we wanted was for it to be unique and not sound like any solos we had really heard before. Just focusing on this project and how it was living in us. Plus, Eric is a really creative dude and he had his ideas that broadened the sound with some really cool things we never would have thought of. And muse-wise, I would say love and sex and mental illness are the main themes in the songs.
- Charlie, are there any plans for another Matt And Sam’s Brother album?
Charlie Kerr: Never say never but I pretty much get to do whatever I want in Hotel Mira so I am not sure MASB needs to exist as it was pretty much an outlet for things that didn’t make sense under the umbrella of the old band.