Band of the Month: Ships Have Sailed, interviewed

We recently sat down with Will Carpenter (vocals and guitar) and Art Andranikyan (drums) to ask a couple questions. They’re starting off 2017 strong with the release of a single titled Up. Check out the interview, and links to their new single below!

  1. How did you two come together to form Ships Have Sailed?

In the very beginning, Ships Have Sailed started as a collection of songs that weren’t a fit for my current project, but that I felt a deep connection for.  Not wanting to pitch them for anyone else, I just started producing them on my own and eventually, those songs are what became the ‘Someday’ EP.  People started reacting to ‘Someday’, and I realised I better put a band together, so I made some calls and set up a couple practices.  Over the first couple years, we had some ups and downs, and a couple lineup changes…but I remember how we came to play with Art quite well…and I’ll let him tell the story! – WC

One night in early 2015 I received a text message from Dan, who was the bassist at the time for Ships Have Sailed, asking me if I was available to play a gig for them in Toronto for Canadian Music Week. Dan and I have done some session work together in the past, and I was very excited that I would be playing with him again but I wasn’t sure who the other band members were. So my first experience with Will was a short conversation over the phone, and after we scheduled couple rehearsals. My first impression of Will was “Wow, he was actually on time for rehearsal and was prepared to play”! No jokes! 1,2,3, go type of a rehearsal! We got all the songs ready in a couple rehearsals, then after we took a red eye flight to Ohio, on Spirit airlines. Which if you have flown with Spirit before you know exactly how interesting of an experience that was. Then we had a 6-hour ride up to Toronto, Canada. All in all, we had a really great experience being on the road together and since then we have always had good road and stage chemistry together. Unfortunately, we parted ways with Dan last year so he could pursue some other opportunities, but Will and I are still on this journey together, and it’s been a great run! – AA

  1. When did you first get interested in music, and then into writing your own?

I was always surrounded by music growing up, and I took an interest in classical composers at a very young age.  I taught myself several instruments myself, including piano, guitar and bass over the years, and started noodling around with instrumental composition as young as 7 or so.  I got very interested in more contemporary songwriting once I got exposed to popular music – specific influences such as The Beatles and Nirvana come to mind in that area.  From there I’ve continued to expand my musical tastes over the years, and really nothing has been off limits.  You have to push the boundaries in order to really expand your horizons as an artist…some things work, and other things don’t, but it’s important to try everything! – WC

  1. You mentioned feeling a mix of emotions and trying to put them into your new single, Up. Where did the idea or inspiration come from?

Well, we had just finished a full tour of the west coast, our first.  Art and I had just played the last show on the tour as a duo (our first experience doing that as well) and we both could kinda tell that Dan was juggling too much in his life, and was probably going to need to move on from the project.  So we were in a bit of a low moment, very early in the morning in a van driving to the Seattle airport.  Art was dozing off in the front seat, and this melody and lyrics just popped into my head…it’s not so much that I put the emotions into the song, it’s that they literally created the idea for me… – WC

  1. How did you try to reflect that?

Honestly, this song is one where it wasn’t as much about ‘trying’ and more about just letting it happen.  There were a couple moments in the production process where I really had to try to find the right sonic elements, but as far as the songwriting was concerned ‘Up’ must’ve just really wanted to be born, because it just popped right out!  It wound up being the perfect catalyst for us to get through the moments we were going through at the time, and people are telling us every day that it’s helping them through their moments as well…it’s truly amazing every time we hear someone else’s story, and how the song became a bright spot in their day…just incredibly humbling and it makes us so happy! – WC

  1. What made you want to play music professionally? Individually and together.

As an individual, ever since I can remember I have always had music around me. My father used to play the accordion and my brother used to sing in a band. At all of our family gatherings, there was music present. Being a 3-year-old kid I used to set up my mom’s pots and pans and start rocking out. I picked up the drums in the 5th grade being in a Brazilian marching band at Cheremoya Elementary School in Hollywood. Ever since then I have always been involved in music all thru out my school years. In 2006 I enrolled at Musicians Institute to become a better musician and really understand how it works at a professional level. So I guess my passion for making music, drumming and inspiring others is what made me want to pursue music professionally. – AA

My individual experience started at a really young age as well.  I could ramble about specifics, but I guess what it comes down to is that I’ve never been able to imagine my life without music in it…it’s like this drive to create that I don’t think will ever go away, so you can’t really fight it. – WC

As far as playing music together: We both have been in projects before that haven’t worked out. It takes a lot of work to be in a band, especially if you are working towards taking the band to a professional level. My opinion on why we decided to play music together professionally is couple different things. We always work hard for one reason and one reason only, for the band. We always try hard to inspire one another. We always respect each other’s ideas and opinions, and yes sometimes we don’t agree on things but we always come to an understanding and move forward as a team. – AA

Yeah I would agree…sometimes you just know when you find the right person to build a strong collaboration with.  It’s this interesting moment where you sort of realize that all the experiences in the past that may not have worked out were all leading you to something…that’s how I feel about where Ships is headed, and I’m grateful to the talent, work ethic and dedication Art brings to the project! – WC

  1. What has been some of the best moments so far for Ships Have Sailed?

The first that stands out for me was winning “Best Alternative Song of the Year’ at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards for our song ‘Drive’. Even though the song was written before I was part of Ships Have Sailed, I am still thankful that I got to witness seeing my brother Will’s hard work being acknowledged! Plus I get to play the song live!   

The other best moment for me was completing a full west cost tour starting from San Diego, CA and ending in Vancouver B.C. Then in November we did a North East run starting in New Jersey and ending in Boston (Go Patriots!) We met so many great people, and played some really cool venues, so we’re super grateful for those opportunities! – AA

Well said! The only thing I have to add to the above is that it continues to amaze me that, as we grow, my mind continues to be blown by the incredible people we meet both out on the road, online and in the music industry who are just so supportive of what we’re doing…it’s humbling, and it makes for a great moment almost every day…so thank you all! – WC

  1. You finished up West Coast tour last year, what were some of your favourite cities?

I would have to say it might be a toss up between Portland and Seattle. – AA

Yeah, those two were amazing…but I don’t want to neglect the east coast, so I’ll throw New York and Burlington, VT into the mix! – WC

  1. Where is somewhere that you would love to play, but haven’t yet?

New Orleans and Nashville. – AA

Definitely both of the above, and also the U.K. and Europe…we’re dying to get overseas a bit! – WC

  1. Who are some of your major influences – for Ships Have Sailed and personally?

It’s hard for me to choose because I listen to so many different types of music and bands. Depending on how I feel that day. Sometimes I will only listen to movie soundtracks, then maybe some reggae, or Armenian Folk music, Latin music, rock, pop, acoustic, singer songwriter, etc.… My iTunes music library is very diverse. Lately our song ‘Up’ has been on repeat in our house because my 17 month old son loves it! I mean he starts dancing to soon as soon as he hears it, or I might single the first couple lines and he will run up to me and yank on my shirt telling me to put the song on! – AA

10.What are your goals for the rest of 2017?

Our goal for 2017 is to have no goals.  Haha! Sounds crazy, or stupid perhaps, but last year we ‘planned’ on being in the studio all year and we wound up on the road.  I feel like when you plan things too much you get unsettled when the plans slip one way or another, so this year we’re just going to see where the winds blow and allow ourselves to follow the opportunities that present themselves! – WC

  1. Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans?

Just that we’re extremely humbled and grateful for all your love and support.  It’s a pretty tumultuous time in the world right now, but our growing Sailor family keeps us on course and picks us up when we’re going through rough waters…we can only hope that our music continues to do the same for you! – Will & Art

Find Ships Have Sailed on Twitter!