La Crosse Local

E. 215: Carlie Hanson | Musician

Listen to “E. 215: Carlie Hanson | Musician” on Spreaker.

Music was just around the house a lot…we were always in the car…we always had new Cd’s on…listening to Tracy Chapman…Melissa Etheridge…and a lot of rock bands…a lot of that was in my presence.

We had a moment with rocker Carlie Hanson, we learned more about this musician’s early beginnings, musical heroes, covid experience, the musical journey from social media to ending up in California, and we delved into the new music video “Snot“, and what’s next for this spirited music maker.

Carlie Hanson 01:49
I was born in La Crosse, Wisconsin, but I didn’t live in La Crosse growing up. I grew up in Onalaska and went to school there and all that. I don’t really know. I guess music was just around the house a lot. And my sisters and my mom and I we were always in the car for some reason. I feel like we’re always going for drives and like driving down to Goose Island. And, you know, just we really and like we went to go visit my grandma a lot, which was really far. So we’re always in the car and we always had new CDs on like, I remember growing up listening to Tracy Chapman a lot. Melissa Etheridge, Alanis Morissette and just like a lot of rock bands, like I don’t like Third Eye Blind. So a lot of that was in my presence. Yeah, I guess from a young age, I was just always listening to it. And I would memorize the lyrics and be singing around the house and, and my older sister who is like 27. Yeah, 26, 27, 28. So she put me on to all those cool, you know, those cool artists and was always introducing me to like Evanescence, or Avril Levine and it was just always around. I was very invested.

Brent Hanifl 03:08
Just listening to some of your work the last couple of days, I automatically go to you know, artists like Ella King, things like that. What kind of influences do you think your sound sounds like? Who did you kind of borrow or twist or turn, or?

Carlie Hanson 03:20
Definitely Justin Bieber. I feel like I learned how to sing from him. I don’t know so much like today do I like take musical influence from him. But definitely still like inflections with my voice I find I’m still kind of like stealing from him just because I was always trying to sing like him when I was younger. But musically now like it’s all over the place. There’s so many artists now and I’m just like bouncing from artist to artist, but there’s this artist O Seven O Shake that I really really like. I like Mack DeMarco a lot. And Dominic Fike is a huge inspiration for me. Though I’m still listening to Third Eye Blind and Avril Levine and like taking I feel like that nostalgic kind of guitar and trying to push it into my music.

Brent Hanifl 04:07
What kind of set you down the path that you are now, you know, moving from La Crosse, what kind of like sent you on your journey to where you’ve come to?

Carlie Hanson 04:16
It’s really weird. So like, I’ll try to make it long story short, short version, but I was always posting videos online from a very young age. And then nothing really was happening from like ages 12 to like 14 or 15 or something. But when Instagram came around, I had posted a video on online of me singing a Zayn Malik song and it kind of blew up for a second. And iHeart Radio had reposted it and I remember that was a big deal. And from then, these producers or this manager had seen it and then introduced me to these producers online and I ended up making a trip to Canada with my mom when I was like 16 to go work with these producers for the first time because I was like, I don’t know if I’ll ever get this opportunity ever again. So let’s just take it and run with it. So I worked with these producers, their name is House of Wolf. And they actually are the first, I have my first two songs that I’ve ever put out, Why Did You Lie and Only One, they produced. And I worked with them a bunch in Canada. They came to Los Angeles a few months after that, when I was still like 16, 17. And I just continued to work with them, my mom just came along with me, like, thank God for her because I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without her. And I just continued making music and I kept meeting people along the way, like a few songwriters who helped me meet my manager, my manager to this day, and I just, like kept making music, flying back and forth from Wisconsin to LA. And finally, when I was, I graduated high school early in Onalaska, and I was able to, like, come here and couch surf. And just like continue making music and releasing music. And, yeah, and then it just kind of kept going. And then I got to go meet certain labels with because of my manager really helping me out. And Warner seemed to be the right fit. And yeah, and it just kept snowballing into this.

Brent Hanifl 06:18
Sure. I’ve talked to a lot of musicians over the past 18 months, you know, I’m sure you know, getting things moving, potentially recording new music made everything an issue with COVID. So did that have a big effect on you either creatively, or, you know, kind of took the legs from underneath you or how was that process?

Carlie Hanson 06:36
Yeah, that was like, well, it was just like, really, I don’t know if I can swear, but it was really shitty. Because, like, when nobody knew what was going on, it was like the world had stopped, especially in the music industry. And any chance it’s funny, especially in LA, like any chance someone gets to just like up and leave LA, they will because, you know, it’s I don’t know, that’s just how people are, that’s how I am do a little bit. So like, I feel like everybody kind of just like left, because we were scared as f***, where like, we got to go home to like, whatever, you know, be with our families and whatnot. And so that made things hard, because like, my job is to go to people’s houses and make music with them. And it was just like, no, I don’t have that. And then obviously, COVID was happening, we want to stay safe. So I was stuck at home. And then zoom sessions were a thing, which was really tough. Like, we were like this, trying to make a song together. And then it was just so tough, and it just wasn’t organic, or authentic, and how music should be made. Like it just didn’t, it was really hard and then add on touring not being able to happen. It really just was not fun. Thankfully, I was still able to like, you know, survive and like stay at home. And creatively I feel like I was in a rut for a while, but I still found moments where I would just like be so bored that all I could do is write. That helps me a bit but it really was tough. But within all of that I was learning how to produce on my own because I was stuck with myself and I got the equipment and I have everything and like learned how to record my voice, so it was a blessing and a curse. Like I got to learn these new things and be with myself a little bit longer than I normally would and but I also you know got stripped away the live performances and being with other people and getting their take on songwriting and music making but for the most part I mean it’s iall good now.

Brent Hanifl 08:42
Just seems like people have kind of taken away that time you know those early months were just crazy because you didn’t, you thought the world was ending. But then people kind of readjusted using that time to do what’s important. Recently I got to watch your video Snot. You really did shave your head and got a tattoo.

Carlie Hanson 09:01
I really did.

Brent Hanifl 09:02
How did that concept for that video come about?

Carlie Hanson 09:22
So, I guess well purely the main reason was boredom. I like was just sick of my hair. And I was bored. And also I had bleached my hair a million times, my long hair. And it was just like, not hair anymore, it was yarn. And so I was like, I should just shave my head for that fact. And because I am a huge fan of Lil peep. He has tattoos on the side sides of his hair, or head, tattoos on the sides of his head. And I always thought that was so cool. So I was just like, I don’t know, I just like I guess wanted to shave my head and I just really wanted to do it. And I thought making it a music video would be cool, too. Just film it all, I’m gonna do it anyway. So let’s capture it and make it cool, I guess. But yeah, really no like, epiphany moment it was just like, I want to do this.

Brent Hanifl 10:17
Nice. So what’s next for you? What are you excited for?

Carlie Hanson 10:20
I’ll be dropping this album called Tough Boy in February, early February. So that’s cool. But just excited to get back to playing shows. I feel like that’s where I really give.

Brent Hanifl 10:38
Will this be some of your first shows in 2021 or whatever it is?

Carlie Hanson 10:42
Yeah, I think I’ve played like one or two or I played like four shows, since everything. So yeah, this would be definitely like, still haven’t played a lot this year. But still gonna go hard in the paint.

Brent Hanifl 11:03
zcool. So what should people expect when they show up to one of your shows?

Carlie Hanson 11:08
I always have a band. I have a shirtless drummer, so everyone will love that.

Brent Hanifl 11:13
Yeah, absolutely.

Carlie Hanson 11:14
And I have my guitarist Ryan who yeah, they’ve been my band since like 2017, so we always play together. Just expect a lot of unfortunately swearing. I feel like I swear a lot I realized so I’m sorry in advance. But just a good time. I like to go hard. That’s where I have the most fun and yeah, the band is a good time.

Brent Hanifl 11:39
Sweet. So if people want to find out more, what’s the best avenue for them to go to? What do you update the most?

Carlie Hanson 11:46
Probably recently Tik Tok. So hit the Tok. Hit the Tok, hit the IG, Instagram. But I’m on everything. YouTube, Instagram, Tok, Facebook sometimes. All the things.

Brent Hanifl 12:02
All the things.

Amy Gabay 12:07
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook at La Crosse Local. Find out more about us at and you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local Podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.

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La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.

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