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E-mail interview with Justin Reynolds, vocalist & guitarist of Careo. Get to know the band below & check out a free download of the title track from their last album Liars here.

First off, since you’ll be new to most of our readers, can you give a short back story of the band?

Yeah of course. John and I have been playing together in various bands since 1997 and after our last band Mending Point ended in 2005, he and Brennan (a young guitar student of his at the time) started working on some great ideas and I came along to play bass and sing a bit once I heard what they were up to. It was all pretty loose at the time since we were a bit burned out by the “business” from the previous few years. Our goal was to start over again, in regards to creativity, friendship and thinking outside the box musically. No agenda other than writing great songs and having fun doing it. Ryan, and long time friend, came along in 2009 once we decided to pick things up after a short hiatus.

Who are the various members and what instruments do they play?

John Beckler plays guitar, Ryan McClurg plays bass and sings, Brennan plays drums and I sing and play guitar now that we have a better bassist!

Where did the name Careo come from? Is there a meaning behind it?

John came up with the idea after seeing the word Careo somewhere, which is Latin for “to be without, or to be deprived of”. To us, it sounded unique, non-genre specific and actually had a few relevant meanings.

You guys are from Batavia a small town in upstate New York. How is the overall music scene there?

The music scene heyday is over at the moment in Batavia, so like most bands around here, we struggle to find shows to play locally. We hope to change that in 2011.

Describe Careo’s overall sound.

We like to think we have a good mix of indie rawness with radio friendly accessibility. I realize that’s pretty vague, but we’re just a guitar based rock band at the end of the day that tries to bridge a lot of gaps. We’re not really tied to a particular scene. We’re going for “timeless”!

Who are your bands biggest influences musically and lyrically?

We’re into a ton of melodic rock bands like Jimmy East World, Foo Fighters, Further Seems Forever, Mae, Elliott, some more conceptual bands like The Receiving End of Sirens and a number of indie folk artists such as Ryan Adams and Death Cab for Cutie. Lyrically, I try to write as poetically as possible, but trying to be literal enough that our message or theme comes across in the end. It’s a hard balance sometimes, but we hope to improve with each song/album we write. Like all good songs, we want to leave some room for the listener to paint their own pictures and places when they hear us, but still have some direction.

You released your latest full length, Liars, in October. How has the overall reaction been?

So far, we’ve been pretty wowed by people’s encouragement. Those who have taken the time to actually absorb the record seem to love it. It’s a heavy album, in terms of content, but we have a lot on our heart that we’re trying to convey. We feel the ball has just started rolling in terms of the fact that we have no label support and haven’t played much in the last two years, so it feels like starting over again, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing either! I think it’s our “sleeper” album.

Why did you guys make the decision to offer it on Noisetrade where listeners can get the album for free? Where can fans pick up a physical copy if they want one?

Well being a tiny little band, not giving something digital away for free is just shooting ourselves in the foot. I think we’re realistic enough to know that there aren’t thousands of people waiting for our releases. We’d rather gain fans that appreciate good music by being generous, than make a few extra bucks trying to sell something to the unknowing public. That being said, we still printed a nice CD package that’s available at our Big Cartel store and at shows.

Was the recording session for Liars the first time recording with Careo? How did the recording process go?

This is our second project to be released. We put out an EP in 2006, which we did with Kevin Bruchert (The Glorious Unseen etc.) but this record we recorded in my basement and really took our time to perfect the experience. Even though we self-produced, we had amazing talent helping us out in mixing and mastering, and the end product is something we’re immensely proud of.

You recently posted on Twitter that you have new songs in the works. Are you planning a release yet or just writing? What can we expect from the new songs?

We’re working on writing another EP, since they’re far more digestible for us and listeners, and we’re REALLY excited about the songs we have so far. We’ve simplified a few things and are once again, simply trying to write the best tunes we can. I think people will be happy and surprised by the project. It may still be conceptual, but not as heavy lyrically. It’s going to be more uplifting I think.

Let’s talk about your songwriting process. Is there a main songwriter or is it a group effort?

We all write the music together and it’s an open forum in regards to ideas. All four of us are extremely capable of good ideas and care about the overall song more than anything, which says a lot. I like this band, cause there doesn’t seem to be any real egos, which isn’t typical of rock musicians!

I would assume that the band is a part-time thing for you right now. Would you do this full-time if the opportunity presented itself?

We’re realistic, and yes we’re part-time. I have an awesome family and Brennan is engaged, so that poses obvious responsibilities we can’t ignore. We make no money at the moment as individuals through Careo. Right now we can focus on our art at our own pace and just enjoy our time together, which we do, whether we’re doing music or not. We truly are best friends, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

Any upcoming tours / tour dates we should take note of?

Not at the moment, though we have some potential shows in the works for the Rochester, NY area

Do you consider Careo to be a ministry or just a band made up of Christians?

We’re believers that just write from the heart, and much of that is made up of God-centered topics, and much of that is also made up of human life experiences and struggles we see around us. We have no real agenda in that area, but we want anyone to be able to appreciate our music and songs regardless of their beliefs. We’re a “music” band rather than a “Christian” band I suppose.

Are there any major goals that you’d like to accomplish with this band?

We’d love to see some of our own songs become part of a film or television soundtrack and explore some of those avenues, but really our long term goal is to continue to release our best music for years to come.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Go and grab our album Liars from Noisetrade for free. I know all bands say this, but we really believe you’ll grow to love the record if you give it a few listens. Ignore the inclination to grab only a few tracks and treat the whole project as an experience. We’re pretty darn sure you won’t be let down.

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