Charly Bliss Will Make A 'Guppy' Out Of You
Learn more about the indie rock band's radical dynamics
Photo courtesy of Charly Bliss
Contrary to what you might have assumed, Charly Bliss is a real person. When I interviewed the group's front woman, Eva Hendricks, she told me the band is named after a friend of theirs who was throwing a party. "It's funny, people will accidentally tag him in pictures of us on Instagram and stuff like that," she says. "I sent his girlfriend merch of ours once."
The four-piece band comprised of siblings Eva and Sam Hendricks, Spencer Fox, and Dan Shure came together while Eva was attending the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU. The timing worked out because the band was able to focus on learning how to make music without putting too much pressure on themselves to be "the best band in the world."
"Being in college, in a way, allowed our band to have this really nice, slow start where we could figure out what we really were as a band," says Eva. "Almost everyone else in the band was in college, too, and we were just so thrilled that we were playing shows in New York and so excited by that idea that we didn't even realize that we were playing really crappy venues and really bad shows."
Eva hugely benefitted from her professors in the program who taught her the ropes of management, recording, booking, and touring. Charly Bliss became her senior thesis, and she's been able to take it to the next phase post-grad. Over the past three years, Charly Bliss has been working on their debut album, Guppy. The title references their status as underdogs without explicitly claiming the term—Eva thinks it comes across in more "sweet" and "positive," this way.
After scrapping the original full-length record, the band re-recorded it a year ago. When listening to it, you feel like Eva is having a private conversation with you the entire time. Tracks like "DQ" and "Percolator" show Eva making fun of herself, whereas "Black Hole" touches on an emotionally abusive relationship. That raw honesty is further emphasized by the roaring shred of garage-style guitars that are balanced out by a steady rhythm provided by the bass and drums.
Guppy is out now via Barsuk Records, and Charly Bliss is currently on their first ever headlining tour. Learn more about the dynamics of the band in the interview with all of the members, below.
What are you most proud of so far in terms of your career?
Eva Hendricks: Completing and releasing our first record!
Spencer Fox: The fact that I am able to sustainably play shows across the country with my three best friends never ceases to amaze me.
Dan Shure: Getting to travel the country and play fun shows with amazing bands!
Sam Hendricks: Releasing our first ever full-length album.
What famous person dead or living do most wish you could have as a roommate?
EH: Mary Kay Place.
SF: I just feel like John Krasinski would be so caring as a roommate? Like the type of roommate who would find out that you had a bad day and instantly be like, “We’re going out.”
DS: Sarah Silverman or John Early.
SH: Jeff Probst.
What is your favorite driving music?
EH: “Solsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel, “East Northumberland High” by Hannah Montana, “I Found A Way” by Drake Bell
SF: I don’t have a driver’s license, but I often daydream about shredding on a pair of Heelys while listening to the movie Grind’s original soundtrack.
DS: Frank Ocean.
SH: "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" by Arcade Fire
Whose career would you most like to emulate?
EH: Mark Cuban or Lori Greiner.
SF: Mark Wahlberg’s character in the movie Rock Star.
DS: Jason Schwartzman.
SH: Jeff Probst.
What’s your favorite place to write music?
EH: Usually just my room, but I actually also write a lot of my best ideas while I’m working at the coffee shop where I’ve worked for the past two years. Specifically while making giant tubs of cold brew in the basement, for whatever reason!
SF: I love the feeling of coming up with a melodic idea when I’m out walking somewhere.
DS: My bedroom, but I have landlords who live above me... Ideally, I imagine a space that is soundproof and I can sing and yell loudly without feeling self-conscious.
SH: I always write music in my bedroom. It's the only place where I'm comfortable enough to try new ideas that I'd normally feel self-conscious about.
If you had to wear one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?
EH: I think about this all the time, and I don’t think I have a good answer. I heard the term “emotional dresser” for the first time recently, and I think that applies to me, though the real word for it might just be “neurotic.” Hmm… Maybe a black sweater, black cheerleading skirt, black tights, black Docs? It has to be something that's neutral enough to wear for a literal lifetime, nice enough for weddings and funerals, comfortable enough to sleep in… you’re sending me down an anxiety K-hole! How could there be a correct answer to this question?!
SF: The flesh suit that disguises my true reptilian form.
DS: A jumpsuit.
SH: The hoodless sweatshirt of a band that we once toured with. Not only are sweatshirts the most comfortable articles of clothing in existence, but the nostalgia factor of wearing the merch of a band who you look up to makes it even warmer and more comfortable.
Do you have any pre-show superstitions?
EH: I always think that if I’m not nervous, then we’ll have a terrible show. If we have a good practice right before we leave for tour, I’m also superstitious that we’ll have a bad tour. I also always think I’m about to lose my voice, but that’s more of a PTSD thing.
SF: If I don’t feel nervous, or if I’m not able to will myself to become nervous before a show, the entire night will end in disaster.
DS: I do weird little adjustments with my pedals and amp that I'm sure don't really do anything but, at this point, I'm afraid if I stop, everything will fall apart during the set.
SH: If I have a good trip to the bathroom, it usually means it'll be a good show.
If you had to live in a past time, what do you think would be the most fun era and why?
EH: The '70s so we could live through the Millennium Funk Party infomercial CD and cosplay Starsky and Hutch.
SF: I have been told that my slender and nimble fingers would have made me ideal for repairing machinery during the Industrial Revolution.
DS: NYC in the late '70s or '80s.
SH: I would probably choose the 1980s. I love corny '80s pop music, and it would have been great to have been a little older when T2: Judgement Day came out.
What activities do most enjoy doing alone?
EH: Knitting! Writing songs!
DS: Breakfast. Also going out in new cities.
When are you most relaxed?
EH: This is a boring answer, but probably when I’m with my boyfriend. We have very different personalities, and he is very calming and nice to be around.
SF: After being told I need to calm down.
DS: When I'm cooking, drinking a glass of wine, and listening to music at home.
SH: Playing basketball with my friends from home or hanging out at home with my family.
What was the last great thing you read?
EH: The entire Love and Rockets series by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez.
SF: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.
DS: Intimacy Idiot by Isaac Oliver... Anything on The Creative Independent.
SH: The lyrics to "If I Had a Million Dollars" by Barenaked Ladies.
What kind of person were you in high school?
EH: Spencer was the most popular boy in school. I was a musical theater nerd who didn’t do anything on weekends except play Fuzion Frenzy in my basement and split one stolen Corona seven ways with the same six friends I’ve had since kindergarten. Sam was in jazz band and had a secret, school-wide-famous rap group. His favorite subject was gym. Dan was my best friend through it all and did theater stuff with me but also turned me on to most of the music I still listen to.
SF: All I know is that one time in my senior year, I didn’t invite Eva to a party I was having, and I feel like I will never be able to live that down.
DS: Apparently I was intimidating? Probably because I was super shy. Not sure how much has changed. Definitely gayer now. Still friends with a lot of my best friends from high school.
SH: I was a jazz band nerd who also ran track and tried way too hard in gym class.
Can you tell me a quality about yourself that you are genuinely proud of?
EH: As Charly Bliss lore would go, I once got extremely drunk at a party at the end of our tour with Darwin Deez and screamed/declared, “I am actually an amazing runner! I’m gonna run a marathon someday! I don’t think I’m good at anything, but I’m a really good runner!” So, apparently, my mediocre-at-best athleticism is something I’m genuinely proud of! I think I’m a hard worker and good at giving relationship advice! Those are two things I’m also proud of!
SF: My babaganoush recipe is untouchable
DS: I like making people laugh. And cry!
SH: I think I'm a pretty considerate person, sometimes to a fault. I tend to be hyper-aware of other people's feelings so I'd like to think that I'm an easy person to talk to/be around.
Do you have any phobias?
EH: Many! Fruit is my major, life-long phobia. Specifically melons; specifically cantaloupe or honeydew. Also, the smell of an egg sandwich. Also disappointing anyone I have ever come into contact with.
SF: Spiders. I am constantly and irrationally terrified of waking up covered in spiders.
DS: Claustrophobia but only really of crawling through a small tunnel and having it cave in on me. Also when boots are tight and I can't move my toes—foot claustrophobia.
SH: I'm somewhat of a germaphobe, and I'm terrified of birds, bugs, and spiders.
What’s a side of you that people are unlikely to know about?
EH: I think because I’m very outgoing and “bubbly,” people naturally assume that I am also very confident, which I wish were true. I remember when I was in high school and used to do the school plays, people would come up to me and say, “You’re really good, but you already know that;” and that always made me feel so crappy. It’s like an almost compliment, but I was also like, “Oh shit, is that how I come across?” I am life-threateningly hard on myself.
SF: I cannot bring myself to watch Steve Carrel’s last episode of The Office;, too many emotions surface, it gets weird, I can’t do it.
DS: I love acting and directing. Mostly theater and comedy stuff, but if you gave me a TV show, I wouldn't mind.
SH: I think people would be surprised to know how competitive I am. If I can make something into a game, I'll do everything I possibly can to be the best at it. I'm pretty sure I've never lost in Candy Land because I was such a sore loser as a kid that my mom would cheat on my behalf to make sure that I won. Apologies to my older brother who consequently drew Plumpy five, six times a game.
What are some new hobbies you would like to take on?
EH: I feel like I develop a new hobby every three months, and think that it will last me a lifetime, but quickly blow through it and move on. Maybe that’s a little bit harsh. I like cooking a lot; I think there is nothing cooler than being a good cook and being able to provide that type of comfort for the people you love. Dan’s boyfriend is an incredible, actual chef and I am always in awe of his abilities.
SF: I am intoxicated by the idea of becoming very very good at making bread.
DS: Would love to write more.
SH: I love cooking and would love to become a better chef. I specialize in breakfast but am looking to up my lunch and dinner game.
What’s your next project?
EH: We’re already starting to work on our next record. I feel excited to be writing again, but even more excited to get back to demoing and holing up and futzing with stuff on my computer.
SH: We already have some really exciting new songs that we're working on, so I can't wait to continue writing the next album.
Where do you hope to be professionally in five years?
EH: Multibillionaires, sipping Laphroaig poolside, having just sold the CB empire in a four-shark sweep on SharkTank.
SF: If I am no longer making almond lattes for yuppies and NYU students, I will be happy.
DS: Paying my rent, with enough money to go out to eat regularly and care for a small french bulldog.
SH: I already consider us to be a very lucky band, so if we are able to be doing what we are now in five years, I will be very happy.
If there was one phrase that best sums up your approach to life, what might it be?
EH: “I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!”
SF: Really Very Jewish
DS: Blast off!
SH: Go with the flow.