Bass player for punk rock band, The Blizzards, vocalist, composer, qualified psychologist and all round rock chick, Louize Carroll has worked with acts including Hozier and Billy Ocean and has drawn comparison to Sinead O’Connor. She chats to The Style Edit about juggling a varied work load, taking risks and making her mark in a male dominated industry.
How did you first get into music?
My mum heard me singing Kylie Minogue, Tears on my Pillow in the sitting room when I was 9 and she bought me a little guitar and off I galloped into this wild and wonderful industry.
How would you describe what it is you do?
I’m a bass playing, TV and film composer and psychologist.
How do you go about composing the music for a film or series?
Usually it will begin with an in-depth conversation with the director about their vision for the project, whether they want to support the imagery and the plot-line with a specific sentiment, or if they want to challenge the visuals by juxtaposing, for example, a dynamic, uplifting and sweeping soundscape against a devastating scene. That kind of conflict can have a really strong impact on the audience if it’s done carefully.
After that, I do a spotting session with the director and the editor which means we go through the whole movie and pick the scenes where they want music to be. We’ll discuss what type of musical style might be the most appropriate and play around with some ideas at that point. If I can get in early in the project, I’ll try and get my own music temped into early scenes – that avoids having the director fall in love with a temped piece by John Williams which I then have the terrifying task of emulating!
Who or what would you say inspires you?
Who – I admire traits more so than specific individuals; I am inspired by people who have the courage to be vulnerable and compassionate while also being strong and boundaried. People who have fought the fear of judgement in order to own the dark side of themselves fully, rather than conceal it in shame; to be accountable for their own choices, good and bad; being soulfully tenacious despite things not going their way, and people who do not place their own misfortune on other people’s shoulders.
What – sorry now to be a bit obvious, but music. The right track at the right time has the ability to get right down deep into my roots, bypassing the words, bypassing the explanations, the reasons ‘why’ and the endless search for meaning, in favour of just – being. That in turn fires me up with ideas and creates the space for me to thrive creatively.
But also nature. Jesus like NATURE?? How gorgeous is our landscape? The west of Ireland is unbelievable and when I’m lost, emotionally not literally, it has, on countless occasions, brought me back to myself.
What’s been your biggest success to date?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of success recently. I think success is a function of how you define it, dependent on the criteria against which you choose to measure it. For a large majority of my existence I measured success in terms of how well known you were for what you created and how much money you earned from your chosen career. Obviously, ideally, I don’t want to be eating beans out of a can, but aside from earning a living, my concept is beginning to shift. I feel success is more to do with how much time you spend in your days on this planet doing things that are meaningful to you. The moments when I have felt fully in charge of my life and had the reins firmly in my hands, over the things that gave me the greatest sense of purpose, have been some of my most content, and happiest days. Landing my first TV series was definitely a high point, because it just gave me this sense of doing what I’m supposed to do and feeling completely in charge of that.
The music industry was previously very male dominated, do you see that changing?
It is changing, hugely. In fact, it’s unrecognisable compared to when I was even starting out. I always remember a conversation with my best mate, when I was trying to become a solo singer/songwriter back when I was a very young teenager. She casually pointed out that, apart from Cher and Madonna, there weren’t many international female rock or popular stars (not really the case in jazz or soul music), and how was I going to conquer that massive obstacle. It was mad, because at face value I had never really considered that at that point and suddenly a very large wall made of blocks of resentment built itself in front of me where I, naively, never perceived one before. Ha. But then Gwen Stefani and Alanis Morrissette came along and reinstated that sense that actually no, to hell with walls and gender barriers, if you make yourself informed enough, smart enough and shrewd enough, you can take on whatever matters to you enough to go out on that limb for. It might be extremely tough, and jayzus it is at times – but you’ve only one life and I’d rather live it adventurously and bravely than sacrifice variety and excitement in order to err on the side of caution and comfort.
How do you balance the composing side of things and touring with The Blizzards?
I balance it like a bloody elephant versus a hamster sitting on a seesaw. So not massively well in case that wasn’t clear. The thing with me is that when I have a project in front of me, I’m all in. It’s got my full attention. I don’t do well with multiple attentional splits, which isn’t obvious from my answer in question no.2, ha, but I’m getting a bit better. The Blizzards have quite a demanding schedule, especially as we have just released our album The Last Great Algorithm and have been travelling around the country on a promo tour. In saying that, I have more composing projects in my line of sight and they will be getting my attention once we’re finished touring this year.
What music are you currently listening to?
Nick Cave’s new album Ghosteen…that man… no words. I’m also listening to David Keenan and Nothing But Thieves.
“The moments when I have felt fully in charge of my life and had the reins firmly in my hands, over the things that gave me the greatest sense of purpose, have been some of my most content, and happiest days.”
If you had to choose would it be Ireland or America?
What am I choosing? If one was to be peeled off the planet and tossed into space, I would save Ireland! Was that what you mean? Ah yeh, ideally I’d live between both for work, I really like the weather, the ‘can-do attitude’ and the creativity that is cultivated in LA, but I adore Ireland, the people, the humour and the kinship, it’s like nowhere else on the planet.
If you could live in another time and place where and when would it be?
Definitely not the future. I think I actually have ‘future shock’ now whilst living in the present. So no. Maybe the 60s for a while. That looked like great craic.
Is there a score or soundtrack you wish you’d written/been involved with?
All. The. Time. I was first inspired by film music when I heard Lux Aeterna, which is the theme track from Requiem for a Dream directed by Darren Aronofsky. Clint Mansell wrote the score, and honestly, I’m not even embarrassed about this, I chased him down a couple of years ago and made him be my friend. He lives in LA and succumbed to my awkward charms and we talk quite regularly now. He’s been a great support in this industry. As well as him, I love what Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross did in the David Fincher movies. Hans Zimmer fair play to him brought more visibility to film composers so I think they are being brought far more into the spotlight now in both the film and music industries.
What’s your favourite quote or song lyric?
“There is some kiss we want with our whole lives” by the Sufi poet Rumi, and “there is a place within you that has never been wounded” by the late great Irish poet John O’Donohue.
What’s it like working with Bressie?
It’s quite literally a mile a minute. The man thinks about projects more rapidly than anyone I know and he moves pretty quickly on things he wants to do or create which is one of the many things I admire about him. We have a really strong working relationship in both music and mental health, with a lot of the same views and values. But that’s not to say we don’t challenge each other – we do not let each other away with ANYTHING ha. But basically yes, the many hours we spend on the road together are never ever boring.
Who would be your dream dinner party guests (living or deceased)?
What three beauty products can you not live without?
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Oil
Filorga Hylauronic Serum
All of the make up. All of it.
Describe your ideal weekend off.
I’d have no deadlines; they have all been met, so there is nothing lingering on my mind. And then, I’d wake up, go to yoga, drink coffee with my good friends, and then head out to the west for the weekend, and visit little Irish pubs and have beautiful wild sea walks with lovely humans and a dog or two. Loads of music, loads of amazing conversation and loads of adventure.
What’s your favourite city break destination?
Paris. I can’t get over the cinematic romantic notions. Theme music plays in my head and narrates my experience as I walk around in a happy daze. I love New York too.
Who is your style icon?
Gwen Stefani’s edge mixed with Gigi Hadid’s long tailored looks.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I will have a dog. I will have just completed the score for an internationally renowned TV series (like Peaky Blinders – the dream) and I live between Dublin and LA.