Hailing from Irving, California, James Peter Carroll has been honing his musical craft ever since he was 7 years old. Beginning his journey with piano lessons, he slowly transitioned to taking an interest in RnB and writing music of his own.
In his early teens, he discovered a passion for classic rock and picked up the guitar, which led him to write and perform in multiple different bands throughout the years. These included a pop-punk band, “Slapshack” and an alt-metal group, “The Robe”. He has since then decided to branch out on his own, releasing music under his moniker James Peter Carroll and occasionally under the pseudonym “Lamposts”.
Carroll’s obvious passion for multiple genres is apparent in his creative journey, as well as his numerous solo releases (which can all be found on Bandcamp). These releases span across the folk, pop, punk, rock, and ska world, just to name a few.
This time around he’s bringing us his most recent album, “Serendipity”. Released in August 2021, this 12-song record was written, performed, and recorded almost entirely by Carroll himself. Starting out as an online school assignment, Carroll was encouraged by his professor at the time to turn the beginnings of this project into a full-length album, and he happily took on the task.
Now, let’s dive into James Peter Carroll’s “Serendipity”. This album mainly consists of Carroll’s raw vocals combined with an acoustic guitar, but despite this simpler take, he manages to keep us wholeheartedly engaged throughout the piece of work. “Serendipity" is raw and real, and we praise Carroll for his ability to be so honest and vulnerable in this album.
Throughout “Serendipity,” Carroll’s lyrics exude themes of self-reflection, as well as commenting on the world around him. Love, loss, anger, heartbreak, and navigating one’s own demons also play roles throughout the 12 tracks. By the end of this album, Carroll has painted us a clear snapshot of his mind, while creating this vulnerable and stripped-back piece of work.
Over the course of the album, Carroll occasionally brings in fuller soundscapes, with tracks like “Miracle,” “if you think of me,” and “May 25th, 2020,” all engulfed with a warm reverb, beautifully filling up the listener's world. He even branches out with the much fuller track, “Free Fall,” with soothing harmonies and drums that gracefully carry the track along. He also craftily pulls away again, where listeners are given a more stripped-back, folk experience from songs like “Purgatory”.
Throughout “Serendipity,” we are once again met with Carroll’s love for many genres. We mainly hear the alt-folk inspiration in his tracks, with the occasional touch of punk (“Slimeworld”), blues (“One Whore’s Town”), and even hip hop (“*bonerz trak”). Carroll has not held back in his experimentation and variety, proving once again his creativity holds no bounds. If you’re looking for an honest and unapologetically raw performance, Carroll gives you just that with this album.
Dive in and let “Serendipity” by James Peter Carroll sweep you away, available now on Bandcamp.
We are loving the honest and intimate vibe of your album, “Serendipity”. Were there any specific themes or ideas you wanted to get across to listeners with this album?
I had no intent in writing this album. The melodies I wrote when emerging from sleep. Then I’d write accompanying lyrics usually when I was riding my bike. At the time, the pandemic had just hit and all sorts of upheaval in the news. There were tons to draw from, and the words felt like a reconciliation from all I had done in my life; as though everything up to that moment was for the purpose of writing this album.
You’ve noted that this album originally stemmed from a school project. How did your time studying help you when creating the fully realized work?
The studies propelled me to work at something. Otherwise, I had no obligations and I probably would have just made art for no reason. This album is actually a combination of cutting loose (thanks to the pandemic) and all the good habits I had in store.
You combine a few different styles and genres throughout “Serendipity”, and we love the variety. What would you say were your main influences/inspirations for writing the album?
To me, if art is to exist purely, it should be a document in real-time. Like the conception of a melody or a creative idea, the recording should approach the same level of serendipity. If there were any disconnect between the artist and their work, it’s because the act of realization removes them from a world in perpetual change. Therefore, you have the choice of disregarding the contrived nature of the document or accepting the fleeting nature of serendipity and moving on. I liken the album to some of the field recordings of early 20th-century bluegrass or blues, where the musicians are solely performers and that the recording is a borderline intrusion.
What would you say were the biggest challenges when creating “Serendipity”?
I was living on campsites, evading two roommates who refused to be vaccinated, one who was dog-sick with covid. I gave them thirty days to leave and retired myself to the road. The greatest obstacle to creating this album was performing it in a way I felt accurately sketched the pandemic experience. Musically this album is rather simple.
You’ve mentioned that 98% of this material was written and recorded by yourself. Do you have plans to continue this solo journey down the road, or is there anybody you’ve envisioned working with in the future on new material?
I’m a little over writing music. Recording is a bear, and my ambitions are shot. This may be the last serious project I take on for a while.
What's next for you?
I need a girlfriend.