Carpet Burn on Their Sound, San Marcos & What’s Next for the Band

todaySeptember 23, 2021 211 1

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By Marcus Brooks
Music Journalist

Carpet Burn has been a bright spot in the San Marcos music scene since they first formed back in 2019, but now they’re all graduated from Texas State and on the verge of a big move. I sat down with Evan Hays (vocals, lead guitar), Willa Fossum (vocals, rhythm guitar), Jackson Cosgrove (bass), and Christian Haddad (drums) over Zoom and picked their brains on all things Carpet Burn. Keep reading to learn where the name Carpet Burn came from, how they define their sound, and each of their favorite spots around San Marcos. This is an interview with Carpet Burn.

Cover of Carpet Burn’s debut EP, Suntan Man
Album cover for Suntan Man by Carpet Burn

What is the origin story of Carpet Burn? 3 of you (Willa, Evan and Jackson) were a part of the BFA Acting program [at Texas State] which is a pretty small tightly knit community. Did you 3 always gravitate towards each other or did that happen over time?


Evan Hays: Yeah, so being in an acting program you just get thrown together with 14-16 random people your freshman year. I feel like Jackson and I immediately were very close; we’d watch many movies together. Willa and I were not super close at the beginning, but second semester freshman year was when we all started to figure out that we could play music together and it would be a good thing. What do y’all remember?


Willa Fossum: Yeah I remember that too. I remember the first thing we jammed, Evan, was in Jackson’s dorm room. We had two guitars at the ready and you just told me to play the [guitar noises] of the song The Joker, so we jammed that for like half an hour. Everyone around us was like, ugh. [Everyone chuckles.] I mean you were riffing on it. But yeah, we took the Joker to town. And then I remember being like “Yeah we’re f-ing awesome we should start a band!”


EH: And then we were like “Wait…”


Christian Haddad: “We should [actually] start a band!”


EH: So yeah, Willa when you put it like that… Jackson was really close with me and also with Willa so that probably facilitated that. And Christian and I knew each other in high school.


CH: He had first seen me in a cardboard box outside of his house, and he said “Dude are you okay?” and I said “No, but I know how to drum.” and we ended up here. [Christian laughs.]


I feel like it’s not talked about enough how hard it can be to come up with a band name. Carpet Burn is a really, really good one. How’d you guys come up with it?


Jackson Cosgrove: The naming process was a long and arduous one for us I feel like.


EH: For a long time we would just spitball together but that wasn’t really working, and then we scheduled that 4/20 show so we were like “Oh we have a deadline. We have to have a name before then.” So we all started going to class and just writing hundreds and hundreds of names and then coming to practice and reading all of them. Honestly, Carpet Burn, it wasn’t a moment of “That’s the one!”. It was [just] the only one we all kind of could be okay with so we were like “You know what I guess we’ll go with that for now.” and here we are.


WF: Do you guys remember any of our top alternates?


JC: I was thinking about… Really Big Bugs. [Everyone laughs.]


Also fun little Easter Egg, Suntan Man, the name of our EP, was a finalist band name.


EH: That’s true.


We can’t talk about Carpet Burn without talking about your two debut singles Mouthguard and Tangerine. When you guys initially formed the band, did you always know you were going to release original music?


EH: Yeah.


CH: Yeah I’d say so.


WF: I’m actually curious, do you guys remember our first practice? I feel like we played You Only Live Once by The Strokes. Were we like “We’re gonna be a band” or were we just like “We’re jamming”?


EH: In my memory, I had written Mouthguard and then I texted each of you and said, “Let’s be a band, here’s our song.” So we had the one original, but we didn’t have more originals for our practice. So we were like, “Let’s just practice some covers and we’ll write more later”


JC: Before Christian, we were just kind of [a] dream band, just like a little baby nothing yet, but then I think once we were like “Oh we could actually do our own stuff” it was like “Well we gotta get a drummer. We gotta put this together and see how it would work.”


CH: And then Evan went back to that cardboard box from earlier…


How would you describe Carpet Burn’s sound? Feel free to use genres, bands, colors, foods, whatever you want.


EH: We’ve all really struggled with this. People have been asking us this since day one and we always just kinda word vomit a bunch of different bands. Lately, I’ve been describing it as surf psych grunge. And at our last show someone was like “What do y’all sound like?” and I said “Beach Boys but hard.”


Marcus Brooks: I will say, your sound and style is so consistent I wouldn’t know that you guys struggle with it. But I feel like it’s a thing where you guys know and can play it but putting it into words is super difficult.


EH: When I get down to it, I think I bring blues and grunge and some jazz and Willa brings kind of Motown, Mac Demarco and we meet in the middle with Strokes/garage rock influence and it kinda mixes all together into whatever we are.


WF: It’s like a flippy, floppy ham sandwich… with relish? Help me out, help me out.


CH: It’s like when you stub your toe but it feels good. 


WF: It’s like a cat that’s being thrown around by its tail and it’s like *angry cat noises* but it’s good.


EH: Marcus what would you say? As someone who isn’t in the band, what does it sound like to you?


MB: It’s like… I don’t know… I feel like it’s a lot of things because a lot of your songs sound very different. Like an Evan song versus a Willa song they can sound different, but they can also sound similar. In general, there’s a really classic rock feel, but it’s also very original and very much its own thing. And as you guys said, it can be very beachy and chill, but there’s also a little bit of college/garage rock…. It is really difficult to describe.


CH: That’s my practiced word vomit. People ask what kind of music do you play and I’m like “We kinda go up and down the rock spectrum you pick a point there’s a good chance we’ve been there or will be there very soon.”


WF: I think Evan is kinda hitting it on the head with surf rock grunge psych.


San Marcos is the birthplace of Carpet Burn. You’ve released all your music here and played tons of shows around the area. What does San Marcos mean to you and what are you gonna miss about it?


EH: To me San Marcos means everything. I’m gonna miss it so much. Doing the acting program and being in this band I’ll think of this place as where I got unlocked creatively. Like where it all came together and I was like “Oh I can write songs!” and like “Oh we can be in a band!”. This was the birthplace of that in my mind. The town is just so conducive to art. It’s so weird, so many weird restaurants, the river… Only people who’ve come to our shows may have heard this song that we have called “Put Some Lettuce On It”. The lyrics are basically a love letter to San Marcos. I just go through and name different locations. Yeah, I’m gonna miss the hell out of this place.


WF: Yeah, I think they said it best. San Marcos has the special sauce. I don’t know what it is but it’s the sauce. The energy, you can walk places, people are doing stuff all the time, putting up weird shows, and visual art shows and music stuff. There’s just stuff all around and I think it’s just got… something. I don’t know what it is but it’s good.


CH: The sauce.


JC: All I can really say about it is that when we move out to LA I think we’re still gonna be a San Marcos band. We’re just gonna be a San Marcos band that’s in LA.


MB: That’s very well said.


Alright before we go, some rapid-fire San Marcos questions. Starting off with your favorite place to perform?


CH: I’m biased but I’m gonna say Industry. Cause we’ve played the most times and they keep having us back. Thank you Industry. [Christian laughs.]


EH: Yeah I would say Industry.


JC: Buzzmill?


EH: Buzzmill was like our birthplace. RIP.


CH: That was the first public show we played right?


EH: Mhm.


WF: I think my favorite is always gonna be our first show in my backyard.


CH: Sarah St. Yeah that’s a good one. 


Favorite place to eat?


CH: Probably my bed.


EH: I’m gonna go with Wow-Wee’s; the new breakfast tacos over on Aquarena. Love that place.


WF: Blue Dahlia. It’s so good.


JC: I’m gonna say Sunny’s. Sunny’s pizza. [Jackson holds back a laugh.]


EH: I’m logging off now.


JC: Evan and I worked at Sunny’s for a little bit and it was… miserable.


Favorite bar?


CH: I think we can all speak for Zelick’s. I can at least speak for Zelick’s unless anyone else has one that is outshining Zelick’s.


EH: I’ve spent way more hours at Zelick’s than any other bar combined.


WF: Zelick’s.


JC: Zelick’s.


You’re all graduated now. You talked about it a little bit earlier, but what’s next for you guys and Carpet Burn in the future?


CH: I’m going back to my cardboard box. [Everyone laughs.]


EH: LA baby.


WF: Yeah we’re all moving to LA in January. We’ve got a date set and we’re all going. Jackson, Evan, and I are kinda going on the actor/musician track doing the band and doing auditions and stuff. Christian?


CH: I slappa da drum.


WF: He slappa da drum. And we’re all gonna get a house and play in the house and do the best we can.


EH: Our goal is to get out there and hit the ground running and play as many shows as possible, meet as many people as possible. As long as we’re getting to play our songs, then we’re living the dream.


WF: Yeah and just develop our sound and release some funky jams.


One last question, is there possibly a full-length album coming anytime soon from Carpet Burn?


*mischievous looks all around*


EH: I don’t knoooow! We’ll seeee!


WF: You’ll have to stay tuned.


This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Featured Image Courtesy of Carpet Burn. 

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