Interview: Charming Liars' Kiliyan Maguire on new music and touring
Charming Liars

2018 has been a big year for Los Angeles alternative rock band Charming Liars. The band has been touring non-stop and are riding high with new single "Something Dark," which is off of their upcoming new release Thought, Flesh & Bones.

The London-born band recently wrapped up a two-month stint of sold-out shows with Dorothy and just recently kicked off a tour with Welshly Arms and Glorious Sons.

Yesterday, frontman Kiliyan Maguire checked in with AXS from their show in Chicago at the Chop Shop.

AXS: How are you today?

Kiliyan Maguire: I'm doing great, and you?

AXS: Pretty good.  Where are you playing at in Chicago tonight?

KM: We're actually playing at this really cool venue called the Chop Shop. It's really cool. That's always the fun thing about doing these tours because sometimes you're playing places you've been at, but more often than not, it's a whole new place. That's what's great about cities like Chicago because there are so many venues.

AXS: Have you been happy with the way the tour has been going so far?

KM: Yeah, it's been awesome. We left about a week ago to kick it off in Kansas City. It was quite a drive for us because we're based in L.A. so it was a nice little road trip for sure. The shows have been great. This is the third night of the tour and it's been fantastic so far.

AXS: And next up you'll be in Detroit at Saint Andrews Hall on Friday. What can people expect from these shows?

KM: Well, what's kind of cool about it is that we're kind of doing a lot of new songs. We've got a lot of new material. I think we're only playing a couple of older songs from past releases and everything else is new material that will be on our new record, which is coming out soon. So as to what to expect: just expect something new I suppose!

AXS: Have you seen the crowd responding well to the new tracks?

KM: Oh yeah, we really have. I mean, you never know, sometimes in the studio, you think it sounds good and then you go and you play it live and maybe it doesn't go over so well. So when you go out there and you see people bobbing their heads, it's great. So yeah, we've been seeing people getting into it so that's pretty good.

AXS: What is your biggest goal when you go out to play a live set?

KM: That's a good question! Just speaking for myself: it's really important for us to make sure that each show has its own personality and kind of reflects the city that we're playing in. I kind of always try to give the most honest performance that I can and what that means for me is being as vulnerable as possible on the stage and that can be a little difficult at times. Sometimes you want to be guarded, especially when you're the opening band because everyone is there to see these awesome bands that we're touring with. So you kind of have to make that first impression last; make that impression stick. I feel like the honesty really translates so that is always my goal.

AXS: Had you played with the other bands on this tour?

KM: No, we hadn't. We were familiar with their music, but we'd never played with them so it's pretty awesome. They're all super nice guys and it's been amazing.

AXS: You have the new album coming at the start of the new year, what can you tell us about it?

KM: Yeah, the album is slated to release either at the very end of this year or in the beginning of next year. It's definitely got some dark elements in it both melodically and lyrically as well as sonically. I mentioned that we spent quite a bit of time writing it so I hope we didn't get too stuck in our own heads, but based on the crowd response so far, I think people are going to like it.

AXS: Your current single "Something Dark" has been getting a lot of airplay.

KM: Yeah, that was actually the last song that we wrote for this record and it just kind of came together. I came in one day and there were some soundscapes that Karnig [Manoukian,] our guitar player/producer had put together. The first thing that came out of my mouth was, man this song sounds like something dark lives in there man! It just kind of all snowballed from there and people have been receiving it well. That's always a plus.

AXS: It has really been a breakout year for you so what's next? What's the goal heading into the new year?

KM: Just to keep going. I think for us, it has been a great year for us as far as touring and releases and we kind of just want to keep that momentum going. Honestly, we were talking to our manager the other day and he said you guys never complain when you're on the road and we were kind of joking with him that we only really complain when we're not on the road. When we're not touring, that's when we're dying!

AXS: What was the catalyst for you getting into music in the first place?

KM: You know, what kind of got me into playing music as a kid was watching Van Halen. I wanted to be either Eddie Van Halen or David Lee Roth. It had to be one of the two and so I got a guitar for my fifteenth birthday and I started writing songs and there was a local band that I thought was incredible and I really wanted to play with them. So I wanted to join the band as a singer and kick out one of the guitar players so I could play guitar as well and then get another singer, but they were really good at guitar so I auditioned for them as a singer and it just kind of stuck.

AXS: And do you have any words for the fans coming out to the shows?

KM: Just keep going. It's incredible! There's nothing quite like writing a song in your house at 3 in the morning and then you go to Detroit or Chicago or Des Moines and you see those lyrics coming out of somebody else's mouth that you've never met.  It's one of the most incredible feelings you can have. If we can just do more of that, I'd be very happy!