Interview – Mike Kruger of Charming Liars: Opening Up About Their Dark Themes and What It’s Like To Be Endorsed By A Legend

Charming Liars are blazing across the radio airwaves right now with their new track, “Like A Drug” and I was able to have a moment of the band Charming Liars’s bassist Mike Kruger and He revealed a bit about what they stand for and their future plans as a band. Charming Liars are definitely worth the listen, give this band a shot and enjoy what Mike had to tell New Transcendence:

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence):  How awesome is it to be endorsed by Sir Elton John himself?
Mike Kruger (Charming Liars): Honestly it’s pretty crazy when you think about it! We (Karnig and I) grew up in England surrounded by his music and never really imagined there would be a time in our lives where he would be recognizing our songs, it’s really wild! We had the chance to see his show in Vegas last year, it was one of the most incredible examples of musicianship we’ve experienced and not to mention just how many classic songs he’s written.

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): Congrats on the new single “Like A Drug”! How has the reaction been to the song and video? I actually caught the premiere on my local station KYRK-FM 106.5 The Shark, in Corpus Christi, TX.

Mike Kruger (Charming Liars): Thank You very much, we’ve been so excited to release some of these songs that we have been working so feverishly on over the past few years. “Like A Drug” was a really fun song to write and is even better to play live. We obviously put a lot of thought into creating a visual that matched the intensity of the song and I think we managed that with “Like A Drug”

Charming Liars, Photo by Catie Laffoon

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): Are there some dark elements you guys are trying to address, like suicide, and domestic violence? Where does the motivation to be advocates to support this type of movement come from?

Mike Kruger (Charming Liars): Yes –  think it’s safe to say that darkness and the darker side of human nature is a common theme in our work. It’s not something that we intentionally thought about when writing the album, it just seemed to be a subject matter that we gravitated towards both lyrically and sonically.

I think it’s important that we have those uncomfortable conversations about abuse and violence. Silence is the enemy of change and by having a discussion openly and honestly we hope to draw more attention to the issues that many millions of Americans suffer through every day. We wanted to use our platform to be able to discuss things we care about and it seems to be working as you are asking me these questions!

Charming Liars, Photo by Catie Laffoon

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): What would you say is a contrasting point between now and, “New Disorder”?

Mike Kruger (Charming Liars): Wow, good question.  All that has happened between now and then both on stage and off it have worked its way into our music. We had to go through the unpleasant experience of losing some members but in retrospect it was one of the best things that could have happened to our band, allowing us to take a step back and reconfigure the way we wrote music and performed it. Having Kiliyan join the creative mix gave us the ability and inspiration to try new things musically, which really opened a door for us.  We’ve spent the last few years really churning out some music that felt fresh and exciting to us.

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): What would you say are the key elements in your music and development of a song’s lyrics and emotions?
Mike Kruger (Charming Liars): We strive to really think about the music we make in as objective a way as possible. When you have multiple musicians collaborating on a piece it means that there are going to be divergent opinions and sometimes that can cause creative clashes…  But those opposing viewpoints often bring out the best in the songs and move the creative process forward.

Karnig (Manoukian) produces all of our music and he is very much the gatekeeper when it comes to the musical construction of the songs, he ensures there is a common theme to our music and reels in some of my weirder ideas.

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): Your tracks “Insomnia” and “Like A Drug” are being classified as ”Dark Alternative” – how comfortable are you with that genre? — Does a more edgy approach to mainstream seem freeing as an artist?
Mike Kruger (Charming Liars): The names given to the many sub-genres often make us laugh. We never really think about the labels that have been attached to us either now or in the past, we just like to write the music we like to write and play shows to any one that will listen. You can call us whatever you want if it means we can still go out and play shows!

Charming Liars, Photo by Catie Laffoon

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence):  How has creating music been an outlet for you? — Has music always been a passion?
Mike Kruger (Charming Liars): I can only speak for myself here but I know I’m most content when I am creating and playing music. It feels pretty great to be doing it with your friends while travelling the country. Not a bad way to live, eh!?!?

Toney Emmons (New Transcendence): What’s next for Charming Liars – any tour plans?
Mike Kruger (Charming Liars): We are heading out on the road later this year with some really great bands, we get to visit some places we’ve been to before and love while also ticking off a couple new towns while we’re at it. Make sure you head over to to see where and when we’ll be coming to a town near you!

Charming Liars – Upcoming Tour Dates

Tue 9/25/2018     Record Bar                        Kansas City, MO. w/ Welshly Arms, Grandson
Wed 9/26/2018   7th Street Entry                Minneapolis, MN. w/ Welshly Arms, Grandson
Fri 9/28/2018       The Hi FI                            Indianapolis, IN. w/ Welshly Arms, Grandson
Sun 9/30/2018     Magic Stick                        Detroit, MI. w/ Welshly Arms, Grandson

Tue 10/2/2018     Velvet Underground      Toronto, ON. w/ Welshly Arms, Grandson
Wed 10/3/2018   Brighton Music Hall       Boston, MA. w/ Welshly Arms, Grandson
Thu 10/4/2018     Music Hall                         Brooklyn, NY. w/ Welshly Arms, Grandson
Sat 10/6/2018      The Foundry                      Philadelphia, PA. w/ Welshly Arms, Grandson
Sun 10/7/2018     Union Stage                     Washington, DC. w/ Welshly Arms, Grandson
Tue 10/9/2018     Visulite Theatre             Charlotte, NC. w/ Welshly Arms, Grandson
Wed 10/10/2018 Exit/In                                  Nashville, TN. w/ Welshly Arms, Grandson
Fri 10/12/2018     Vinyl ATL                           Atlanta, GA. w/ Welshly Arms, Grandson
Sat 10/13/2018   The Parish                           New Orleans, LA. w/ Welshly Arms, Grandson

Official Video for, “Like A Drug”