Carbon Mirage
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Carbon Mirage

Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Jazz Rock




"Carbon Mirage Performing Live at WSCA 106.1 FM"

Live recoding of two songs, "The 70's are Burning" and "Apollo" off of our recent album, The Peak, at WSCA 106.1 FM in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The 70's Are Burning:


Recorded on September 12th, 2014. - Portsmouth Community Radio

"Carbon Mirage discusses their New England tour, and living in the Northeast as musicians"

Last Monday The Red Door of Portsmouth, NH was graced by one of Brooklyn’s best up and coming jazz/fusion bands. Carbon Mirage is in the middle of a mini-tour, stopping at various cities around New England.

Monday night’s event was a part of the venue’s Hush Hush music series, and featured an opening performance by solo pianist and fellow New Englander, Ben Cosgrove.

The Red Door’s tranquil, living room-like atmosphere set the perfect mood for the small crowd that gathered to listen. As Carbon Mirage began producing their first atmospheric, airy notes, Pinta the dog arose from her slumber on a nearby sofa and moseyed about.

The trio performed an extensive set, captivating their audience with each number. As the night grew later the volume increased, energy swelling from the performers and radiating into the room.

The Red Door was the band’s second stop after playing Radio Bean in Burlington, VT. They will finish up the tour by playing a few nights in Boston, MA.

Carbon Mirage is Carey Clayton on guitar, James Quinlan on bass and Ricky Petraglia on drums. The band has been together for about two years, having all graduated from music school and now living and working in Brooklyn, NY.

Clayton first met Petraglia on the train, both lost after moving to New York the previous week. Petraglia noticed the guitar that Clayton was carrying, and the two began talking about music, later discovering they shared the same taste in generic business cards. A session was arranged that week and Carbon Mirage began their venture.

“We played a jazz standard, and then started making stuff up,” Quinlan said.

The group has been able to rehearse in an old pharmaceutical building in Brooklyn, which houses several food services as well as a rehearsal space, featuring an open atmosphere and (the very necessary) ping pong tables.

“We take a lot of ping pong breaks,” Clayton said.

Each coming from slightly different musical influences, the band members, all 24 years old, have been able to craft a unique sound. For many, it is difficult to label their music under one genre.

“The jazz stuff never came naturally, it took a lot of work,” Petraglia said, who was largely influenced by John Bonham and Keith Moon as a young drummer.

Quinlan’s eclectic interest in jazz and rock has allowed him to create the melodic bass lines that are featured in Carbon Mirage.

Clayton’s love of Hendrix, along with jazz and pop would inspire him to experiment with an array of guitar sounds. He mixes the fervidity of Hendrix with the spirit of Wes Montgomery to create truly narrative guitar lines.

“We’re still figuring out exactly where we belong. I feel like an orphan, or a mutt,” Clayton said.

Quinlan agreed, saying, “We’re not quite jazz enough for the jazz guys and were not quite rock enough for the rock guys.”

The band hopes to begin associating themselves with bands of similar style, and Brooklyn seems to be the ideal spot for curating this musical sub-culture.

They are playing an arts festival in Queens and another in Bushwick among other gigs lined up for the next few months. They play Spike Hill in Brooklyn at least once a month, a quaint bar featuring local music and movie screenings.

“There is a nice music scene in Boston,” Petraglia said, “but the only other problem is that there’s so many bands trying to make it, and everybody is coming from music school. No body is going to check out each other’s shows because they need to prove that their stuff is better.”

With Boston’s widely utilized “pay to play” policy, mixed with the over saturation of people who are trying to get their material out there, many musicians feel that there are better places to set up base.

“As an up and coming band, its not where you need to be. You kind of have to work places that have a built in crowd,” Clayton said.

This is part of the reason why the band enjoys playing small venues like the Red Door in Portsmouth.

“That’s a big part of how we got started, was going to these places that — there might not be a cover, we might not be seeing any money, but we would see ten people that we didn’t know that would be interested in our music,” Quinlan said.

The band noted that it is often the smaller venues where they are able to experiment, and be a bit more liberal with their music.

“We had a chance to try to some new things [at The Red Door]. We definitely were pushing some boundaries,” Quinlan said.

Despite having to be more conservative due to the small space of the Red Door, the guys undoubtedly enjoyed themselves on stage.

“Last night we were able to ease into it, slowly turning the volume up and playing a little harder each song,” Clayton said.

They spoke about how playing gigs in New England is sometimes refreshing, or even therapeutic.

“I just get it man, I get the vibe here,” Petraglia said. “New York is too high strung at times, it feels like your going to explode. I feel like I can focus here, and clear my head.”

Of course, here in ‘Phish country’ there seems to be a receptive audience for the type of music Carbon Mirage is playing.

“I think because we are in smaller towns not like New York, people go to these smaller venues to see music. In New York there are so many places to go,” Clayton said.

“My favorite part about living in New York is leaving New York,” Quinlan said. “Its like a pressure cooker. One thing we realized very quickly was that it’s a different speed [in New England]. When your in New York, its like your in fifth gear all the time.”

All members of the band were determined to support themselves as musicians after graduating music school.

“It was definitely the end game,” Quinlan said.

Petraglia has been able to earn some extra cash by working at a bakery on the side.

“You work at these places, and everyone is in the same boat,” Petraglia said. “I work with actors and musicians and its really flexible. People are willing to cover shifts if I have a gig, which is nice because I wouldn’t be able to be out here playing if I had the nine to five cubicle job.”

For the first year and a half of Quinlan’s time in NY he worked at a shoe store.

“They just didn’t understand — I cant really work evenings … its really a funny schedule we have as musicians, so it didn’t really work out,” Quinlan said. Now he works for a bicycle tour/site seeing company out of Brooklyn, which has seemed to fit his schedule more appropriately.

The band relies heavily on connections they have in areas they are gigging. They are able to play certain venues or art studios because someone will know who they are. Touring in a specific location is a lot cheaper if they are able to crash at a friend’s place and score some free meals.

The mini tour’s purpose had been about ‘planting seeds’ as Quinlan put it. Carbon Mirage hopes to come back in the fall and play many of the same cities, except with their new album as their secret weapon. Their first album was tracked in one day and then mixed. They foresee more post-production for the making of their second album, including some droning vocal parts, adding a new element to their music. They have also pondered the idea of featuring another instrument on the new recordings, when so far it has just been guitar, bass and drums.

“You have to get the right musician who can sort of match that feel of what we are doing,” Quinlan said.

Adding another musician poses the challenge of integrating another musical opinion into the mix.

“After two years you kind of develop your own vocabulary, and learn how to build things up and take them down. The longer we are playing as a trio the more tight it gets, and it’s harder to get another person into that habit,” Petraglia said.

In addition to the new album the band is planning to start a video series that includes a few covers mixed in with originals. The videos would feature a variety of singers, mostly, that the band works with from time to time. The plan is to begin the video serious around August, going into September.

When it comes to writing, the band uses various methods of collaboration. Most of their songs include an A, B and C section; sometimes Clayton will try and come up with an arrangement, but he leaves it open for the others to add their creative aspects to the piece. He uses his IPhone to record memos of different ‘sketches’ he comes up with.

“A lot of times I’ll wake up with an idea and hash it out. It seems like going to bed and waking up, is the time when things come to me,” Clayton said, “and then learning to flesh that out and find some continuity in it.”

Their first album contains a lot of material that was written during their college years, and the band is confident that the new album will reflect how they have evolved as musicians since then.

“We have been playing a lot, and writing a lot and arranging a lot,” Quinlan said. “Its been a process, especially playing it all live to see where the songs want to go, so this next album will be the product of a lot of time spent working on this music. It’s going to be much more of our sound.”

A lot of their rehearsal time is spent trying to figure out if the progression and flow of a song works. Petraglia noted that there is a great amount of trust shared between the band members when writing music.

“Its really set up like a big obstacle course and its like we’re bound to fail, but its so fun,” he said. “Its trust, and sometimes maybe somebody will throw in something that your not expecting, or that you wouldn’t necessarily put there, but I trust exactly what they’re doing, and its out of my hands.”

As the group moves forward in their career it becomes increasingly important to relate with their target audience. They recently added a new, monthly feature to their blog titled, “Carbon Curated,” where they choose a musician or record that has been influencing them, or just something they enjoy listening to.

“[Carbon Curated] is good for us to talk about what we love, being music, and to also round out our sound for people who aren’t familiar with what we’re doing,” Quinlan said.

Readers will be able to see other artists they might have a previous connection with, allowing outsiders to understand where Carbon Mirage is coming from musically.

Looking towards the future, Carbon Mirage doesn’t plan on sitting still for quite a while. A European tour is something they all share as a common goal, while continuing to build their fan base in the North East.

“Life on the road is kind of all I want,” Petraglia said.

Currently, the three band members spend part of their time working for other musicians, being hired for a gig or playing on someone else’s record.

“I personally feel like I’m towing the line between being an artist and being a sideman,” Clayton said.

They hope to someday be completely self-sustained as a band, remaining unavailable for hire for long periods of time.

Keep a look out for this band over the next year as they release their new album, and continue to play around the Northeast. Carbon Mirage is a must see for those who have an appreciation for free form, and creative style jazz. - Music Industry East

"Premiere: Carbon Mirage – “Castle Grayskull”"

There’s something incredibly understated about instrumental music. Yes: The human voice is an extraordinary machine, probably the most versatile instrument ever. But vocal music tends to be repetitious, bound to familiar structures and contained by tradition. Organized sound, divorced from the human voice, might capture a sense of reckless abandon, a driving spontaneity that’s without structure and without limits. Such is the case with Carbon Mirage and their newly released single “Castle Greyskull,” the Brooklyn based trio’s first offering since their sophomore album The Peak last fall. The heavy, soul-stirring groove picks up with Carey Clayton’s lone ripple of electric guitar before the frenzy unfolds. The rollicking momentum sprawls throughout the four-minute track, supported by Ricky Petraglia incessantly shuffling drums and the fiery, fleeting intensity of James Quinlan’s bass guitar. Midway through the song, when the three virtuosic musicians break their silence and chant “Stranded,” it just confirms how little needs to be said to get their point across. The line is something of a paradox, though, because the raucous, freewheeling energies on “Castle Greyskull” sound anything but. - Indie Current


Still working on that hot first release.



Listening to Carbon Mirage — on stage or otherwise — you can’t help but be moved. The band’s sound, a collision of both rock and jazz, takes the listener to another world, be it a soft day dream or a stirred adventure.

An unexpected mixing of melodies, Carbon Mirage’s sound is big and full. With influences ranging from Radiohead to Miles Davis, Sun Ra to Jimi Hendrix, each track moves in dynamic waves and always manages to get people on their feet. 

Based in New York City, the band has performed at some of the most iconic venues, including: Mercury Lounge, Rockwood Music Hall, Pianos, Spike Hill, Pete's Candy Store, Spin NYC, Silvana, Shrine, and other local galleries and festivals.

The band’s second full-length album, “The Peak” was released on October 23rd, 2014 and is available for purchase on iTunes.

Band Members