Charlotte McCaslin

Interview: Charlotte McCaslin of Roselit Bone Talks About Their Music and Their New Album


Charlotte McCaslin of Roselit Bone Talks About Their Music and Their New Album

Photo Credit: Danny Dodge

Roselit Bone is a Portland-based band whose music seamlessly traverses between Americana, country, rockabilly, and goth punk to create one of the more original sounds around today. Americana Highways recently spoke with frontwoman Charlotte McCaslin about the band and their music and their new album Ofrenda. The resultant conversion is below.

AH: How does this album differ from your previous albums and how do you think it is similar?

Charlotte McCaslin: Ofrenda is a more expansive album than our past efforts — musically and emotionally. It is more hopeful and fun in some ways, but the sad songs are sadder and the nightmarish imagery is more developed. These are my first recordings since transitioning so my voice sounds a bit different and the songs seem more genuine to me, whereas a lot of earlier Roselit Bone songs were written: “in character.” 

AH: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it?

CM: We are an 8-piece band with a horn section, violin, and guitars that draws influence from country & western music of all decades, ranchera, early blues, countless types of folk music, punk, post-punk, new wave, dream pop, and more. The music is often apocalyptic in sound and content but can also be very fun at times. 

AH: Who would you say are the band’s main influences?

CM: Some of my songwriting influences are Nico, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, and Timber Timbre. Early punk bands like Gun Club, the Cramps, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and X are all obvious influences throughout our work. Early 20th-century American, Mexican, and Scottish folk all seep in throughout our catalog. 

AH: How would you describe your songwriting process?

CM: I write all the lyrics, and sit on a song for years sometimes before I let anyone in the band even hear it. By that point, I have a pretty good idea of what the arrangements will be, with charts ready for songs that will have horns and violin. From there it is a lot of fine-tuning, developing the dynamics, and adding backing vocals. It takes a long time but the band has locked in over the years and communication happens very quickly now. 

AH: What were the circumstances that brought this band together?

 CM: I started the band with our former drummer Ben in 2011, then slowly added (and subtracted) members over the years as I felt I was writing parts that needed to be played by other people. At last count, there have been 26 people in the band. Our guitarist Victor was the first addition, and our violinist Faith came a few years later. Aside from our trumpet player, everyone else on this album is new to this album. 

AH: Broadly speaking, what does music mean to you?

CM: Music is one of many ways I try to find meaning in life. It’s an expression of thoughts and emotions that I don’t always understand, and I’m always learning things about myself from the songs that come to me seemingly from out of nowhere. 

AH: What can you tell us about the band’s future plans?

CM: We are releasing the album and promoting it on a 40-day tour in September and October. We are planning to tour constantly in 2024 and are looking for a booking agent to help with that, but do not have anything solid booked yet. A lot depends on how this tour goes.

Thanks for chatting with us, Charlotte McCaslin!

Roselit Bone’s new album Ofrenda is now available on the band’s website.

Enjoy our previous coverage here:  REVIEW: Roselit Bone “Ofrenda”


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