Chris and Kaya Herstad Carney, the wearers of many hats, are no strangers to the local music scene. Having co-organised the wonderful grassroots festival Threshold which showcases local and international talent and now in its 10th year of running, to Chris’s own radio spot on Liverpool’s Melodic Distractionand everything in between. Liverpool Noise got a moment to talk to the musical power-couple and pose them some of life’s most difficult questions as we talk festivals, life in lockdown and their perfect date night in Liverpool.

Liverpool Noise: Well hello, Chris and Kaya! Firstly, so our readers can get a grasp of the kind of people you are, what artists are getting you through at the moment?

CHC: Well hello there! I’m actually motoring my way through a lot of music at the mo. With the Losing My Edge podcasts I’ve been doing in between radio shows, I ask people to recommend music to me that I might not have heard of be it new or old and I play a track and chat about the artist. Recently I’ve been introduced to an excellent album from 1971 called Harlem River Drive by a band of the same name. Never knew it existed until now. There are loads like that, such as Pacific Ocean Blue & Bambu by the legend that was Dennis Wilson. He died trying to fetch his boat furniture out of the sea which he’d thrown overboard while drunk.

KHC: I live with a DJ; can’t get away from music 😉 But on a serious note; I have spent the time to catch up on my own music and get involved with various choir projects, song challenges and the likes, in addition to music from my students and clients. We even have a new amazing recording microphone so I can produce at home.

LN: Amazing! Secondly, we hope everyone’s well in the Herstad-Carney household. How have you both been keeping busy?

CHC: I’m keeping fairly busy, but still have a lot more down time than I’m used to. In my job I travel a huge amount during term time, so it’s a big change being home based. I’ve done a few gigs on Zoom that have gone really well. Obviously, this is a challenging and very sad time in the world, but I am loving the creativity and spirit of people too. We need that. 

KHC: I was really worried in March that I had lost a fair bit of work and gigs, so took on too much in April and have been on constant deadlines. So far May seems to be more stable in regards to work/life balance, although a crazy amount of both of those things are happening in front of a screen.

LN: Is relaxing at home something you’re both used to or is it very much a rarity to have you both around so much?

CHC: We have not spent this much time together since we have met. Our normal schedules are both incredibly busy and dispersed all over the country for me and all over the place including Norway for Kaya. We are getting along just fine though. Aren’t we love?

KHC: Sure! I’ll go to my room 😉 I’m joking, it’s been the best part, and I have enjoyed not travelling all over the place and cooking meals from scratch and go on bike rides and walks (within the allowance)

LN: So, let’s talk Threshold. What an amazing accolade to say you’re in your 10th year, but obviously with everything up in the air, what can we expect from the Threshold family?

CHC: It’s a time of great uncertainty. It’s no secret that Threshold X in April was set to be our last and we had plans move onto new and exciting projects by now. This limbo is difficult for us, but there’s also a feeling of solidarity with literally every other festival organiser that we know. This too shall pass as they say. 

KHC: We will be back with the tenth and final festival, whether in 2020 or in the new year, and perhaps not the way we originally planned it. The world is somehow different altogether, and that’s going to have to be taken into account. With regards to the proper future of Threshold; we have started a production company (currently dormant until there are things to produce); HCHQ Ltd and will be providing festival and event services, artist development and programming/artist curation. There may or may not be another production in the process as we speak…

LN: At Liverpool Noise we’re all about local talent, do you both have any favourite discoveries that you’ve encountered through Threshold?

CHC: Blue Saint is a special talent and a really nice bloke, when he started out, he led a much more artistic approach to hip hop producing than a lot of his peers at the time making me think of acts like Outkast and MF Doom. Then Mersey Wylie; we saw her from early acoustic to performing with the Threshold Houseband, many whom are still in the band now. That is the kind of stories that makes us happy!

KHC: Yea, Seafoam Green is in a similar category; one of the only artists who have played each and every one of our festivals; Dave O’Grady. We got to give a mention to Emilio Pinchi as well, who I have known for quite a while, and he has also become an important part of the Threshold team. All of the team members are artists, so if I were to mention everyone, it would be more than a paragraph!

LN: Well, thank you both so much for your time, finally to send our readers on their way and looking ahead to when we’re able to go out, can you give us your perfect date in Liverpool? Let’s say dinner and a gig to keep it easy! 

CHC & KHC: A little Old Fashioned at Berry & Rye before some lovely food and service at Queens serving R&H fine wines and then heading to a gig at District, most probably put on by the Positive Vibrations team.

LN: Tra and Ha Det Bra!

For more information about Threshold Festival visit https://thresholdfestival.co.uk/

Michael Fell

Feature Image Photo Credit: Pete Carr