• February 17, 2014

From Wonder Years to Stardom

When Carus Thompson first picked up a guitar at the age of 12, he explains the moment like, “The wonder years where he picks up the guitar and feels the power! My next door neighbours had a band and I used to always go over there and listen to them. I never thought I could give it a crack as I always felt and still do that I’m inherently unmusical. However, one day I got my mate to show me a couple of chords (first song was Wild Thing) and off I went. When I was in high school I had a bunch of mates who all played, we’d sit around with acoustic guitars and then get our electrics running. Straight out of school I started playing in pubs and never looked back really,” he said.
By the time Carus turned 18, he was making a living out of performing and began the successful Australian reggae band, Carus and The True Believers. In 2000, Carus released his first EP, the self titled EP attracted the attention of many similar musical acts. Carus soon found himself touring with the likes of Jack Johnson, John Butler Trio and The Waifs.

Do you have an all time favourite song that you have written and what is it?

“It constantly changes, hopefully you’ll get better so you keep updating your favourite song. I’m feeling very good about a new song I’ve written about having a child and the complexities and beauty of life (if I can be so bold to think I can contain those kinds of subjects into a mere song.) Playing songs live can bring a different element to it as well as you can really dig the groove the band gets into or the way people respond. Upbeat rockers can feel great to play and it’s awesome to see a whole room getting into it. An introspective ballad or a story telling song can be more rewarding when you feel like you’ve got the feeling or the description of what’s happening right and it’s rewarding to see the crowd getting into it.”

When you were 18 and starting out in your career, did you have any idea how successful you would be one day?

“Not at all.  I just loved what I was doing, the whole way along. The success is a way to ensure that you can continue to play music and continue to write songs. Of course I love that I’ve been able to build a life from the success I’ve had with music. To make a living out of music you have to sacrifice quite a few things – time away from family or perhaps doing a gig here and there that you’d prefer not to do  but it enables you to do it for real. That’s something that has always been important to me.”

Any loves other than music?

“My wife, my son, surfing and the West!! I love this part of the world – Footscray, West Footscray, Yarraville, Seddon and I love that I’ve ended up living here and made it our family’s home. I love that you can walk through Footscray and feel like you’re in Vietnam or Africa. I have always wanted to live in a multicultural area like this. The Inner West is super cool and will remain unpretentious for years to come.”

If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?

“Acting or trying to write novels.”

You started writing at 12, what was the first song called and what was it about?

“The first song was terrible as it was about dolphins dying and oil falling into the sea. The first decent one I can remember was called “Cascade” and it had some terrible lines in it like, “A crystal tear cascades down your perfect cheek”. However I wrote a song at 20 about a friend passing away called “Thrown” and that is still one of my most loved songs. So I got it together eventually (hopefully or else everyone’s just being very polite!)”

Do you enjoy cooking? What’s your favourite recipe?

“I’m the world’s worst cook. I make toasted cheese and promite on toast pretty good though and not a bad pizza but now with Domenicos around the corner there’s not much point to that anymore.”


You write all of your own music, where do you draw inspiration from when you write songs and what’s your favourite part of the process?

“Songwriting I don’t really enjoy to be honest. It’s gotten harder as you get older because you’re trying not to repeat yourself and I guess you’re also trying to get better at the craft of it so you have higher standards. I draw inspirations from stories and people. You just need some kind of idea to kick something off and if it’s good enough it’ll get you the whole way. It takes me a lot of time now and the process can be quite demanding. I guess my favourite part is when you’ve finished the bugger and you play it for the first time to a crowd. You see it work and you see they dig it. Down the road when people know your songs and sing along that’s a pretty amazing feeling.”


Your career has involved travelling all over the world, is it hard maintaining your relationships back home when you’re away?


“Yes that’s certainly been hard. I haven’t managed to make it to this place without a fair bit of yearning and heartache along the way. The touring is something that had to be done and I’m very lucky that my wife has always supported me in my music and the touring of my music even though it has been hard at times.”

What’s the magic formula for success?

“Love what you do!  Do it because it’s who you are and what you want to do not because you want to be famous. Fame comes because of what you make, you don’t just get famous for being famous. Well people seem to try but it normally doesn’t work out well in the end and keep out of X Factor!”

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