Ships Have Sailed is the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Will Carpenter. The band materialized after a hesitant decision to individually focus on new music. The process was initially daunting but the risk proved to be invigorating and refreshing. The music became uplifting and buoyant. The lyrics revealed a thoughtful and conscientious perspective. And the sound evolved into sincere indie rock with an unabashed pop structure. After sharing it with fellow musicians, Carpenter recruited a lineup that now permanently includes drummer Art Andranikyan.
Carpenter describes the band's moniker not as a pessimistic reference to the renowned idiom "that ship has sailed," but instead a fresh, positive perspective on the unexpected outcomes of unforeseen circumstances. It's an adage that can be applied to his own life of growing up in poverty in rural Vermont and being kicked out of his home as a teenager. And it’s from these challenging experiences that Carpenter often reflects on to draw introspective inspiration.
With Carpenter acting as main producer in his home studio, Ships Have Sailed has recorded and released a diverse collection of albums, EPs, and singles that consistently evoke an unrestrained cathartic desire to be heard and enjoyed. Either through crescendoing ballads or indie rock alacrity, their music always captures a uniform sense of sanguine sensibility. And by combining an ardent work ethic with an impressive range, the band has maintained a well-earned buzz that has led to international tours, impressive industry showcases, and awards honoring their independence. They’ve had several songs spend weeks in the top five on listener-voted KROQ Locals Only (“Escape,” “Stay,” and “Take My Money" all reached number one). And most recently, the band received significant exposure after their cinematic single “Broken Hearts” was placed in an episode of CBS’s legal drama Bull.
Their new album Ages, most of which was co-produced by Dan Sadin (MØ, Joy Oladokun), is a testament to the band’s progressive journey. They openly admit that their new creative outlook focuses on optimism as a therapeutic reflex due to recent trying times –both global and personal. Their new lyrical message questions the pathway of life and time and how our perception of it will always change. And the result has made their music more profound than anything they’ve ever done before.
The album continuously and flawlessly pivots between epic anthems (“Escape”), acoustic serenades (“Skin”), and funky dance-pop (“Faithless”). Songs such as “Can’t Go Back” and “Breathe” conjure moody, atmospheric sonics. The title track “Ages” leans into open, emotive honesty while “More” is a hard-hitting blues banger. As a successive experience, it is thoroughly immersive and a guaranteed gamut of emotions.
“Lyrically and sonically, Ages represents a life arc,” says Carpenter. “It addresses an exploration of our humanity, our egos, and our instincts. It’s about how we change over time and are shaped by particular journeys and experiences because while I was shaping this album, my life was also shaping me.”
To celebrate the release of Ages, Ships Have Sailed recorded and broadcast a virtual album release show at Dan Sadin’s studio (RADD Sounds) in Ojai, CA – and the quality of the recording prompted Carpenter to remix the performance over the holidays and release Live from Ojai on May 5, 2023. In Carpenter’s own words: “There are a lot of firsts on this one – it’s my first live album, the first I’ve performed on, recorded or mixed, and it’s also the first time I’ve ever made an album completely by accident, but the vibe of these performances was so special, and captured so beautifully, I knew right away I couldn’t let it exist only in such a fleeting state.”
The events of the past several years have also brought a significant amount of grief. During the creation process of Ages, Carpenter’s mother-in-law succumbed to cancer. This traumatic event combined with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic opened Carpenter to a new perspective on life and its consequential choices. His creative pursuits, as always, have been greatly influenced by everything happening around him, so it’s no surprise that these poignant personal losses (his mother-in-law, an early musical mentor, and then his grandmother) resulted in a powerful new song called, "Silence" which was chosen to be featured on the season 19 finale of Grey’s Anatomy.
“As humans, one thing we have in common is the experience of loss,” muses Carpenter. “We begin to realize that our moments are never promised, and that can be both sad and empowering. When I wrote 'Silence' I found myself dealing with a heavy burden of grief, and simultaneously had so much going on that there was no room to process it. My mind was noisy. I made a deal with myself that I would find two minutes, twice a day, to just sit, be still and breathe, and this song just materialized in one of those moments. It’s a great reminder to find those moments of peace, calm, and quiet amidst all the noise.” "Silence" was released on May 18, 2023.
Last year saw many highs for Ships Have Sailed but one in particular hit home for Carpenter. A song came to him almost out of nowhere. It was whimsical and sweet but also deep and thought provoking. At first, he thought he knew the reason why it found him when it did, but shortly thereafter, he and his wife found out they were expecting their first child, a baby girl – and from there the song (their new single “Edge Of An Ocean”) began to make a lot more sense.
Carpenter recalls, “This song began as a premonition: a love letter to my unborn daughter. As I write this, she is just three weeks old. It's a big, beautiful, scary world, and I want her to experience the best of it without having to know the worst - but I also know that is impossible. In order to appreciate happiness, we must know sadness. In order to love deeply, we will always have to experience profound loss. In order to cherish the time we have here, and the moments we have with our loved ones, we must recognize it is all temporary. Somehow all those hopes, wishes and dreams, anchored by our bittersweet reality, wove themselves into this song, which presents as a bit unassuming, but may reveal a surprising amount of depth.”
As Carpenter was producing the single, he and his wife decided it would be fun to capture their journey to parenthood home video style using their iPhones and edit it into a music video for the song. After spending several weeks capturing footage of their growing family, they now have this beautiful piece of personal history that is married to the song and that will forever tell the story of how their family came to be. A true labor of love that they can now share with the world.
“Edge Of An Ocean” was released on July 18, 2023, and is available anywhere digital music is sold or streamed.
Disappear - Single
Get Loud - Single
Edge Of An Ocean - Single
Silence - Single
Live from Ojai - LP
Creep - Double A-Side
Ages - LP
Broken Hearts (Stripped) - Single
Broken Hearts - Single
Low - Single
Rise - Single
Stay (Stripped) - Single
Let’s Just Dance - Single
Mixed Up - EP
Up - Single
Whispers - Acoustic EP
Re: MIX - EP
Moodswings - LP
Someday - EP
Midnight - Single
Ships Have Sailed:
Will Carpenter - Vocals, Guitar, Production, Composition
Art Andranikyan - Drums