It’s getting rare that I love a new artist. Being old in a sad environment makes me truly appreciate when a new and fresh discovery comes to my dull ears. Carpenter Brut is one of them. Smartly combining dark visuals from various influences (Satanism, Lovecraft, slasher movies…) with a powerful 80’s style electro music, Carpenter Brut and its two first EPs comes as a sulfurous and perverse answer to Kavinsky or Justice. Interview with the artist behind the sweet name Carpenter Brut.
You said you started playing electro from scratch with no prior experience. As a green horn, how do you compose your songs?
Just like I can. At the beginning by copying what I like and little by little finding my own style and improving it. Then I find myself running in circles and losing motivation so I start something fresh and it’s like starting again from zero. So obviously it’s not great at the beginning and so on. It’s a vicious circle but it’s a fun one.
I decided to interview you after watching the video “Le Perv” for the fifteenth time. Your music has a sexy kick and the images you picked for this track definitely prove it. Is sex a source of inspiration for your music?
Not at all. I actually don’t care. But I like the idea that people can go crazy while listening to my music. So I guess sex can be part of that. I find a song more interesting when it has a sexy touch: the groove, the good bpm, etc… For example I find funk music more interesting than 1993 German industrial music.
Metalheads, and especially black metal fans, discovered a sudden love for 80’s electro. It is now hype to dance to Lazerhawk or Perturbator (the latter borrowing the esthetic codes of metal for a music that has nothing to do with it). I thought it was because ecstasy is now easy to get at a gothic party but it seems deeper than that. As an electro artist and a metalhead, what do you think about this trend?
I’m not sure why metal fans got into it. But the fact that you point that out only now does not mean this passion is sudden. Maybe some metalheads cry while listening to Tears For Fears. One reason could be that managing an electro project is way easier than managing a band: You are the only one composing, you don’t wait for your bassist or drummer for hours since you don’t have to practice, you don’t hit the road with eight people squished in a van, you don’t play for peanuts and you sleep in an actual hotel. Add to that a nostalgic note and you might have good reasons to start. Anyway I trust the media to turn this into something cheesy within a year before they glorify a new stupid trend.
Artists aside, how do you explain that a good chunk of the metal audience seems to purely musically enjoy a vintage electro at the opposite of their usual music?
I have no idea. I think that listening to metal does not mean you’re narrow-minded. Could this music actually be a link and a common interest between metalheads, geeks and gamers? The common point is the fun. Moshing is fun. Collecting stuff is fun. Playing a videogame is fun. And electro music is fun too. Outrun, car racing at night, Hotline Miami, destroying everything, gore, this is fun! It doesn’t take itself seriously. People are sick to hear they have to eat five fruits and five veggies a day. Everything is so square, you can’t smoke at shows, you have fences everywhere on everything… Fun is gone, man. Monster or Redbull and their half-naked hostesses endorse today’s partying. Heineken packs feature Busy P and you listen to all this shit with Beat headphones. I don’t call this fun. Anyway, maybe it does not answer the question but it might be part of it. I think people are bored, for real.
Except a few artists (Mysticum, Dodheimsgard and some hybrid parts of Peste Noire), I’ve always found the mix between electro and extreme metal very risky. What do you think about this? Would you consider adding some influences or would you rather stick to the style of your two first EPs?
I agree with you, electro and distorted guitars are rarely successful together. If there are hip-hop vocals on top of it, I’ll immediately rush to the bathroom. Adding metal in Carpenter Brut is out of question, it will remain purely electro. But I use my rock music background to compose. So I don’t sound and will never sound like Gasaffelstein for instance, because it is not my scene, I did not grow up with it and I don’t know how to do it. I don’t think I will ever be a part of this scene. But in my mind I play electro and it should remain so. I’m trying to evolve on the third EP but it will remain Carpenter. It will be “happier” and less “violent”. There is no Le Perv or Roller Mobster part 2. I don’t see the point of doing this. So some people will be disappointed and some will prefer the new stuff, same usual story.
Can you tell us the story behind the teaser for the second EP? Which planet is this girl from?
I have two buddies who are brothers and filmmakers and live in the U.S. I have worked on the music for their upcoming medium-length movie called Father and Son. We liked the idea of working on a short teaser for the second EP. They had an actress who cancelled at the last minute and the casting agency then sent Rashontae. Thanks guys, perfect! Since then she became Miss Michigan 2015. Assuming it works like France, she might just end up being Miss USA ahah!
You can be proud for picking a striking stage name, Carpenter Brut. The reference to John Carpenter is obvious but where does the “brut” come from? I imagine Manuel Ferrara in a lumberjack jacket, with his big log ready…
It actually comes from Charpentier Champagne. That’s all.
People usually love or hate John Carpenter movies. Some think he is a genius, some think he is over rated. I’m actually torn. Dude can make both masterpieces like Halloween or The Thing and turkeys like Vampires or Los Angeles 2013. I’m even not talking about In the Mouth of Madness or Prince of Darkness that disappoint me so much while I was only asking to love them. Could you tell me what you love about Carpenter? What do you think are his best and worst movies?
I’m part of the people who think he’s a genius, even if he is not one really. You mentioned Vampires: there was a book in the collector DVD box of the movie featuring a long interview of Carpenter. Might well have been the only book I’ve read in my life. At the end, dude just does everything on his own because studios tell him to go fuck himself. And he did the same to them. The only thing that matters for studios being money, this explains why Los Angeles 2013 sucks while New York 1997 is awesome. They must have given him too much of a budget that he did not know what to do with. Just like when a record company gives you a lot of money, you are not really the one in control. Carpenter is at his best when he gives the finger to the establishment, when he is totally independent and has $400 to shoot a movie. At the end he created epic movies: Halloween, The Thing, New York 1997, They Live…
In the interview you gave to Fier Panda, you said you are more into U.S. old school slashers than into Italian horror flicks. I second that. Argento or Fulci productions have always bored me despite their arguably good visual qualities. These last years have seen a lot of remakes (Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes and more recently Maniac or Evil Dead). What did you think of these? What about Rob Zombie’s two Halloween?
I did not take the time to see them. I follow the basic principle that what has been done does not need to be done. This wave of remakes cannot even manage to hide the lack of creativity in recent cinema. Nothing happens. It’s all about recycling movies and adapting comics. As a result, I’m bored to death. I don’t understand why in the 1980’s we had Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future or Robocop, amongst many others and now nobody seems to be able to create real characters, sagas, new worlds. We’re just good at (poorly) remaking 1,000 year-old cool movies.
Classic question: If you had to score the soundtrack of a porn movie, what kind would you go for? Hardcore gonzo? Raw amateur? Hairy vintage? Big budget production? Something different?
I’d rather go for a snuff movie. Or a children animation where they learn colors, numbers and letters.
What are you listening to right now?
I’m getting back into old school hardcore, Sick Of It All, Madball, Terror… I like the Morricone influence in the new Ibrahim Maalouf album. I dig the new Comeback Kid album. And eternal glory to Wovenhand, the only artist that blows me away. Mystical. And this fucking EP III too, I’m tired of it.
You have already done two shows with Carpenter Brut. Is there one place in particular you’d like to play? What can we expect from your shows?
I honestly have no preference for where to play. I would not seek shitty deals for the sake of saying “I played there”. We try for our show to be an intense, physical but fun hour-long experience. We’d love to see people’s heads exploding like in Cronenberg Scanners. Silver Train is working on some cool video too. I think it will be a lot of fun.
Translation by JB.