CARPENTER BRUT: EP III & INTERVIEW.
Three years ago I was captivated by an album cover that featured a snow covered building with an upside down crucifix hung on its side and the words ‘Carpenter Brut‘ plastered on the front. The music was synth-based and electronic but darker and more abrasive than anything else happening in the genre. Gone were the neon colors and sunny, palm tree imagery. These sounds were geared for 3:00 a.m. disco parties in the graveyard starring Trash from Return of the Living Dead and all your favorite leather-clad ghouls.
Then in 2013 came the release of EP II, an album that I consider a 100% Grade-A masterpiece. I hadn’t heard music (or any form of art) that blended three of my favorite things in the world together – old horror movies, 1980’s heavy metal, and oozing synthesizers. The behemoth-sized production on the album was noticeably different from his previous material. The synths alone would make Justice and Kavinsky drop to their knees and beg for mercy. There are moments on this album that sound like 1984 George Lynch is wailing away on his ESP guitar in the same room as Fabio Frizzi. Other moments that will have you seeing an oasis of Italian models in leotards sweating it up in a dimly-lit aerobic studio.
So naturally Uncle T was excited when he heard Carpenter Brut was releasing his third opus in January. Excited…but fearful. Was it possible to top what was accomplished on the previous album? And was this truly THE END of it all?
After getting a full preview of the new album, I’m here to report that the answer to the above question is YES – he’s done it again, folks. EP III pushes everything we love about his music to the limit and wraps the trilogy up with a post-apocalyptic, ultra-violent bomb blast to our senses. But these themes of obliteration also create a sense of paranoia for anyone fearing that “the end is nigh” for Carpenter Brut. You can all rest easy because he’s planning for world domination which happens to start right now in 2015. In this exclusive meeting of the minds, Uncle T sat down with Carpenter Brut to discuss his new EP, plans for performing/touring this year with a live band(!), releasing a full-length album and more!
UT: Congratulations on EP III. Was creating a trilogy intentional?
CB: Thanks! Yes it was intentional. I like movie trilogies, their length allows for the creation of interesting worlds. I have tried to apply that to my music. The last song of the latest EP is about invasion while the first song on the first EP is about escape. It comes full circle.
The addition of vocals to your music is an interesting approach. How did this come about and who’s singing?
I wrote ‘Anarchy Road’ having Depeche Mode in mind. I am a big fan of this band, even if I’m not so fond of their latest albums. Depeche Mode just sweats class, and their vocals contribute to it. We actually sent the track to their manager, just for the fun of it. No answers of course. I asked Jim from Tusk/Trumps to add vocals. He has a really cool voice that fits the song perfectly. I will try to add more vocals on the next album, even if it is harder to put in place than working by myself on my keyboards. Instrumental melody is fine for some time but I sometimes feel a bit trapped in order to move on. The addition of vocals can absolutely turn an average track into a bomb so why pass on them?
If you could choose any real or fictional setting for a first-time listener to listen to your music, where would that ideal place be? My choice would be a real-life Castle Grayskull, with barbarian-babes dancing along to your songs…
In the Overlook Hotel’s entrance hall, right by the elevators doors.
If you could re-score any horror, sci-fi or action flick of the past, what would it be?
Tough question. I have to say I have no clue. I think music is so linked to the images of a movie that it is hard to imagine it differently and with another vibe. I cannot imagine Star Wars composed by someone else than John Williams. Maybe I would go for “The Road”. This movie moved me so much that it would be quite a violent experience for me.
The ‘heavy metal’ vibe of your music really stands out. How does one evoke the spirit of heavy metal in electronic music form?
Maybe in the structure of the songs – that good old classic “verse/chorus” – or by including breaks that can be rock or metal oriented. I try, however, not to have a metal sound, even if I use keyboards with some thickness and distortion. I also want to sound heavy and powerful, and it might not be that common in traditional electro music. But I certainly don’t want to play metal music with keyboards.
You’re one of the only current electronic musicians that I could NEVER picture hunched over a lone laptop during a live show. Your music is just so huge and dynamic, so I was happy to see you transitioning to a band. Without revealing too much, what can hungry CB fans expect to see on this tour?
It will be our very first shows with this line-up so we will start by performing the songs the best we can. We have a lot of ideas that will develop in the long run but, because we lack time and means, our goal will simply be that people have a good time, with their heads exploding in a friendly and smooth environment. We will also have a knives stand.
I’m assuming you’ll have percussion on your first live tour. What else? Synthesizers and guitars? The last I heard Kane Roberts was out of work and looking for a guitar gig.
We’ll have drums, keyboards and guitar. It will allow us to bring some overall groove as well as some 80s guitar-hero pieces.
Are you a practicing satanist, and if so, Uncle T would love to wash down a couple quaaludes & some demon blood with you when you visit Los Angeles.
Haha. No I stopped when I was 12.
How important do you feel physical media is? For me, most of the time I like having something to hold and stare at when I’m listening to an album.
I am torn. On one hand I am a lazy dude and I listen to Spotify rather than digging in my records collection to find this or that album. I am even too lazy to sort them by alphabetical order. But on the other hand, if I really like an album, I buy the vinyl because the artist behind deserves to earn the maximum amount of money for the work and because the object is nicer than a CD. Chances are it will never end up on my turntable though. I don’t know how people still take time to listen to music given that now you can listen to music anywhere and all the time. I know some people still enjoy sitting on a couch to listen to a good vinyl. That’s why we release our albums on a physical support but in small amounts because it is always more expensive to make than putting them on iTunes.
Artwork for Carpenter Brut’s “Trilogy” 3xLP, coming this March.
If you could hire only one woman (living or dead) to star as a video vixen in one of your music videos, who would it be?
Monica Bellucci with a chainsaw in each hand.
Do you collect anything weird/interesting besides music? Are the walls of the Carpenter Brut lair adorned with anything strange?
Not really. Like everyone I have McFarlane movie figures. I waited for 25 years before owning He-Man’s Castle Grayskull. “Santa” didn’t seem to know what it was back in the days so I always ended up with cool stuff but never this damn castle. But my walls are more covered with acoustic panel. I had Ghostbusters Legos for Christmas though, I’m very proud of them.
Are you looking forward to seeing anything in particular while traveling to foreign lands on tour?
Not really. The simple idea of travelling thanks to my music is enough to make me happy. I always like to leave France anyway.
Any last words for the Land of TNUC and your fans?
“By the power of Grayskull…”
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Carpenter Brut will release EP III on January 19th. Digital pre-orders are available now at this location. While we wait until March for the “Trilogy” 3xLP vinyl to arrive, digital pre-orders are available here. Keep an eye on his Facebook page for tour dates.
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Anarchy Road sounds ace! Looking forward to the EP.
Good job getting the interview.
Uncle T, do you know the names of all the movies from the teaser video? The movies look pretty epic and from what I’ve just witnessed, they deserve a spot in my VHS collection.
I can’t name em all, but Bronx Warriors and all those great Mark Gregory flicks are definitely a good start