Interview: Carpenter Brut

How long does it take you to compose a song? 

Between the moment I start a song and until I consider it done, it can be six or seven months.

How precise are you when it comes to what sound you would like? Do you take your time to play around with effects on software and /or hardware?

I pay attention to everything while remaining detached from the knowledge of the maximum potential the sound can achieve with mixing, mastering etc. I put pressure on myself only regarding the composition. I dont care about the sound. It comes naturally with the song. I dont want to sound better than anyone else. Actually I dont listen to anything else when I work on my songs. It allows me to remain focused and not risk being influenced by something on the way. So I just focus on the melody. I dont experiment with stupid sound effects just to fill the void. I dont have any hardware yet, everything is in the computer. This is enough but I am thinking about investing in something consistent for live shows, like a Prophet 6 for example.  

EP III is a tremendous sounding record, however, "Anarchy Road" seems to have mixed views on vocals. Did you expect negative feedback from this?

Of course. There are some [mixed views] actually, and that was predictable. Synthwave ayatollahs dont like when you change the rules. Well fuck them, I absolutely do what I want and I invite them to do the same. Take your synthesizer and have fun like I do rather than crying because I did a pop song with vocals to play at Coachella.

Depending on this feedback, do you want more vocals in your music or less?

There will be some vocals on the next album, that is for sure. Doesnt matter what people think. I shall do things the way I want and not according to what they say.

Were there any difficulties in making EP III, any you could compare to the previous two albums?

The more you advance, the more you dont want to be redundant. So the hardest part is not to be satisfied and rehashing the same stuff. Obviously I wont do another « Roller Mobster bis » or a second « Le Perv » but I am also a technically limited musician. So the chords or the melody would be in the same spirit no matter what. I could not reinvent myself either. EP III might be a more condensed product of what I know how to do and better that the two first ones. And it was hard work indeed.

The French seem to have a habit of making brilliant electronic music, who are your favorite French musicians?

Justice. I dont know what to expect about the third album though. The second one blew me away less than the first. But these guys are talented and smart, they will know how to catch the current trend and put out some killer music.

Are these favorite musicians firm influences, or do you tend to wander off into other music genres too? You seem to be focused on an 80s vibe.

Aging tends to make you nostalgic. I grew up in the 80s and obviously my childhood memories lay there: the first computers and consoles, the Star Wars or Indiana Jones sagas. It was fun and exciting. Except one or two things, todays music bores me. Carpenter Brut was born from the frustration of not having any wild electro in minor key, to change a bit. So I am obviously influenced by what I like to listen to and I try to inject that into what I play.   

How were you approached to have your music feature on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number?

On Twitter. Somebody mentioned me to Jonathan and he got the two EPs on Bandcamp. I received an email later asking me if it was ok. Of course it was. I tried to play the first one, I liked the spirit of it but I suck so much that I could not finish it. I asked if I could have an easy version of the second one just for me. They said "no". 

Are you a fan of the first Hotline Miami game?

I like it a lot, its really well thought out, visually on purpose and the soundtrack is cool. It is the kind of stuff typically made by passionate people who enjoyed doing it, you can tell.

Do you plan on working with anymore people like Corridor Digital and the Deka Brothers?

Maybe, I dont know yet. I have Silver Strain on one side, Deka Bros on the other. I feel well surrounded. Id like to try something with Seth Ickerman one day, I like his style.

Where did the name Carpenter Brut come from?

From a Champagne brand.

How often do you play live? What is your favorite gig you've ever done?

We just started our first gigs. There is still a lot of work but the feedback is rather positive. Once again, the goal is not to please people but to please ourselves on stage. And there is still some work before reaching that goal. I think that if we have fun, people will have fun too.

What's the best kind of venue to play your kind of music? Small? Big?

Average ahah. As long as the venue is well equipped and allows us to perform with the video and a good FOH sound, fine by us. Then I think that a venue packed with 300 hyped people is more fun than 1,000 bored people.

What countries would you like to visit to play live?

Aside conflict zones, any country will be good. Montreal would be first on my wish list though. I would be happy to play anywhere of course but Montreal is THE place I want to perform. I want to go there, and why not stay there ahah.

How do you know when you're ready to make new music? Is it a gut feeling or does it relate to boredom?

I know when I have an idea that seems like a good starting point. It clicks just like that but I cant tell what triggers it. Im starting to think about the concept of the album, knowing that, considering the pace I work at, it probably wont be out until 2016. But for now, I have nothing precise in mind.

Your music videos have a cinematic power to them. Do you think movie scenes while making songs?

When I compose, I need to have a scenario in mind otherwise I have no clue where Im heading. Each song tells a story. The title is always a clue. My scenarios are more B movies than anything. Theres always at least one girl who dies.

Do you know what will be next for you? More music? Touring? Or a kick back and relax with an ice cold beverage in your hand?

Id like to relax but I cant. I have to play, improve the show, work on songs to extend the show. I also have two or three remixes waiting for me and maybe some video game music to score. And this is just the work until the end of March. Then we will see. 

~Questions by Matthew Clewley

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Discovery: Interview: Carpenter Brut
Interview: Carpenter Brut
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