Interview Carpenter Brut – “Metalheads who are used to digging deeper will realize the music is kitschy fun and not kitschy dumb” (GMM 2019)

It’s been a couple of years now since Graspop Metal Meeting has started thinking outside of the box for their line-up selection. The biggest metal festival in Belgium is no longer solely boasting bands who fall into the that category. That’s how last year, we were treated to a set by The Bloody Beetroots or Parturbator, the latter having been the first synthwave artist to be featured at the no longer puritain festival. This year, colleague in eighties-themed musical mischief Carpenter Brut held the synthesizer spot in the Redbull Metal Dome. I danced my ass off to their set, and after it was over, hurried said ass backstage for an interview with the mastermind behind ‘Trilogy’ and ‘Leather Teeth’.

GRIMM: By the way, who played the saxophone part on ‘Paradise Warfare’?

I composed it on a synthesizer. When I play it live it sounds more like synth rather than real saxophone, only to have it blend better into the set. I fear people will react poorly if I play saxophone on a synth. Moreover I don’t feel like paying a saxophone player for a whole tour to just perform fifteen seconds of a song, you know? *laughs*

I don’t want to end up making music like The Midnight, who include saxophone as a prominent part of their music. I think it’s a bit overdone and as a consequence it’s become somewhat of a stereotype in the genre. I mean, what’s next? Accordion? After three songs I want to hear a different instrument.

That’s one of the reasons why I added steel drums to ‘Paradise Warfare‘. In order to mix it up a little. That was actually my wife’s idea. Then I drew some inspiration from the soundtrack to ‘48 Hrs.‘ and ‘Another 48 Hrs.‘, which comprise of a lot of steel drums, so there you have it.

Grab your sweetheart and slow dance to that sexy sax!

GRIMM: It seems like you’re not scared to take it less serious then. Aren’t you scared to lose that touch of humour in Carpenter Brut?

The thing is, it started out as a joke. The name in itself is a play on words. It mixes the name of director John Carpenter and the champagne brand ‘Charpentier Brut’. I guess a joke can get bigger too, of course. Now there’s ten of us on the road, we have a tour bus, there’s set pieces and props,… It’s become quite the machine. Nevertheless, I am adamant about preserving the fun aspect of it all.

GRIMM: Won’t you be running the risk it’ll all become too serious at some point?

Since I maintain having a hand in every aspect of this project, in return I can decide whether it remains fun or not. Because if you have to listen to the people in the music business, you’re “the best artist on the planet” or “with you, we could make millions” and more of that bullshit. You’ll end up with a product that’s not really yours any longer. Worse, you’ll lose what distinguishes you from other artists and become a product to be compared to others. Besides I don’t like sharing. Yes, I share with my partners, my team and my wife, but all the assholes who come knocking on my door now, and who five years ago couldn’t have cared less, can just forget about it. It may seem presumptuous, but that’s just the way I work.

GRIMM: I can respect that. On a totally different yet not unrelated note, I want to close this interview by asking you what your favorite B movie would be?

I’ve got a particular soft spot for ‘Street Trash‘. It’s super fun. Apparently it was the writing and directorial debut of cameraman James Muro, who worked on movies with Clint Eastwood among others. He hates his own movie, even though it’s the only one he ever made *laughs*. I also like ‘Bad Taste‘ by Peter Jackson a lot.

I don’t have that big a knowledge of movies in general, because I had to watch movies to which I had only limited access growing up, since internet wasn’t as around. And I think horror movies now are way too serious, so it’s not for me. I did like ‘It Follows‘ though.

GRIMM: I’l make sure to check out ‘Street Trash’. Thanks for the recommendation and for taking the time to chat.

You’re welcome. See you soon.


Wim is an avid enthusiast of any form of extreme music that ranges from ridiculously profound to profoundly ridiculous.

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