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Carnival in Coal Interview

Can Başkent

logic and the rest...



Can & Utku: Salud! I hope you have enough patience today for explaining us your brief bio and the things which you want us to learn?
AXEL: Hi everybody ! No problem, here is the true story of Carnival in Coal: We're the first french puzzle-metal band ever and we're hungry for your soul!!! Arno and I began in 1995 with the idea of blending grind-core and disco, we made a demo-tape, and after signing we released 3 albums (The first one, "Vivalavida", is not distributed outside of France, and was released in 1999. Then "French Cancan", which is a covers album, released late 1999; and finally "Fear not Carnival in Coal", in 2001).

Carnival in Coal... Nice caption, but what does it mean?.. Light my mind please..
Well, Arno (He sings and writes all the lyrics) came one day with this name. I found it very original, and it marvellously expresses the music we do: it deals with feast, joy, life (carnival) and depression, madness and death (Coal).

How are your relations with Season of Mist and Kodiak Records... Honestly, we got used to received slightly "blackish" releases from Season of Mist; but one day they came up with "Fear Not".. How did you hook up with them? Feel free to gossip...
In fact, many record labels wanted to catch the deal, and finally, Season of Mist came with more money than Universal !!! No, I'm afraid the truth is less glamourous !!! In fact, Kodiak is led by someone we really trust, we can really stand by him, and even if it's an small independent label he works very professionaly and honestly. He found out the deal with Season of Mist to release Carnival in foreign countries and make promotion. We don't directly deal with them, except for promotional affairs.

Would you tell us your position in French underground scene?
I think we're a kind of cult-band. We don't do any concerts, for we're just a duo and we have other occupations, so our contact with our fans is quite abstract, even if we receive and answer back to many mails. Fortunately many journalists like our music, we've had very good reviews in many magazines, so it helped us building our credibility.

How was the period of releasing your latest work, "Fear Not"? Please say something about the comments of the people you met after launching the album? Did your girlfriends like it?
In fact all the people in our close surroundings are the first listeners of our albums, for they can hear the evolution of what we do from the demos to the definitive songs. Moreover we often test the new songs on our friends and relatives, to get fresh opinions, and sometimes they don't hesitate to tell us when we do real shit !!!

I remember when I first listened to "Fear Not"... It was really enjoyable.. The intelegent mixture of hard meledies and enjoyable & unexpected lyrics.. What are your thoughts about Carnival in Coal...
In fact our music is the result of a long period when we were waiting for a band to do this...as nothing was coming up we decided to create the band in order to make the music that crawled in our heads. We both love disco, lounge music and pop as much as metal and extreme musics...Carnival is a crossing of all these tendencies. We get inspired by everything around us...television, advertisings, movies, records,sounds around us. We're very curious, very hungry when it deals with sound and music. When I listen to a record, I learn a lot of informations about composition, production and performing. I always try to open my ears and mind. And we like original bands, others are fucking boring. We like to be surprised by other bands

Could you please tell the story behind the last track on "Fear Not"? What's the problem of that guy swearing in the street late at night???
It was just a drunk guy shouting during a warm summer night...too warm maybe! I was working at the studio, the window was open, a mike was plugged, I just had to keep it outside to get all the scene ! In fact I couldn't see him during the scene but he was shouting so loud that I could get everything !!! It happened sometimes in this neighborhood, it was quite lively !!

It seems that you're absolutely pessimist about life, people and the stuff like that. It's the result that I got from your gloomy tunes and lyrics. Stand for our new question: What do you think about feelings of the audiences while listening to your music? On the other hand, what/how do you feel while making music??
I don't really know how people feel while listening to our music, but I think they feel the way we do while listening to Mr Bungle, Fantomas or stuff like that: first puzzled, disturbed, and then amused, sometimes frantic! I think you 'd be quite deceived seeing us in studio: we work very quietly, in a very meticulous way, it has nothing in common with the final result !!! Sometimes we invite friends or fans in studio and the mood is always relaxed, we almost never sacrifice anybody to eat his kidneys and liver, ha!ha!

Easily realized that you have lots of influences from tons of genres and musicians.. Counting some of them will help us to taste your music deeply.. For example, what's your fave Mr. Bungle album? So, begin please,it's your turn...
My favourite Bungle's album is "Disco Volante", cause it's the hardest to listen to; It's complete madness !! Arno prefers the first one and "California". I'm a great fan of Frank Zappa, and I also like musics like easy-listening (Burt Bacharach, Mike's flowers pops, Pizzicato Five), pop and disco. Arno is often in a metal mood, he listens a lot to brutal death, grind, hardcore and so on.

Season of Mist, in your bio leaflet, claims that your melodies are surrealist.. Do you both identify yourselves as two surrealists; or it's just an promotional surrealism, for selling more?.. Choose one: Dali or Gougen...
If think surrealism is a heritage for us. We love Dali, Magritte, Delvaux's paintings, for example, and many of our songs are the results of the surrealist techniques: stylistic pasting, onirism, provocation, surreal sex, automatic writings, and many others...I think we can be seen as surrealists, even if it is not always intentional, it's the natural expression of what we love and what we want to hear.

What about the extreme and brutal violence in your lyrics.. Do you have enough arguments to defend yourself, while giving an interview to me, who identifies himself as an anarchist & pacifist activist...
Our lyrics are often about surrealism: surreal sex, surreal violence, I mean sex and violence pushed so far that it becomes surreal ! We're pretty quiet people in the real live. I'm pretty into zen philosophy these times!

Do you have any gig experiences?.. If so, how were the reactions of the audiences.. Do you have extra stuff for live shows..
No, we don't do shows at all...we used to with our previous bands (House of wax and Extravaganza, some kind of Faith No More/Prong metal) but since we're only two members and we have other activities (the fact is, we don't do carnival for a living), we can't do any live show.

Are you really stronger than pokemons nowadays?? I prefer to be stronger than Dubya (G.W.Bush) nowadays :))
Indeed, we're really stronger than Pokemons (we've cought'em all several times !), and we try to be dumber than Bush but it's pretty hard. I mean, no one deserves terrorism, but I think both Ben Laden and Bush are dangerous toward the world's safety.

Why there is a Christ figure in the cover of "Fear Not"?.. I couldn't understand the corelation between that figure and the other insects...
It's an idea from our designer...he just found a graphic correlation between insects ans christ's position...there's no particular message, but I like to think that Jesus has no more importance than an insect toward the universe. I don't agree with religion in general. religion has nothing to do with spirituality, for I think religion is dependence.

What are your opinions about your homecountry, France.. Do you all still expect one more "Jean of Arc" for the revolution? Do you know who is Josi Dovi?
Well, even if France is a cool country, I don't feel like a real french guy, I've always felt like a world citizen. Each country has its qualities, each people and races have something to share and to teach. Politics and economics in France are corrupted, we all know that, but it's the same thing everywhere... I think you talk about Jose Bove...he tries to fight against corruption, capitalism and the loss of french identity...he became a kind of idol here, I think we need more people like him...

You're expected to send us some Paris souvenir in the honour of this intie.. Nice idea, isn't it? What do you want us to send you in order to respond your nice gift :))) ??
it' s very kind of you...I don't know...maybe a Selim Tataroglu's autograph...oh no, I've got a better idea: a real turkish meal ! I love to taste foreign food ! And I've never eaten something typically turkish.

What do you know about Turkey, where Sonic Splendour hails.. Any known Turkish melodies, rhytms, instruments??
Aaaaaah, turkish delights !! I must say I'm not familiar to turkish typical music, but I'm very open to foreign cultures and I like to collect ethnic music instruments. So, if you don't wanna send us a turkish meal as a gift, send us turkish musical instruments !

Stop. It's your last chance to influence our readers to buy your CDs..
Well, buy our cd. Please. Buy it. I said buy it. BUY IT. BBBUUUUYYY IIITT !! WHY DON'T YOU BUY IT ??? YOU JUST BUY IT ! Don't get on my nerves, JUST BUY IT !!! BUY IIIIIIIIIIT !!! WILL YOU BUY IT ?? BUY IT !! ...ok, do you think that's enough ?

Thanx for your time & energy you squandered on this intie. Bye.
Thank you very much for your support and interesting questions. Hail to all Turkey, peace, love and finally, buy it (or steal it) !