We have a chat with the band as they head in a new direction.
After a raucous 2016, New Carnival are hurtling on to pastures new with a junk in the trunk funk explosion. Elements of Shalamar and George Duke cross streams with Bowie, Japanther and Thee Oh Sees to make one big nostalgia mind bender. A movement away from their previous indie pop joviality, the “Funk Special” is New Carnival at their finest; hips shaking, hair flaying, balls out.
We caught up with the boys about their new music, changing direction and keeping it funky.
How did you all meet?
At the back of a bus, listening to Rage Against The Machine and Fatboy Slim.
First impressions of each other?
Decent taste in music.
Do you all like similar music?
It’s a mixed bag to be honest, we all like Hip-Hop, then maybe a bit of Steve Reich in the afternoon. After that, it’s anyone’s game.
You’re from Bristol, home of Banksy, Massive Attack and those weird green drinks in Lizard Lounge. How has growing up in such a creative city influenced you?
We’re actually not! We all grew up near Bristol, and then ended up moving there properly when we were about 19 years old. “New Carnival” is from Bristol though, if you get what I mean, it’s the place where things started for us. We recently moved, and we’re missing it. But we just played a really fun show there, at one of our favourite venue’s called The Louisiana – it’s always good going back. It’s such a great city.
When you decided to become a band, did you have the same vision for how you wanted the band to sound?
Yeah, for sure. Over the years, we’ve gone through various different sounds, but there’s always been this sense of artistic control that has been really important to us. With Max doing all the writing and production himself, the music has remained home-grown – we’ve been able to make the music we want to make and sound the way we want to sound.
“It was a welcomed bit of freedom to create something similar to an album, but without the pressure….and it’s funky AF.”
The last time we spoke to you, you were just releasing your video for “Where Do You Wanna Go?” What have you been up to since then?
Oh yeah! We’ve been super busy. We’ve released a few singles, done a couple of videos, recorded some new tracks, played a few shows, made some good decisions, made some bad decisions. You know what it’s like.
Can you tell us about your new mixtape, “The Funk Special”?
Sure. Well for starters, it’s a mixtape – you have to listen to it from start to finish. It was conceptualised, written and recorded in six weeks : the last six weeks of 2016…..Shit had really hit the fan. Government bodies lying. Musical heroes dying. Trump was in. The UK was out. The whole world gone mad. It sprung from there. Max recorded the whole thing in various people’s bedrooms, living rooms and lofts across London and Bristol with Olly. We sampled some stuff, did a couple of “funk specials” of some tracks you may be familiar with. It’s rough and ready. Mostly cut live – it’s been poured over, but not to death. It’s different to anything that’s come before from us. Just put it on. See how you go..
If you had to chose a favourite track, which one would it be?
Either “Better Late Than Never”, or the “Outro”.
What were the inspirations for the mixtape?
A mixtape’s an opportunity to experiment. You don’t have to worry too much about writing full ‘songs’. They inhabit a similar sort of place as an LP, they are a body of work, but then again, they are quite different. The inspiration came from our love of Hip-Hop mixtapes. They are their own entities. This one is a snap shot in time. It takes you on a journey, ebbing and flowing through a few different moods. It was a welcomed bit of freedom to create something similar to an album, but without the pressure….and it’s funky AF.
What else are you up to this year?
We just did our first headline UK tour, with our new German friends Gurr supporting, it was a real laugh. Now, we’re taking the summer to write and record some more tracks, then we’ve got our biggest headline show to date at Omeara -Thursday 21st September. There are two more singles in the pipeline, waiting to be released. Then hopefully back on the road with an LP coming at you for 2018. That’s what we’re shooting for anyway.. But for now, here’s the Funk Special.
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