Interview: New Carnival

Bristol-based three-man band New Carnival are set to release their debut EP ‘Where Do You Wanna Go?’ this month, after making quite a splash with two well-received releases over the last couple of years. Their first track reached number 13 on Hype Machine, while the second reached over 150,000 viewers online, ensuring their first proper release would be hotly anticipated. We caught up with Max, Bertie and Billy ahead of their release to talk home studios, DIY aesthetics and plans for the future.  

How long have you been making music together and tell us the history of how you formed as a band?

Max started writing songs when he was really young. He was originally in a band with just his brother, and they made their first album when Max was about seven. We then met later down the line, but were all doing various different things in different bands, and then formed New Carnival when we got to university about four years ago. Max then actually dropped out last year, and set up this studio in his bedroom and got writing and recording this EP, and now here we are.

Where did the name New Carnival come from?

We looked, but Led Zeppelin had already been taken.

Tell us about your musical influences. 

They’re pretty far and wide. We like all sorts of stuff. At the moment we’re listening to a lot of that Sade record Diamond Life and a lot of Howlin’ Wolf. We love stuff like Funkadelic, Steve Miller Band, Blackalicious, David Bowie, George Harrison, ZZ Top, Dusty Springfield, Limp Bizkit, Fat Man Scoop – not really sure how they all influence the music, but maybe they do somehow.

Where has been your favourite place and venue to perform in?

We just played a gig at The Old Blue Last, that was very fun. Pretty sweaty. We love playing in Bristol – Start The Bus is always nice. We’ve got another show at The Crofters Rights in a few weeks too, which is always good.

What are you aiming towards musically?

Something really good. That would be nice.

Tell us about your creative process – are you heavily involved in the album artwork and music videos?

Max writes all the songs and tends to record demos at the same time. Then all three of us work out how we can try and play it live. One of the tracks off our forthcoming EP called ‘End Song’ he wrote and recorded all in the same day and we’ve stuck with the original recording. There’s about five different guitar parts on it, so that was a tricky one to adapt for our live show, but we got it.

We’ve been totally involved in all of the creative side of things. Our mates shot our music video with us, and we came up with the idea with them as we went along. Same thing with the artwork. It’s all been homegrown, which is really nice to have that control over things.

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Tell us about your upcoming music and projects you are working on?

We’ve got an EP out 20th November. We recorded the whole thing ourselves up in Max’s bedroom in the studio. We’ve got a few bits and bobs equipment-wise up there that we love. We recorded everything in analogue which meant it was a pretty lengthy process sometimes, but Max is really in to all that stuff so he was happy to put in some long hours. We’ve got a double A-side coming out after Christmas that we’re really excited for you to hear, and then an album or something I guess sometime after that. It’s all pretty busy.

What advice would you give to fellow bands starting out in the music industry? 

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Who are your ones to watch in the music industry?

We love Beach Baby, their new song ‘Limousine’ is sweet. We played a show with Declan Mckenna the other day too, he’s awesome. Lawrence Taylor, and our friends Ardyn, they’re stuff is amazing, and Nathan Ball. Max actually does his production with another guy called Will Taylor who is awesome behind the desk.

And finally, what’s your favourite Madonna song?

‘Like A Virgin’, ‘Like a Prayer’ or ‘Into The Groove’, but we can’t call it.

  • Check out the video for debut single ‘Where Do You Wanna Go?’ below. The EP of the same name is available November 20th.