Upcoming British producer Carnivals offers sun soaked electronica, inspired by his recent travels into the wilderness.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 19 Jul 2012
  • min read
Described by one critic as the missing link between Burial and The Beatles, Carnivals, real name Stewart Green, melds warped guitar loops with snatched vocal samples and glitchy beats, building texture and space that echo his adventures abroad.

Last summer, he left the UK to sail across the Indian Ocean from tropical Australian town Darwin to Madagascar. During the voyage, shapes and ideas began to form in his mind, which eventually came together to form his upcoming EP Humility, released 7 August. It will be available on Bandcamp, where you can also listen to his first EP Mavi Kara.

Stewart, originally from Bury St. Edmunds, has temporarily relocated to Perth, Australia, and is in the process of setting up a new bedroom studio away from home. M spoke to him across the wire to find out more…

How did you start out making music?
I learned guitar when I was 13. I stopped playing football and sat in my bedroom instead. I’d play for an hour a day I was that desperate to get good at it. I wanted to be in a band. I’ve been in a couple of them but they didn’t really get anywhere. I’m passionate about music and I thought I had to find some way of making some, so I got Ableton and started playing around with guitars.

This project is only about two years old now. I’ve got a friend who I used to be in a band with, and he’s got a really good voice, so all the vocals you hear on my tracks are him. He sends me over his little vocal lines and I use them. I’m loving it. It’s so easy. It’s not like when you’re in a band and you have to arrange to meet up with people. I can just do it when I want – pull out my laptop and grab my guitar.

Yep, that’s true, I listened to their Crooks and Lovers a hell of a lot when it came out, so they are definitely an influence. I’ll play around for hours until I find something I really like. I don’t just want to record a guitar line and be done, I’ll play around with chords and effects, to find things that sound really interesting. After that I’ll look at the vocals. I think vocals are the most difficult thing to be satisfied with. I want them to sound like they’re saying something, but still be indistinguishable. I tend to reverse guitars a lot and use a lot of reverb.

For this newest EP I got a really small keyboard so I had access to a whole world of new sounds to play around with. So it’s all based around those three main things and then I start adding beats. I try to find things that sound really strange and different.

So what will trigger you to sit down and make something?
There are times when I get really frustrated by the whole process, so I need to be making something that I really like and am engaged with. I give up halfway on lots of tracks, if they sound boring or are too much like something else. It needs to be striking to me or I’ll get bored quickly and discard it.

When I write tracks there are sometimes 20 different sounds going on, so I guess that’s where the texture comes from. I want to capture the sound of travels. On our boat trip last year, the most amazing thing was being at sea for days and then finally glimpsing land. Also, seeing things you’ve never seen before. The Humility EP is a soundtrack to that.

You must have felt really disconnected out at sea. Did you find space for yourself and your music?
Yes definitely, it was amazing. We were completely apart from everything. I had a guitar and wrote a diary. I was supposed to write some new music last summer, but when this trip came about I didn’t get round to it. So when I was away, I filled up my book with new ideas, song titles, guitar lines. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t get anything down that when I got back, I was writing music every day.

Are you making music in Perth at the moment?
Not now as I’m quite busy and I need to organise a work space. And some time. Soon I’ll be dying to get some stuff written so I’ll find a way, I’m sure. The music scene is very different round here. The good thing about Sheffield is that I was an hour away from Manchester, an hour from Leeds – everywhere is really close.

What’s your favourite noise in the world?
Ha, I’m starting to think about food for some reason! I know – waves crashing against the hull of a boat.