Kid Carpet interview

on Thursday 22 February 2007

eGigs chats to one of the kids that got away without taking any Ritalin, Kid Carpet, about his tour, style and interesting name.

Kid Carpet

How’s the tour going? You tour a lot don’t you?

The tour's going great, I've done three nights in the UK and this is the fourth night of six shows, and then I've gone and booked a whole load of other gigs, so the tour is basically endless really, but this first bit is six dates. I haven't toured for a while, because I've been trying to write my tricky second album you see, so for a year or so I've been head down at home trying to sort it out....well, basically playing a lot of solitaire on the computer, I've finished that now, back on the road, and the gigs keep coming in.

How did you start out?

I was in this old indie band; we got a deal with a big independent label, and we got a big advance on money; I was the singer, and I got a sampler that I use now, and got really into using that. The rest of the band were buying drum kits, guitar amps, double basses and massive guitar stack amplifiers, huge pianos, and muggins 'ere had to drive it all around while they get pissed and do the show. That made me think “riiight, ok, there's gotta be an easier way of doing this”so I took a tenner to a car boot sale, came back with a couple of keyboards and a plastic guitar, and was like “I'll do an album with this”. So logistically it's lightweight, easy to carry around, don't need six people to enable it to happen, so it was a little bit business, of how to make something logistically work, and be able to make a bit of money out of it, and it's also a bit of two fingers up to the rock and roll band general set up. I just got bored of it and wanted to muck around.

Tell us a little about ‘The Carpet Megastore’.

When I was little I used to play “radio stations” with my brother and my mates and a tape recorder and we would just record ourselves telling jokes and chatting and stuff [eGigs remembers a friend's attempt, called Bollocks FM], I think lots of people did. I'd been listening to BBC 6 and stuff and thinking “when I'm forty-five and can't be arsed to jump up and down on stage, it would be really nice to like be a radio presenter; it seems really easy, to just play tunes that you like and have a banter. So I thought I would try out doing some radio. In Bristol they had a festival that did a little FM radio thing for the weekend and I was like “give us a slot, we'll do the Carpet Megastore!”. I sometimes do searches online for samples of sound that contain the word 'carpet' and so that's how I found the theme to Carpet Megastore, which is an advert for some American superstore. The riff in it was like Hanson's 'Um Bop' and Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', so I nicked a load of this stuff and mashed it up to get a theme tune. We'll try and do like a Steve Wright Saturday Afternoon show, a bit like Swap Shop and a kid's pretend radio show. The amazing thing about radio is that you don't have an audience standing in front of you; you're in a room and can imagine no-one is listening to you. This week on tour I've bumped into a few people who say “I f*cking love the Carpet Megastore”. I thought it was only my dad who occasionally listened to it! I'm gonna really concentrate on the next episode.

We happened upon you at The Big Chill last year, how did you get in the Lost Vagueness tent/church?

It was through Lost Vagueness. Big Chill booked me in 2004 and I played in the multimedia tent; which was the biggest tent on the site, with a capacity of two thousand. I was on at 2.30 in the morning, just after Pitman (Yorkshire comedy rapper, think GLC in the north), who was great, everyone's lobbing tea bags and biscuits at him. The change over took ages, and I was in this huge tent playing to about twenty-five people! This year the chapel was through Lost Vagueness, as was Glastonbury a few times before.

Where do you pick up your ‘instruments’?

I sort of stopped picking up instruments because I was finding that I was spending more time shopping then I was writing, and I had sort of hit a bit of a wall and got a bit of artist's block. I would think “fuck it, I'll go on Ebay and find something great!” I started getting so much stuff when it got to the point where it was like “right, that's it, until you've made some more tracks with the stuff you've got, don't bother getting any more”. It got to a point where like the toys were controlling me, not me controlling the toys, so I've chilled out a bit and just stuck with a couple of keyboards and a couple of the old guitars, like that'll do for now.

Kid Carpet

How did you get into adjusting them?

I was planning on doing an electronics course at my local college and I knew I wanted to put plugs on 'em and the first few shows I did I had everything on a table with all with open microphones, about four or five of 'em. Everything would feedback all the time, it was a horrible nightmare. I was hoping to entice some electronics genius along who'd say “let me do that for you”. Sure enough a mate said “come round to my house and we'll do that” and then I learnt how to do it and it's dead easy. Some of the toys, even with the plugs in sound distorted and horrid, so I still sample off the sounds and playing them like that.

Your lyrics are pretty straightforward but very catchy and true to life. Where do you get your inspiration, and how do you chose what to write about?

Things have changed a little bit; the first album, with 'Special' and 'Jump' are just through mucking about and having a laugh and seeing what happens. Then things like 'Nelson's Street' and 'Space Invaders' were really like that. I was in the dole office one day and really everyone behind the counter was really horridly obese, for ages they were just getting fatter and fatter and fatter; it was amazing, and everyone who was waiting in the queue was really dead skinny. It was like “get my book out, write that down”. So yeah, they are things you come across and the weird stuff that happens but generally I try and write sad songs in a ridiculous way. A collection of songs about failure, is the new direction!

Kid Carpet

Does Van Halen know about your version of ‘Jump’?

I think if Van Halen knew about it I probably would have more bruises upon my person! I never sampled Van Halen. I've never heard of Van Halen!

Who designs your album and single covers?

Me, I've done those, except for the 'Shiny, Shiny New' single and video, I didn't have anything to do with those. That was an agency in London who did it as a favour for the label and that's actually the video I like least. The videos; it's mates in Bristol that do them. We get the concept between us. 'Carrier Bag' was my concept, for video. The cover for 'Shiny, Shiny New' was lifted from the video, I got them to send me some pictures and I edited them. I do all the artwork for my stuff; I did the new cover in PhotoShop.

Where did your name come from? Is it a nod to the toys?

No. Kid Carpet is an anagram of Ed Patrick, what is my real name. I put Ed Patrick into an online anagram-making machine, and got reams of paper with tricks and pricks and dicks and then there was Carpet Kid. I saw that and thought “right, that's my DJ name”. Then a mate said to me “if you're gonna be dope and hip hop and cool, you've gotta be Kid Carpet”. I love it cos 'Kid' is like the kid thing, about the kiddiness of the instruments and the playfulness and nature of the show, but to be 'kid 606' or 'Kid Rock' is kind of cool, and there's nothing less cool then carpet. But to be cool and not cool in the same moment is great.

You’re becoming a regular at the Snowbombing week in Austria. Are you any good at snow sports?

I've been to the last one and I'm at the next one in April. I can board a bit. I haven't done any off-piste, and the first day I've gotta find my legs again, but erm, I'm alright, I'm alright. I've stopped leafing; I can calve a bit. [Sarcastically - ] catching an edge, face plant, I can do all that!

What do you class your music as?

Kiddy Disco Punk

You’ve done a few remixes, one in particular for Fat Boy Slim. Do they approach you, or have you already remixed the tracks to send to them?

It's all approaches, Skint Records approached me for the Fat Boy one, I did one for the Holloways recently, that was their label that approached me but I knew the guys who were doing it anyway, I just did one for Si Begg; but he's an old mate, so it's either mates bands or...the Fat Boy one is the only one I didn't know who asked me to do a mix. Did you hear about the Estelle one? I did a remix for Estelle for this war child charity website, who were charging for exclusive remixes and tracks, as a way of making money. They asked me to mix Estelle, so I picked this song and did a real; I really didn't get it, the Estelle thing, so I thought “I'll just make it go weird!” So sure enough, made a weird mix, which I thought was pretty cool, but she hated it apparently so they couldn't use it. So then War Child said “just give us one of your tracks”, and I gave them a track called 'One Thousand Five Hundred Pounds and a Bus Apology' and that ended up being NME's single of the week! So purely by pissing Estelle off I got loads of free publicity out of it!

Kid Carpet

What is ‘Circuit Bending'?

Circuit Bending is.....wait a minute, let me just make one thing clear. [In a strong West Country dialect - ] I ain't no bender. But I lot of my mates are gay. Circuit Bending is basically taking battery operated sound equipment opening it up, putting crocodile clips into the circuit board and making it go weird. Fair play to people who do that, but generally I think that people who make circuit bent music are kind of making sort of weird soundscapes, and I'm more interested in making songs. I'm drawn to the instruments, because I think they sound great anyway, and I don't need to fuck with them, they are fine as they are; leave the damn things alone! But I do put plugs on them, so I am half......

Is it becoming more popular? Are more people doing it? 'Circuit Bending' that is?

Loads of people do it yeah, but they're all boys.

Anything to add?

My new EP is out, available at pop concerts; it's called 'The Kid's Back'. It's going to have a vinyl release in May, and we're doing a pop video for a track called 'Make It Look Good'. I've written my new album, hopefully I'll find a home for it, and it'll come out sometime this year.

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article by: Danielle Millea

photos by: Danielle Millea

published: 05/03/2007 23:23

more about Kid Carpet