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Carrageenan


"I'm just looking for ways to keep things intense and a bit dangerous."

Carrageenan is the moniker of Brussels based 37 years old Frenchman Matthieu Levet. What started out as a noise influenced solo project evolved over the last ten years into a mix of spare and dirty electronics, influenced by early industrial, dub and early techno.



Do you see what you do as dance music, techno or as experimental music? 

I'm more on the experimental side, though early techno for me is truly an experimental music.

Which music would you recall as your influences? 

Dub music and early industrial are a major influence for this project, and bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Esplendor Geometrico, Severed Heads,...

Why do you prefer "dirty" sound?

I don't really know. My very first recording effort were acoustic percussions and melodica, recorded on a very cheap Hi-Fi system and doing overdub through an inverted headphone. The sound was getting more and more saturated and distorted through the process of rerecording and I remember I liked the result a lot.


Carrageenan ‎– At The Corner (Honneur De La Police)
Carrageenan ‎– The Golden Beast ([ tanzprocesz ])
Carrageenan ‎– Midnight Bird (Golden Lab Records)

Are your live sets improvised?

For Carrageenan my sets were totally improvised for a long time but I might be done soon with this approach, I'm more interested to prepare things... I'm just looking for ways to keep things intense and a bit dangerous.



I saw you play live twice. In Outgaarden, you were obviously a bit wasted. Do you think you play better when being a bit drunk? 

It helps sometimes, but it's not mandatory. But yeah from my experience it seems easier to take the audience to a trance when you're a bit wasted yourself.

When I saw you live in Hoegaarden, with Pizza Noise Mafia, you played through a guitar amp. Why?

Just because there was no PA that night. It was a funny experience to play through this legendary amp, but I am not sure it worked so well with the sound of Pizza Noise Mafia. For Carrageenan it's another story maybe because it's more abstract and it always sounds different. For that reason I could play through a huge PA or a very cheap amp, the only thing I really care for is the actual experience.

Do you still play laptop sets sometimes?

It's been a while. I only use the laptop sparingly for a few effects or to send fucked up midi signals to my devices through Max Msp. I always tried to have my laptop as a real instrument on stage but it became more and more like a foreign body in my set up recently. On my last tour I decided to leave it at home and I'm quite happy with the new shape it gave to my set-up.

Do you see playing live and recording as two different things?

Both are quite connected but I think I'm trying to do something different when I play live. Still dark, but less reclusive and with more rhythm.


You do Carrageenan for five years now. How do you think your music has evolved in that time?

This project actually started in 2006. I started playing shows around 2007. The first release came in 2011. I think the music evolved quite a lot through the years: the first years were mostly noise played with bass guitar processed through a laptop, then later  laptop only. In 2008, I started to work with instruments, first only a mixer, some tape players and more recently a drum machine and a synth. The music evolves a lot but still, after those ten years, I realize the bass, the delay and the drum machine stay my main obsessions.


Touring
18.03 - Belgrade @ Matrijarsija
19.03 - Bucarest @ Underworld
20.03 - Sofia @ Neu ! Berlin
21.03 - Skopje TBC
23.03 - Zagreb TBC
24.03 - Ljubjana @ Pritličje

Interview by Joeri Bruyninckx/2016
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