Carlo Steegen is a key figure in Belgian underground music. In the 90s as part of the Limburg hardcore scene, in the years 2000 as part of the Antwerp noise scene with his record shop Freaks End Future and his Audiobot label, and as part of Hardline Elephants (with Dennis Tyfus and Orphan Fairytale) and Frozen Corpse (with Orphan Fairytale). And than later as part of the local hiphop scene.
Two years ago, Steegen relocated to the Flemish country side, where he started Last Action, with 120 releases of noisecore in one year time as a result.
Why did you start Last Action earlier this year? The first track you released was called ‘The Timing Couldn’t Be Better’. You think so? Why?
Carlo Steegen: It should come as no real surprise that the world is slowly spiraling out of control and I think the old saying “Desperate times demand desperate measures” holds some truth. I had been brainstorming and wrestling with vague ideas for a solo project for a while but earlier this year something just snapped and during an “inspirational” moment that spark got ignited. Besides it’s always a good time to make some senseless noise so yeah the timing is perfect.
Do you see Last Action as a comeback?
Nah, I wouldn’t call it a comeback at all. Just like there’s no talent, there was also no plan or proper planning involved. I never really left or went anywhere really. Things just miraculously happened and the right pieces of the puzzle fell in it’s place. One thing led to another and the ball started rolling (again)…
You release about one record each week. Why this high tempo?
There’s more releases if you do the math though. I dropped/uploaded the very first demo out of the blue on Bandcamp on April the 3rd 2021. That was recorded the very same day. I was instantly eager (read: hungry) to do more. If my scattered brain properly works right now, I think I’ve recorded over a 100 releases thus far. There’s a handful of new split releases in the works as we speak. It’s been an exciting adventure to create sounds again so I’m just cranking ’em out like a machine really.
What would you call what you do with Last Action? Noisecore?
Miserable Electronics. Dank Guttural Electronics. Noisecore. Mud… It’s whatever.
In a way, what you made me think of Louis Johnstone’s Wanda Group. An influence?
Prior to your question, I had never heard about Louis Johnstone before and quite frankly I had to copy/paste his name in Google to find out who you were referring to so my answer is short and blunt: nope not at all. That being said, his approach as a musician sitting outside the mechanics of the music world is quite interesting. I’ll have to dig deeper and search out some of his oddball recordings now.
In a way, your music got a high “fuck you” attitude, and at the same time, you seem very dedicated. Do you see it like that too?
I’d be straight up lying if I said that Last Action wasn’t born out of a “fuck all” attitude. That “never mind the bollocks” approach to things is definitely there and to an extent it is and forever will be part of the uncontrollable machine this project has turned into.
All the tracks are short tracks, most of them less than 30 seconds. Why?
The majority of my tracks are indeed short, fast and usually loud just like the classic grindcore blueprint. Some of them are like vague snippets of digital goo while there’s also long(er) recordings floating around. It all depends on the mood and project I’m working on at the time. I’m confident longer tracks will emerge in the near future.
What does the name Last Action refer to?
I figured this might as well be the last ever musical project I’d be involved in really… Interpretation of events is key and with “doomsday” talk subconsciously racing through my brain, it perfectly described the final convulsions of a man living on the edge. Trying to give this project a name I stumbled upon the movie ‘Last Action Hero’ again, the fantasy meta action comedy film that contained parodies of action films in the form of films within the film and that basically failed to meet expectations yet grew on to become a cult classic. I fucked with that and the rest is history.
Did you stop releasing music as a physical object? And isn’t that strange for someone who used to run a record store?
Nah, not at all. Times have changed dramatically since the death of my “old” record store and I don’t have the financial means to produce and fetch every single recording in physical form. There’s a handful of real physical releases at the horizon though and I’m convinced more will happen when the time is right.
You come from the Limburg hardcore scene, than got involved in the Antwerp noise scene. Than got into hip hop. What did you take from these different scenes into the music you make now, you think?
There is beauty all around us and the inspiration is seemingly endless. I’ve always shown interest and got involved in a wide variety of musical styles and obscure subgenres so anything I’ve picked up along the way has undoubtly left it’s mark. There’s bits and pieces from all different phases of my life I’ve carefully absorbed, adjusted and mangled into one big pile of debris.
You live in Erpe-Mere now. What’s the music scene in Erpe-Mere like? Jan De Wilde?
I relocated to Erondegem (Erpe-Mere) 2 years ago and as far as I know there is NO music scene down here in my neck of the woods. If anyone reading this knows more, please get in touch. In the meantime you’re stuck with me.
I’ve always been a fan of your record store and record label. If you would start a label now, who would you release a record of? How would you do it? Would you still make physical records? Would you still contact record shops for distribution? Would you still release full albums or just ep’s or single tracks?
Oh gosh… There’s definitely something special cooking in the oven as we speak and full details will emerge when the stars align but for now my lips are sealed and I’m just staring at the future with brooding eyes. To be continued…