2018: Bret Halford is in love with a girl who doesn't love him back and prefers the school quarterback. Bret becomes enraged, tries to create a drink to control them all, finds himself disfigured, and decides to become a rock star.
2022: Four years after Leather Teeth, a phenomenal introduction to the bloody and electric adventures of young Bret, Carpenter Brut unveils the sequel: Leather Terror.
Leather Terror: the second part of a new trilogy of albums is out today. Featuring former The Dillinger Escape Plan vocalist Greg Puciato, Gunship's Alex Westaway, Ben Koller of Converge (and a million other bands), Johannes "Jonka" Andersson of Tribulation and more, the album sees the greatest number of guests contributing to a Carpenter Brut album thus far. We spoke with the mastermind behind the synths on the connection Leather Terror has with Judas Priest, how he got involved with his current crop of guests, and his relationship with Ghost, whom Carpenter Brut did a remix for previously.
The character of Bret Halford, as well as the leather imagery and artwork, brings to mind Judas Priest singer Rob Halford and more specifically, the album cover for Killing Machine. I’d like to ask about your personal history with Priest.
Haha! You see I didn't make the connection but it's true that if you look closely, the artwork of Killing Machine is a good mix between the artworks of Leather Teeth and Leather Terror. Good point! And yes, the reference to leather and Rob Halford is deliberate. My character is called Bret Halford, because he's a glam rock star and a metal fan, so in Bret Halford you find both Bret Michaels from Poison and Rob Halford. I have no personal history with Judas Priest. I dug the band years ago, especially through Screaming for Vengeance, Turbo, and as a teenager I was very much into Painkiller. So, I already knew about them but I didn't pay enough attention to their discography at that time. I have to tell you that I know Iron Maiden way better.
Is Rob aware of Carpenter Brut?
I don't think so, but you know, I'm always surprised when I see that there are a lot of metal bands who know Carpenter Brut, like the guys from Trivium, Periphery, Kreator, The Haunted, or Hatebreed, so maybe…
This album has a lot of guests. On the aggressive side of things, we have Greg Puciato and Ben Koller. How did you get involved with them?
Regarding Ben Koller, when my previous album Leather Teeth was released, he tweeted that he liked the album. I was surprised because I am a mega fan of this drummer and his bands, especially Converge. I contacted him via Instagram, as I had started to compose the track "Leather Terror" and needed a "slugger" for this track. This guy is an incredible drummer and a very nice person. He was the one who recommended Greg Puciato and put me in touch with him when I was looking for a singer for “Imaginary Fire.” Greg and I almost collaborated via text message, haha! Quite an original way of working but I'm not unhappy with the result.
How about Jonka from Tribulation?
For Jonka, I knew I wanted him to sing on the track "Leather Terror." I love his band Tribulation, it's black metal but with a rock n' roll vibe that I really like. I asked Sara Taylor from Youth Code who knows him if she could put me in touch with him. Because of the pandemic, everyone was pretty much available to participate on the album. I don't know if I'll be able to get as many guest appearances on the next album because everyone will be back on tour or in the studio.
You did a remix for “Dance Macabre” by Ghost. What is your relationship with the band – do you see more collaborations coming with them?
I've known Tobias for almost ten years actually, since 2013. I contacted him at that time because I wanted to offer him a feature in one of my tracks. But the band was on the rise and it didn't happen. In 2016, they offered me to tour with them in the US but I could only do a few dates because my European tour was already booked. Tobias contacted me two years later to offer me the “Dance Macabre” remix. I was very happy. But it's true that I really wish he could do a guest feature (vocal track) for Carpenter Brut one day. Ghost is an important band and has had a big impact on me since their beginning. So, for the moment I would say that unfortunately there is nothing planned with Ghost.
Leather Terror is out now and available here.