Apart from me being an idiot and getting the time difference wrong and calling an hour too early, our interview goes smoothly and although Carter is slightly hesitant at first, he soon loosens up and I get to delve deep into the mind of this incredible singer-songwriter who is mainly influenced by the many colours his country has to offer. He blends culture inspired sounds with a blissed out, lo-fi indie tone serving as a base to an electronic framework.
Carter is influenced by all genres of music, “my favourite is indie music. My uncle listened to songs from the 80s and 90s and I love hip-hop. My country has its own music types, just for us, so I try to blend everything together.” He continues, “Suriname is a very small country and we don’t really go out very much, but we do adopt many things from America so I want to show I have western influences as well as from my home.” He grew up listening to The Doors, The Beatles and Bob Dylan, “I loved the style from The Doors and Bob Dylan is just Bob Dylan. They mixed different genres with styles and emotions which were only theirs. No one can compare.”
Carter comes from a musical family where his mother, father, and family were all in their own bands. As he didn’t want to follow them initially he didn’t end up getting into music until he was 18. There were a few factors that finally partnered Carter and his musical destiny. Firstly, his uncle who was a great musician and always wanted to create music with him, but he sadly passed away before Carter ever got the chance to play with him so that prompted him to start learning the guitar. Then Carter happened to meet two singers at a party (brothers Xillan and Jeangu) who needed a drummer and he said he could play despite not being able to and joined their band. After a while, he got more into the vocal side of it without having any lessons. He admits, “basically my whole life is winging it…” Eventually, the band ‘Between Towers’ broke off and went their separate ways and Carter tried to start his own band, but his style and taste of music didn’t work for the group. So he went solo.
‘Human’ is the first single from Carter’s EP ‘Tranga’ which means strong/difficult in Sranan Tongo, the native tongue of Suriname. It is unique and hard to forget with many, many layers and textures and Carter did most of the instruments by himself; synths, drums, guitar, and vocal arrangements. ‘Human’ tells a story just in sound and rasping vocals but is actually about a fictional character called Lilo and her loneliness. Carter asks “how did she get to the point to where she is now and what happens after?”
The visuals for ‘Human’ reflect the emotion in the music with a dark and moody style and the actress who plays Lilo exquisitely portrays the feeling of being lost and searching for something. Carter is hidden in shadows and glossy black and white shiny mannequins give a threatening feeling. It is overall very sensual, sad, intoxicating. He created the storyline with his friend Kenzo who directed the music video and they wanted a “cinematic feeling” and with the ending and credits, you feel like you have just watched a short film.
The other four tracks of the EP continue with Lilo’s journey. Carter assures me her story is now complete, but I can’t help but wonder if she will appear in his future music or whether there will be a new character. He says of Lilo, “she’s trying to keep her emotions and pain inside her head but eventually, they explode” and “I try to combine my experiences with her, there is a part of her inside of me.”
‘Desperation’ is a determined introduction to the EP with a solid beat, hand clapping then drums creating a rather hypnotic tone aligned with Carter’s gritty, echoing vocals and powerful lyrics. Segueing nicely to the dreamy ‘Human’ then back to a different vibe with ‘B.F.F.N’ which has more of a rock tone, but with an ethereal glaze to it. In ‘Sweet Nothings’ you can detect the earlier rock influences especially in the guitar solo (courtesy of his friends Mark and Yash who also contributed with guitar riffs on the EP) and Carter practically breathes the lyrics out in a sultry haze of smoke. The final track ‘G.G.’ is super chilled and shimmers with energy. A sublime end to a spine-tingling collection of music.
Carter certainly knows how to create a cinematic storyline within his music. Even his skin tells a story with various tattoos, “my skin is a mixture of memories, and experiences I don’t want to forget.” He’s a walking, breathing, singing, writing, multi-instrumentalist work of art. And only 23, but with an extraordinary depth to his music way beyond his years. His uncle would be incredibly proud.