Interview: The Contortionist (10/07/12)

(Photo by Chris C. Collins)

Earlier this afternoon, a few of our staff members had the chance to talk with the vocalist of The Contortionist, Jonathan Carpenter. Here's what he had to say!

Chano: Tonight marks the first night for the Midwest Madness tour with After The Burial. How are you guys feeling about that?

We're feeling pretty excited. It's a really short run, nonetheless, it still should be really cool. The first venue we're playing at is pretty neat as well. It's kind of a restaurant as opposed to a bar and it's a pretty big area. The sound seems pretty good so far. There has been some technical difficulties, but we're working through it right now. It should be a fun night!

David: You guys just recently got off of the first Intrinsic headliner tour. How was it touring with Jeff Loomis and Chimp Spanner?

It was really fucking cool. It was pretty surreal having people of that caliber of talent playing before us each night. It was definitely humbling. They were all really cool guys too, so we all got along really well and hungout until Austin. It was just a really cool tour throughout. 7 Horns 7 Eyes was really cool too.

Chano: Since we’re on the subject of tours, what’s the best and worst fan experience you’ve had?

I can't think of too many negative things, to be honest. We have lots of really cool people come out and chit-chat with us and hangout afterwards. They'll tell us what they think of our music and other music. Whether it's having a beer at the bar or hanging outside, whatever... I would say, overall, most of the experiences are pretty positive.

David: That's really good to hear! I actually had the pleasure to play with you guys a while back in San Antonio and you guys did amazing. It was with Volumes and Arsonists Get All The Girls.

Thank you, man!

David: You guys are currently signed to Good Fight Music. What are your future plans with the label?

Well, we definitely have another album coming up with them and I'm not really sure what else the future holds, but they've been treating us well so far. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Chano: You joined the band in 2010. How was the transition going into that role after after the band released Apparition?

That was pretty surreal as well. It was very exciting for me because I had already been kind of involved in the process as one of the spectators and I had already been interested in the product so I was very familiar. To be able to go in and actually have a creative say so on the product that I had already been involved with in the first place was definitely exciting and a neat experience. There definitely was a bit of a time crunch, but I had until we hit the studio. Once it was getting into motion, it was definitely cool hearing everything come together. It was a fresh sound for us to hear and it was cool to hear that come together.

David: So the new album, Intrinsic, is a progressive heavy hitter for the books. What was the thought process behind the album? Were you guys writing that as you were touring throughout 2011? How did that album get put together?

A good portion of the album was written a couple months before we hit the studio, but before then, we had pieces and different parts and ideas written. I think we spent about two months putting the majority of it together. Even once we hit the studio though - I was there for a total of six weeks - we were still working on stuff. So, it was definitely a few months time put into it. No touring, nothing else, not even working other jobs for a while. We had a few weeks before we hit the studio where all of us were literally writing only, so that helps as well.

David: Well, that's awesome. It's brilliantly made so it's kind of cool to know how it all came together.


Chano: Off the top of your head, what’s your favorite line from Intrinsic?

*long pause* It's hard to pick one line because then I'd think "well, what about this one?" Something that sticks out to me that I really like how it came together was "Dreaming Schematics". It's kind of a scientific description and each line kind of has a progression. From the first line to the last line, it has a really logical progression, yet it's a lot of new terminology to someone that hasn't looked into it before. I think it kind of has a good feel to it when you first hear it and then once you read about it, you'll feel like it has a nice flow. And the vocal effect there, I just dig how it all came together.

David: You've mentioned a little bit about a next album. Exoplanet was very space-based and the story was there and it was great, and Intrinsic was more based on the spirit and mind. So, from space to the mind, what is the next location for The Contortionist to explore?

I'm not really sure exactly where all that is going to entail. I've already been formulating ideas and trying to think about what is speaking to me and what feels right, but I'd also like for there to be some sort of element of surprise so that way whatever the product ends up, it being doesn't feel forced or expected. In a way, I've been trying to come up with a way to involve some elements of the first one and bring the story around full circle, but also tackle something in a whole new arena; something that's a brand new topic but kind of ties in with the last two. I have some ideas and they're shaping up in the early stages, but even I'm still kind of working out all that right now. I'm excited, though. It should be fun!

Chano: Sounds good. If you could say something profound and life changing to the readers right now, after everything you've personally experienced in life, what would that be?

Oh man! Let's see... Now anything I say is just not going to live up to the amount of space I've been waiting for. I'd end up saying something like "make mo money, make mo money" or something. *chuckles* Well, I would say that this isn't really necessarily a phrase that I've worked on or put together, but to me, after touring for the last little while and focusing on my love of music and performing live in front of people on stage, what I really like so much is to go around and meet new people. I think that a lot of people should be open to that and going out to shows, just having fun and listening to the music and all the joy that it brings everybody. It's cool to go out to our shows and see our fans coming back that are about that, not about violence or anything stupid. Something creative and enlightening, that's what they're about. I'd say to encourage everybody that will read this to come out to a show and bang your head and have some fun!

David: Awesome! Well, thank you so much for your time. We absolutely appreciate you taking your time - especially today, with your show.

No problem at all! Thank you!

By Steven Pongrac ~ Me Gusta Reviews



  1. One of the best interview I've ever read, good work guys.