His album is a moment. The moment you choose because it’s right, when you decide to go ahead with the plan. Antony Carle builds such moments, and meticulously polishes the time he’s given until all the settings are taken to their full potential. Released in May of 2019, The Moment, his first, is only a small part of what he can do.
Whereas his onstage work takes him to places where excitement is commonplace, Carle also knows how to create quiet moments when needed. Sitting on the patio of a Mile End coffee shop in Montréal, he tells us that he’s known for not speaking loudly. “Studio work means you can fine-tune a moment,” he says. “Stage work means creating a moment. You can’t explain it. I think you lose that aspect sometimes. It’s an energy that gets created. I’ll never forget Erykah Badu looking straight at me and singing while holding my hand. I want to reproduce that.”
Embracing vulnerability isn’t simple, but that’s a process for which he advocates. “We’re afraid to fuck up, but when you’re singing, it’s like you’re painting a canvas,” says Carle. “It’s got to be ugly. People will file in front of it, and you’ll tell them it’s not finished. You can’t create if you’re afraid of everything you’re going to produce.”
The queer artist was signed by Bonsound, and has released music that taps into elecrtro codes to express something bigger. “I was well received,” Carle points out, “but I couldn’t help wondering whether that was because the media needed a queer article that week. Anyway, I was in the paper!”
More than an image. More than a style that offends the closed-minded. More than an identity badge that you stick on to a body of work out of laziness. Carle is “more.” A champion of authenticity, he’s not planning to travel alone on his ship. “Barriers had to be climbed and, yes, I often speak about identity problems in my songs, but for any artist, it’s hard to feel accomplished,” he says. “Everyone wants to exist, leave their mark, and find themselves through their projects.” Has he found himself? “Absolutely. That was the goal.”
Carle was discovered by Bonsound before he had enough serious material on hand, when he opened for Cri in 2016. The contact was easy, later on, when he called the label to say “I’m ready.”
The spring of 2019 brought him out of his wintry shell, where there’d been a whirlwind of creativity that was bursting to get out. “When winter comes, it’s like you work intensely or you die,” he says. “I was writing so I wouldn’t die. I know I have a theatrical approach to music; it comes with my perception of work. I take what I do quite seriously, and I lose interest when things are simple.”
In his view, artists create because they have to, but where the project will end up is hard to tell. According to Spotify, there’s enormous interest for what he does in Norway, but what will that bring? “It’s a platform that provides enormous visibility, but it makes people lazy,” says Carle. “I don’t want to count too much on it. I remember spending hours in record stores, making discoveries. We weren’t born with music selections. That made us curious.”
When we start joking about the weather, Carle told us he believes in the “end of the world,” and that he hopes to survive it. “In spite of everything we think, and everything people try to do, all we want, in the end, is to be allowed to be happy and find a place,” he says. In spite of all the queer culture elements that find their way into his words and performances, Carle knows that he’s serving a broader purpose. “I’ve already written a second album, and it doesn’t talk about that. But I think it will always be implied,” he says.
Having been shocked by many things he saw, Antony Carle wanted to speak out, but without necessarily making a “committed” or “serious” album. “It shouldn’t be committed, but should just help people feel well,” he says.
His belief is that things should be changed bit by bit. “There will always be violence,” he says. “You just have to know how to change one mind at a time. I do my part. I say, this way, please. I’m the stewardess, pointing out the exit,” he jokes.