Written by Jonathan Jung
FROM DJENT TO DEATHCORE, ANDREW BAENA AND JOHNNY CIARDULLO TALK ABOUT RIDING INTO THE LONG BRIGHT DARK
Vancouver-based deathcore act Carcosa has gained quite a bit of traction both locally and internationally with their debut album Absent. This group has had quite a history within the local scene with the popularity of their former band Galactic Pegasus. Guitarist Andrew Baena and vocalist Johnny Ciardullo explained their reasons for reforming under a new name.
“We were in Galactic [Pegasus] for a number of years and we’ve had a lot of lineup changes over that time. When we finally settled on the four of us who were in the band, we realized we were writing music that was super super different,” says Baena. “We were happy with what we were writing, but over time, it made more sense to just start something new under a different brand rather than holding onto this identity that had nothing to do with us. We had already been together for six years and everyone had already heard of GP and they already decided if they liked us or not regardless if we had changed. It is really really hard to get someone to listen to you if they already decided that they don’t like them.”
“It was a perpetual cycle of inconsistency,” Ciardullo adds. “There was a different vocalist every record; a different lineup every album. Moving forward we wanted to have a sound we could agree on and build off of to have a more consistent sound instead of changing every record because it does get tiresome. Dysphoria [Galactic Pegasus’ last record] is the most accurate as to where we are now for sound. It was kind of the beginning of the end. We moved away from djent and went more into the deathcore genre, but we could not really retain the same identity.”
Every artist has tried to figure out that perfect name. Are they trying too hard? Does it sound metal enough? There’s always a balance of trying to find an identity that represents the music and appearance accurately. Like a tattoo, there can be some deep meaningful reason for getting it or you can just say fuck it.
“We decided on Carcosa because we had to. Back when we were changing the name I threw Carcosa in and everyone was like ‘no, we don’t want that. Let’s get something else,’ says Ciardullo. “We had about 40 names and all were crossed out. We decided to come up with a name on the spot and it ended up being Viscera. We were pumped for it, but three months before we announced, Unique Leaders records came out with their group Viscera and they even used the same guy who did our old logo. It was not a small band we could coincide with and they came out guns blazing so well. Shit, we had to change it. Andrew and I are both big fans of the first season of True Detective and that’s where [Carcosa] derives from.”
In True Detective, Carcosa is the name of a location where evil rituals took place.
“We initially all thought [Carcosa] sounded like a pirate band initially, sort of similar to Barbosa or something which is why we decided against it,” says Baena. “When we revisited all the names we just said ‘fuck it let’s use this.’ We only found out after we announced the name that it was from Lovecraftian stories from way back in the day. We just knew it from the TV show, so surface level, but it is what it is.”
With the pandemic shaking up the entire industry a lot of artists are trying to come up with innovative ways to stay engaged with fans. Recently a lot of digital concerts have been appearing with some success, but fortunately for the group, they are able to continue to push out content and wait for the right time to kick down the door.
Expect big things from Carcosa as they’re only going to snowball from here on out. If you’re into heavy breakdowns and people screaming at you then this is a group that you’re going to want to checkout.
Carcosa's debut EP Absent is available everywhere now.