Carnival Barkers

Avant-rock band Carnival Waste isn't running a popularity contest here

The band had been playing in South Florida only three months when Juan Montoya of Disconnect and Carl Ferrari of Swivel Stick, two respected local altrock guitarists, caught Carnival Waste's live show and invited the group to perform with their respective bands. "I don't know what kind of music they're trying to do, but it's not like anything else that I've seen around here," Ferrari says. "They just seem to be following their own creative process. Nine times out of ten, when you see a band play, you can right away pick out who they're trying to sound like, which most of the time is a bad thing. It just seems to me [Carnival Waste is] original. They're doing something different."

It was that originality that also caught the interest of Tim King, president of Double Six Records, an independent label based in Spokane, Washington. "It wasn't the same thing you hear on the radio," King says. "I was very impressed. I get CDs from different people from all over the world, and usually it's just some guy in his basement playing on his computer, and the music scene is just flooded with things like that. It's really hard to find something good like Carnival Waste."

Escandon says he didn't start the band under the presumption of getting a recording contract. "Who's going to be interested? That's like an awkward fantasy -- just something you dream about."

Eyes on the prize: Gonzalez, Escadon, and Cortes are Carnival Waste
Michael McElroy
Eyes on the prize: Gonzalez, Escadon, and Cortes are Carnival Waste


Midnight, Saturday, April 28. Tickets cost $5. Call 305-242-3120. The band also plays Wednesday, May 2, at 9 p.m. at Underland Privat, 3855 NW 32nd Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $7. Call 305-634-6994.
"PopLife" in Piccadilly Garden, 35 NE 40th St., Miami

Yet Carnival Waste was doing something that interested people. "We didn't know what we had until we got certain compliments about it," he says. "When we got the demo on CD, I just sent it out to tons of different indie labels. I was on a Mr. Bungle e-mail list, and I would just send them out to the people if they wanted it, and somehow this guy in Brazil got a copy of it, and he knew Tim King."

King called the band and invited it to contribute MP3 files on his Website to see how people would respond. People from around the world downloaded the files and asked about the band's next album often enough that he decided to make the band an offer. Carnival Waste recorded ... A Perfect Day from mid-December 2000 through last month at their homes with a computer King gave them as part of the record deal.

As band and label prepare the album for a late-April release, the band members keep their perspectives. Gonzalez is quick to explain that Carnival Waste is not a vehicle they hope to ride to the top of the pop charts. "Unless popular music changes completely and makes a 180-degree turn from what it is, we'd never be mainstream," he says. "I never pursued music with the intent of becoming famous or getting signed. Delusions of grandeur? We have none of that."

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