Jay Allen Sanford 2 p.m., Dec. 5
Sound description: Vocal harmonies that musically and lyrically linger somewhere between Mraz and Coldplay, between REM and Muse. Although often starting from a base of acoustic guitar, this is not country or folk music.
RIYL: Michael Penn, R.E.M., Placebo, Thom Yorke, U2, Jason Mraz, Oasis, REM, Coldplay, Oasis, Radiohead, The Decemberists
- "Carl Durant is Heading Back to Belgium" · April 24, 2013
- "A Bomb Dropped at Home" · Nov. 28, 2012
- "Carl Durant Lied About the CDs" · Feb. 29, 2012
- "Carl Durant's Belgian Connection" · Feb. 22, 2012
Inception: San Diego, 2007
Influences: Portishead, Nick Cave, Joy Division, Red Zebra, Sisters of Mercy, the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, the Pixies, the Smiths, Slowdive, Moby, INXS, the Scene, U2, Bruce Cockburn, R.E.M., Portishead, Placebo, Oasis, Lush, Mark Lanegan, Filip Kowlier, Faithless, Everything but the Girl, Bush, Buffalo Tom, Dinosaur Jr.
Singer/guitarist Carl Durant is originally from Belgium where, in addition to his electronics work, he was a council commissioner in the Flemish Scouts & Guides, a Gilwell trainer, and also involved in organizing summer activities for children in families with legal or other issues.
Durant relocated with his wife to San Diego in 2002, to work at an early-stages startup company as an electrical engineer doing radio-frequency integrated circuit design (“tiny satellite and cable-TV tuners for example” he says). Here, he wanted to do something else. One possible option was learning to surf, but that childhood dream soon lay by the wayside.
“Obviously, that ‘something else’ became a semi-obsession for writing songs and playing live music, with a major consequence that I never learned to surf properly,” Durant laughs. “What I really wanted was to perform my own songs, and I only started doing that a lot in San Diego in 2009, thanks to the open-mic culture and understanding music promoters we have here.”
The booming local open-mic scene turned out to be an excellent proving ground. “Cathryn Beeks encouraged [me] when I started writing songs for ‘The Game.’”
Held approximately monthly, the Game is a songwriter showcase where Beeks provides a song title and several locals write and perform an original tune based on that title. Originated by Jeff Berkley, Steve Poltz, and Gregory Page, other Game participants have included Josh Damigo, Astra Kelly, Berkley Hart, Ken Lehnig, and Christy Bruneau.
Durant is a seasoned songwriter with a keen ear for melody and arrangements bringing you an ear fondling mix of finger picked and strummed guitar songs. Solo or with his band, Durant mostly plays originals but adds in a few well selected covers here and there.
He debuted his new band in May 2009, later recording a five-song EP, Last Place, at his home studio. Mixed at ZenMastering, it was released in April 2011. “I used a mellow production, to make it sound like a movie score,” he says.
He began recording a new EP in late 2011, after playing his first out-of-state show in Tucson AZ at Sky Bar on November 10, as well as landing a track on the 2012 Art Around Adams compilation CD.
Durant performed at a February 9, 2012 pre-Grammy party at the Belgian consul’s residence in L.A., along with Belgian singer-songwriter Milow. “Before his set, my wife and I had a long conversation with Milow about living in San Diego. He was here as an exchange student in the Bishop’s School, about nine years ago. I promoted Lestat’s as much as possible with Milow’s manager.”
Milow is best known to U.S. audiences for his YouTube spoof of the 50 Cent/Justin Timberlake/Timbaland song “Ayo Technology,” which has earned over 45 million plays, though he’s a chart-topping artist in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, and Sweden.
“During soundcheck, I jammed with Ted Perlman, who now wants to get me in his studio to record. He congratulated me on my song quality and sound of my voice. I had to Google him, but apparently he played with a lot of big names, Whitney Houston, for example.” The Grammy-winning producer (Bob Dylan, Elton John) ended up producing several tracks with Durant.
In early 2013, Durant accepted a job in Belgium and announced plans to move his family (which now includes an eight-year-old girl and six-year-old twins, a boy and girl) back to Europe by June. “There’s a lot of reasons: personal, political, economical, and maybe a bit counterintuitive,” he told Reader. “I’d like to maximize my chances of realizing my dream of combining music with a tech company of my own.”
A new single "Fires and Earthquakes" was released June 30, 2015. Early the following year, he released a video for "No Matter What," featuring dancers from Danscentrum Aike Raes, in Leuven, Belgium.
- Last Place