After Durant’s decade here, he wishes he’d learned to surf.
Belgian singer-songwriter Carl Durant, a mainstay of the local circuit for the past several years, is heading home. Durant arrived with his wife in San Diego during 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).
In addition to his electronics work, while in Belgium, Durant 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, but 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 laughed. “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.”
Having accepted a job in Belgium this February, the plan is for his family to be back in Europe by June. “There’s a lot of reasons: personal, political, economical, and maybe a bit counterintuitive,” he said. “I’d like to maximize my chances of realizing my dream of combining music with a tech company of my own,” he said.
While in San Diego, Durant released a handful of tracks, including an EP, Last Place, in 2011, and tracks released via compilations such as the Art Around Adams 2012 disc. Most recently, he recorded with Grammy-winning producer Ted Perlman (Bob Dylan, Elton John). He’ll be heading back to Belgium with more than just new music. During his stay here, Durant became a father of an eight-year-old girl and six-year-old twins — a boy and girl.
Durant hopes to return to San Diego at least once more late this year. “Our flight to Belgium is a return ticket, so it will be hard to pass up on that. Maybe we’ll come get some sun in December,” he said. He’s clear on what he will miss the most. “Well I’m actually writing a song about it,” he commented. “Not a surprise, but mainly: the good people I met, the live-music scene, the weather and the nature close by. Oh, yes, and South Beach Bar & Grill fish tacos.”
Durant appears at Cafe Ipe in Encinitas on May 4.