Before David Sweet created carpetgarden, they made ends meet as a sandwich artist. Years of ukulele-playing gifted the teen unique dexterity, and isolated from parental support, Sweet went to work building a sub faster than any other staff member. When carpetgarden, Sweet’s artist project, eclipsed their Subway earnings, they gave up their day job — but not before mastering the sauce section.
At 21-years-old, carpetgarden has more sauce than ever. Amassing over 50 million streams from DIY releases alone, they set their sophomore EP: WTF Is Even Going On? A master of many trades, carpetgarden is also a talented visual artist. They personally cast, style and art direct every music video, as well as illustrate their own show fliers and album artwork. They make manifest of even the obscurest visions in 3-D animations on Blender, and their minimovies have garnered tens of thousands of fans across social platforms. While assuming every production role might seem like an impossible undertaking to most, for carpetgarden, it’s second nature.
“I love collaboration, but it’s so fun to wear every hat and just get better and better,” adding how important it is for them to execute their vision on their terms. “I try to keep my distance from the industry so I’m free to go any direction.”
For a queer kid from conservative northern California who could never sit still, this is the kind of artistic freedom they could only dream of. carpetgarden’s early music education can be credited to the likes of Guitar Hero and Rock Band (cue key influences: Twenty-One Pilots and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs!). Later, on the hunt for extra-curriculars to escape their hometown, carpetgarden discovered school choir and with it, a passion for singing. Soon, they were transposing alt-rock onto the ukulele, uploading the results to SoundCloud to unanticipated fanfare.
“It ended up working out,” the artist says of their initial success. “I never really had any idea I could make money from it, I was just making art for the sake of making art. But honestly it was just my way out.”
carpetgarden knew they were different from an early age. Coming out as gay as an adolescent, they began to embrace the term “non-binary” in their final years of high school. Already isolated from their traditional parents, they found solace in music: scouring Tumblr for imagery of gender-bending musicians, or dissecting Velvet Underground lyrics. Images of Kurt Cobain taking to the stage in dresses or cardigans were particularly resonant, mostly because the Nirvana frontman “didn’t care what the f**k anyone would say.” Still, it’s never been difficult for carpetgarden to “find community.” Between their pure and incomparable sweetness and devil-may-care eccentricity, the soft-spoken creative found like-minded artists in droves.
“Even [growing up gay] was hard where I was,” carpetgarden says, “but I’ve been very inspired by friends — being around other creatives helped me take the arts more seriously.”
When carpetgarden is not enjoying quality time with Siamese cat Oatmeal, they’re strumming on their guitar until dawn. Their wistful brand of garage-pop is enough to attract nostalgia obsessives, but it's their lyrics that have locked in leagues of loyalists. More recently, their songwriting has pivoted away from teen angst to tackle “growing up and into yourself” — peppering personal anecdotes between themes of gender dysphoria and mental illness.
The result is carpetgarden’s “most mature” output. “Mold,” the second single from WTF Is Even Going On? is a transportive love letter to those navigating depressive episodes. The shiver-inducing “Lonely,” another standout track, is carpetgarden’s answer to summertime sadness — distorted vocals and garage
These are not all of artist's releases, just the ones we have had a look at