Music

exclusive interview with kool ad’s new hardcore band party animal! #soundcheck

February 18, 2013

Party Animal is a new hardcore band featuring Kool AD of Das Racist. Their debut record drops later this month, and is one of my most anticipated records of 2013. I recently spoke with the band about DIY, punk rock, and moving out of the shadow of Das Racist’s success.

Interview by Nathan Leigh

How did Party Animal get started?
KOOL A.D.: Me and Loren have been in a number of punk bands since middle school and throughout and after high school, including The Dorkestra,Vlad and thee Impalers, Jesse and the Rippers, The Shlamiels, The Wasted (later American Terrorists), and New Earth Creeps. Malosi played bass in New Earth Creeps and is generally the homie.

LOREN MOTER: What he said.

MALOSI: I remember the original idea for this project was to record each verse of the Tao Te Ching as a “song” and put it out as a kind of audiobook… but that lasted as long as it took to do the first verse.

What’s your role in the band?
KOOL A.D.: I play drums and co-wrote some of the album.

LOREN MOTER: On the record I played bass on all the tracks, guitar on about half the tracks and sang on most of them. For live gigs I sing and play bass. Sometimes I play the fool. Shout out to Ringo Starr for no reason.

MALOSI: I play guitar and also co-wrote a couple joints.

Most artists tend to start in hardcore and then mellow out as they hit their later 20’s. You’ve gone kind of the opposite route. What made you want to play hardcore now?
KOOL A.D.: I’ve played punk and hardcore since I was like 13. We eventually made a couple records of our shit years after we wrote the songs (available here) but we never toured. I kind of saw the success of Das Racist as an opportunity to work on some pet projects. Instead of buying jewelry and a two-door car with my rap money I bought  van, studio time and pressed up some vinyls and I’m now booking the punk rock tour we never did.

LOREN MOTER: To defy stereotypes and expectations, that’s why. Also hardcore, punk and/or thrash is hella fun.

MALOSI: The first thing I was ever in was a hardcore band in Hawaii called Last Chance when I was 15… there’s always other things happening, but being in a hardcore band has been a constant since then, maybe the difference is that now it’s more fun than cathartic…

Is there something about punk rock that you couldn’t communicate through hip-hop?
KOOL A.D.: I think they’re both more similar mediums than people give them credit for: American “folk”/”blues”/”resistance” music, relatively low overhead, usually prioritizing feel over technical skill, usually concerned with “the struggle” in some way or another, often nihilistic, often born out of pessimism/poverty/rejection/angst, appealing and marketable to suburban white kids, went through periods
of commercialization and selling out, concerned with notions of authenticity, nerdy fanboy culture, a mostly grassroots-originated, participatory culture that’s been through a lot of changes, etc., etc. I like them both and I don’t really put one above the other.

LOREN MOTER: The separation of musical genres reflects the separation of people. Which is cool in the way that it produces variety but not cool in the way that it produces hella haters.

MALOSI: No.

Do you listen to a lot of punk and hardcore?
KOOL A.D.: I guess so.

LOREN MOTER: Do you read a lot of interviews?

MALOSI: Less than my friends that do and more than my friends that don’t.

What are the punk rock bands that inspire you?
KOOL A.D.: I guess classics like Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Misfits, Flipper, Germs, Stooges, Ramones, Cro-Mags Dead Milkmen, Minutemen but also smaller Bay Area bands I used to see as a kid like Spazz, Godstomper, Intrepid A.A.F., Fracas, Stone Vengeance, Fleshies, One in the Chamber, Hot Black Desiato, Blottos, Chest Full of Arrows, and some bands that are around in the Bay Area now still like Acts of Sedition, Fracas, Stone Vengeance, Malas Pulgas, Under 15 Seconds, CHT, Fukm, Fucktard, Eat Pussy. And Trash Talk is killing it obviously. And weirder shit on the border of punk like Devo, Nuclear Rabbit, Mr. Bungle, Melt Banana, Boredoms. I got put on to Death a couple years ago and wish I had heard them as a kid.

LOREN MOTER: Classic stuff like Misfits, Black Flag, Circle Jerks,Dead Kennedys,Samhain, Bad Brains, Germs, X, Minor Threat. You know, all those bands cops will tell you they used to listen to to try to trick you into trusting them. DON’T TRUST THEM! IT’S A TRAP! Always partial to older bay area stuff like Social Unrest, Negativland,
Avengers, Crime, Crucifix, Crucifucks, Fang, The Nuns,Christ on Parade,Feederz. I could literally go on for like 10 pages but I dont feel like it.

MALOSI: Bad Brains, Agnostic Front, Minor Threat, Cro-Mags, Shelter, Bad Religion, Broken Man, B.Y.K.

The album has a sort of cynical bent to it in songs like “You Can Fuck the System…” Do you really think the system always wins? Or is there hope?
KOOL A.D.: I think of “You Can Fuck the System but the System’s Gonna Fuck You Too” is actually a hopeful song. The fact that people sat down and learned how to play musical instruments in unison is in itself a pretty optimistic act.

LOREN MOTER: This is the most upbeat album I’ve ever been on. The idea of P.M.A. only exists as a reaction to the fact that there’s hella jank ass shit in the world, you can only hope to overcome any obstacle by first acknowledging it.

MALOSI: I’m gonna go with: properly executed cynicism is crucial to maintain the kind of hope that you can actually use.

What kind of reaction have you gotten from Das Racist fans to Party Animal’s stuff?
KOOL A.D.: There’s a lot of fools that love it. People at the shows we’ve played so far seemed really into it.

LOREN MOTER: I’m a Das Racist fan and it seems pretty cool to me.

MALOSI: Allergic, but in a good way

Do you think Das Racist is done for good or just done for now?
KOOL A.D.: I’m done with DR.

LOREN MOTER: I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a reunion at some point.

MALOSI: They done good for now

Anything else coming up that we should know about?
KOOL A.D.: Just dropped a double mixtape called 63/19. I did another mixtape with Seattle jazz cat/rap dude/rapper/producer/DR collaborator Kassa Overall called Peaceful Solutions dropping soon. I got a solo record I’m working on called O, I made a few tracks with mulatto crooner Safe, we’re working on an EP or full-length project together called Western Self Control, I exec-produced and co-wrote an EP for proto-post pop act Cult Days, I recorded a short album/EP thing with Toro y Moi that we’re trying to figure out what to do with, I started a punk-rap supergroup with Party Animal singer Loren Moter (A.K.A. Loren Hell A.K.A. Bad Pun A.K.A. Young Dirty Bastard B.K.A. Jake) and super producer Amaze 88 called Future Grammy Winners, our mixtape dropping soon is called Bohemian Rap CD, and I’m trying to set up an art show or maybe two this year.

LOREN MOTER: I’m printing some of my art on t-shirts some time soon, some of that art will also be displayed at an art show in San Francisco, details TBA, I perform at pretty much every Shitty Band Night at Burnt Ramen Studios in Richmond, CA

MALOSI: It’s not mine, but I strongly recommend the upcoming Monarx album… and also everything these other two got going on.

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