With a snarl and biting attitude which is spawn by and reflects the state of broken Britain, UK band The Karma Party has emerged as a compelling and inventive force with a musical craft and imagination as potent as the uncompromising yet thoughtful lyrical thoughts and often venom they wield. The quartet brews up a unique and irresistible fusion of hardcore, punk and dub-step with flames of electronica which come together for a fiery storm of thrilling and explosive invention. Their recently released Dark Matters EP has caused a fury of acclaim and attention their way and not wanted to be left in the wake we had the pleasure of talking to vocalist Merc about the outstanding release, the band itself, and what inspires the rage and enterprise which drives them.
Hi Merc, many thanks for taking time out to talk with us here.
No problem, thanks for having us!
For all those new to The Karma Party please introduce the band.
Hello! We are The Karma Party from the derelict holiday resort of Blackpool, nice to make your acquaintance.
How did you all meet and how did the band begin?
Me (Merc) and Luke used to be in another band with James who is now in Sonic Boom Six.
For one reason or another that band fell to pieces, after which James helped me formulate ideas and then bit by bit we assembled what is now The Karma Party.
You hail from Blackpool; is the place as run down and far from its former glory as the media portrays?
It’s worse! I mean, I watched 999 What’s Your Emergency? They went easy on the place. A lot of people come to Blackpool as tourists, which is mind boggling enough. They come to see the lights and drive down the prom unaware that one street away people are living in abject poverty. You can see the weight of the place in people’s faces as you walk around. There is a massive problem with violence and drugs and the only the thing the local authorities want to do is to make it more attractive to the booze tourists and hen nights to bring more revenue into the area, which only perpetuates the substance abuse issues. Most people in Blackpool don’t care about anything anymore; they have become resigned to that lifestyle and believe it is the norm everywhere. I don’t think there is anywhere else in the country like it. Maybe Morecambe…
…And a place to inspire dissent, anger, and lyrical potency for songs?
It’s impossible not to be inspired in a place like that as there is so much material on your doorstep.
I think Blackpool is like a microcosm for the whole country containing every issue the country has, so definitely a main source for the lyrics.
You create a striking and passion inciting sound from blending punk, dubstep, hardcore, electronica, and more. A fascinatingly eclectic brew brought with passion and attitude I think it is fair to say. How would you describe your sound and what are the major influences musically which have had an effect on your ideas and music?
Thank you! We’re not very good with labels but we’ve been called Punk Step and Punk n Bass which kind of sums up a lot of what we do. There is such a massive eclectic taste amongst the band which allows us to see the similarities between the genres. I don’t think it would work as well if we were all into the same music. We love to watch bands utilising electronics properly as it brings another dynamic to the show. It would be impossible for us not to cite Enter Shikari as an influence and one of our favourite bands. Other artists would include: Bad Brains, Gallows, Mike Patton, Squarepusher, Venetian Snares, Reprazent, The King Blues, Sonic Boom Six, Mouthwash, Skindred, London Electricity, Nero, Rusko, Eminem, Lowkey, Clint Mansell, Danny Elfman, Capdown, NOFX and Chris Murray….I could carry on.
Do you see yourselves as a political band using anthemic music for weaponry or a band creating individual and stirring music which just happens to be inspired lyrically by the injustices of the day?
One of the main things we agreed on when we started this project was to keep it as real and true as possible. The public have a way of sniffing out lies and if you pretend to be something you’re not, I believe that they can tell. Although I can’t speak for the rest of the band (as it’s not something we talk about) I’ve never been to a protest or voted, I doubt I ever will as I don’t think either makes a difference as all aspects of the game are rigged. I do want to spend the rest of my life trying to make a difference but I think change has to come from the people. They are the ones who are keeping this system in place. We are a tiny part of a massive universe, there is no past or future, no good or bad and we could change the world in a heartbeat if we so wished. I want people to know they are not insignificant and they are loved…..including politicians.
If everything was perfect, yes a far-fetched possibility ha-ha, would The Karma Party exist?
If everything was perfect I don’t think I would have ever picked up an instrument or have the mind-set that I do now. The famous quote by Victor Hugo springs to mind; Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters. It’s so true in my case.
You have just released your debut EP, the excellent Dark Matters EP. It is for us a five track eclectic feast of sound and invention not forgetting being greedily infectious. I imagine the songs on the release all find an enthusiastic reaction in your live shows such the impact they make on the EP.
Again thanks for your nice words. We’ve just finished the Dark Matters Tour which was our first time on the road and the response has been overwhelming. The shows have been mental, something we didn’t expect first time out. We’ve put a lot of work in making the live show stand up to the recording and from the reaction it seems to have worked. It was crazy to have people singing the words back at us on our first tour something we didn’t see coming and I’ve been humbled by almost everyone we’ve met.
How has Dark Matters been received so far, especially critically?
From our perspective it was such a personal recording that we couldn’t tell if it was good or bad anymore. We were so involved in it that we’d lost all perspective. It has been received better than we ever expected with mainstream press like Kerrang! and Rock Sound giving us great reviews and blogs and websites all over picking it up.
In all honesty we couldn’t have hoped for a better reaction.
You have released it as a free download opportunity for fans, any particular reason for that?
We want everyone to be able to listen to our music whether you can afford a CD or not. In the band we are shameless streamers, torrenters and file sharers, so for us to be precious over our record when we have “stolen” so many other peoples music would be very hypocritical.
How do songs emerge within the band generally?
It’s a varied process, usually we demo and produce a lot of stuff in our bedrooms and over the internet and then take the ideas into the practice room for fine tuning.
Do lyrics spark songs or musical ideas, or is it a mix?
Tricky question…Musical ideas definitely inspire the lyrics in the demo process and then later the track is re-worked around the lyrics. So I guess it would be a mix.
The release contains your two singles Collapse and This Is Britain, both seemingly gained the tag infamous from a great many. Tell us about both of the powerful and lyrically volatile songs.
This is Britain – You’ve got to laugh at what Britain has become. I find it almost impossible to relate to any facet of mainstream culture. So this is our way of poking fun at what seems to be a ridiculous way of life. From the Royal Family to Ant and Dec, from our drinking culture to gossip magazines and from politicians and police to orange girls with Sharpie eyebrows, I don’t fit in anywhere. I didn’t want to whinge about all this so I tried to put myself in the mind-set of someone who loves modern Britain. It’s so sarcastic we were worried people might take it literally.
Collapse – Collapse is almost like the serious brother of This Is Britain. We wanted to talk about the poverty we see in the country. This recession and depression has been brought on by the government and they continue to shift the blame and show us statistics that say everything is ok but you only need to go out in the street to see how bad it’s getting. We want people to know they are the real power in this country and globally and politicians are counting on you to do nothing about it. Your country needs you and it needs you now.
Would you say This Is Britain has become already your musical calling card, the song people instantly refer to in relation to the band?
I really hope so, I think it’s a fine example of what we want to say and do musically. I think we’ll be playing that track for years to come.
Both songs have impressive videos, with the one for This is Britain like the song especially potent. Who did you record them with?
Thanks! Videos are a massive part of what we want to do. James Kennedy from Trifecta Films in Manchester did the This Is Britain video. We brought him to Blackpool for two days. We shot in our local and took him and his team on a sightseeing tour of the grimiest places in town. We had really good fun.
Some bands find it hard to create contagious songs without diluting the message or impact of the lyrics whilst others just concuss with noise to empower their impacting words. On the evidence of Dark Matters you have found the perfect balance. How much effort goes into your balance of both aspects or is it something which is just instinctive for you?
The rest of the band act as editors for the lyrics so when I’m pushing a point too much or what I’m doing lyrically is impacting on the aesthetics of the track they let me know. It’s sometimes hard for me to hear anything but the lyrics so it helps to have a team who know a good track when they hear it. There is definitely a group editing process.
How much impact do you believe artists and music can truly make on people in regard to social and world issues?
Art in general has the ability to change the world forever; it connects more people than Facebook and brings us together in ways we still don’t properly understand. A lot of people would call me naïve but I think doing nothing, putting your faith in political systems and hoping for the best is naïve.
What is next for The Karma Party?
Touring in April, May and June with Random Hand and Anti Vigilante. Playing Rebellion festival in August and we will have more new material / videos out later in the year!
Once more big thanks for chatting with us, any last thoughts for the readers and fans?
No worries thanks for the great questions. The only thing we want to say is a massive thanks to anyone who has given us a listen or come to show you are the reason we do this.
Grab the Dark Matters EP for free @ http://thekarmaparty.co.uk
Read the Dark Matters EP review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/the-karma-party-dark-matters-ep/
The RingMaster Review 28/03/2013
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