This week’s band is one born out of another, complete with a change in lineup and a new name. Badass Band 49 is Indian School, formerly known as popular LA punk band Audio Karate. I would definitely say they’ve kept their punk edge but have expanded their talent to showcase a pleasing variety of new sounds and lyrical genius.
Indian School was another band brought to me via Twitter. I am a sucker for punk rock, and though I wouldn’t categorize these guys as straight punk anymore, I would definitely say they have done well to incorporate a overtly present rhythm section and pleasingly edgy guitar riffs. They are the generally the fast pace of punk rock mixed with the mellow, pleasant melodies of stereotypical ‘Indie’. Their EP ‘The Cruelest Kind’ features six tunes, each with their own district sound. Personal standouts would be ‘Rob Your House’, ‘Elvis’, and ‘Head Right’. Arturo’s vocals are a perfect balance of shouted, roughness to husky and gentle depending on what tune you are listening to on the EP. With the kickass combination of guitar, bass, drums and the addition of the piano, Indian School has cooked up quite the recipe for greatness. Their lyrics focus primarily on relationships, basically getting your shit together, realizing we all make mistakes and not to waste time, delivered in a much more beautifully, poetic way than I am stating here.
Indian School is made up of Arturo Barrios- Vocals/Guitar, Anthony Leach- Guitar, Justo Gonzalez-Bass/Backup Vocals, Gabriel Camacho-Drums and Eric Wood-Piano. These guys are quickly being recognized and have just recently signed to Animal Style Records for the re-release of their EP on vinyl! They also have some shows coming up in the LA area, 9/26 at Origami Vinyl and 9/29 at Rhino Records in Claremont.
Art was gracious enough to take some time to answer some questions for BBB, so scope out the interview below, which will give you insight into non musical interests, what they have on the agenda for the rest of their year, and why Art said, “Well, I make the kind of music I want to make, and while that’s certainly not unique, it’s definitely something. “
When and why did you all start playing?
We’ve been playing since we were little kids, some of were in a band together before Indian School.
What is the significance of the name, Indian School?
We’re sworn to secrecy… for now.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up? How does that differ from what you listen to now?
I got into punk rock pretty early. Misfits, Descendents, Bad Brains.. I locked myself in a room and listened to Black Flag for a whole year(not recommended) As I’ve grown yeah, I am into like typical Indie stuff. With age you lose the rage, and I’ve certainly calmed down over the years.
Which musicians do you admire? Why?
I respect a bunch but ultimately it’s the really strong songwriters who put melody ahead of lyrics(Brian Wilson, Elton John, Julian Casablancas, Kurt Cobain) And also the ones who are able to wear many hats over their tenure(Lou Reed, Bowie, Jeff Tweedy).
Do you get nervous before a show?
No, I used too but not anymore.
Any rituals before a show?
Yes, it mainly centers around babying my throat. I drink a lot of water, I try not to smoke or drink. I stretch and warm up too.
Describe your show visually & musically for those who have never been.
Visually were probably not much I mean we don’t have a light show or anything. But musically our objective is to deliver the songs in the most cohesive manner possible. Now that we’ve been playing this EP of ours for a few months its fun as a singer to improvise vocally a bit. I get a little tired of the same melody so ill change it up and improvise as I go.
How does your creative process typically work?
Well, it starts with a melody for me, that’s the big thing. I’ll find the chords to the melody and from there I bring it to the band and we construct a song pretty much. The last step is inserting lyrics to the melody, which is why I enlisted the help of a friend of mine Joshua to help me write lyrics.
What do you think you biggest break or greatest opportunity has been in your career so far?
Well that’s actually about to be announced, were signing with a label here in Los Angeles called Animal Style records. They’re going to release our debut EP on Vinyl which is really exciting.
What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?
The toughest thing is getting your music out there. There is an oversaturation of music nowadays. Anyone with a laptop and autotune can sound reasonably well. I mean it’s mostly shit and most people see right thru it but ya, it can make things difficult.
What are you working on now, and what can we expect from you in the coming year?
Well we’re in the studio right now recording a song for our upcoming vinyl release and were looking to tour by the end of the year.
Why should people listen to your music? What makes you unique? If your band had a slogan, what would it be?
I heard a really good quote from Thurston Moore who wrote, “Chances are your music will get lost in the annals of history, so you might as well make the kind of music you want to make.”
Well I make the kind of music I want to make, and while that’s certainly not unique, it’s definitely something.
If you had the opportunity to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Well the way things are now it’s really hard for bands to make money and make a living doing what they love. I’d like some of these services like Spotify and Youtube to compensate the artists fairly.
One song you never get tired of.
The late greats – Wilco
What is the best live show you have ever gone to?
Rage Against the machine- The Great Western Forum in Los Angeles.
Favorite things to do NOT musically related.
Reading, Hiking, Recreational drugs
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?
The most interesting man in the world from the Dos XX beer commercials.
My 2008 Toyota Yaris. Fucker gets 40 MPG, I don’t know where I’d be without that thing.
What kind of jobs did you have before you were in the music industry?
I was a banker for a prominent US bank. In the present economic climate, it kinda felt like I was a giant, smooth talking, blood sucking leach. Wasn’t really my thing.
If you ran Badass Bands Blog, what is one band you would feature? (Aside from yourselves of course!)
Hmm, I’d cover artists that don’t do interviews well or are complete assholes (Morrisey, Thom Yorke, Lou Reed, etc.).
FIND INDIAN SCHOOL HERE: