Radar Band Of The Week – No 12: Funeral Party

Funeral Party – Reigniting America’s coastal gang wars and indie rock’n’roll’s embers

James Torres, guitarist with LA pogo-punks Funeral Party, is certain of his band’s mission statement. “We’re starting the whole East Coast/West Coast Biggie and Tupac thing again. We’ve missed it
– we need to boot it back up.”


Yeeeaaahh, since that one ended so well. But with breakout track ‘NYC Moves To The Sound Of LA’ currently smashing a radio near you, they’re injecting sweaty indie-disco fun into the age-old conflict. “The song is an insult to New York and LA,” explains singer Chad Elliott, “where it goes, ‘Pick up the trends you dumb Americans’. In LA there’s a lot of rich yuppie kids who dress like they’re poor but have a lot of money and have a lot of pseudo celebrity friends in LA. There’s a lot of that going on. Fuckers.”

So who would be their New York rivals in their indie re-enactment of the hip-hop wars? “The Drums. Those fakers.” Ohhh, fighting talk, epecially seeing as the four-piece recently toured with the Big Apple pretty boys.

If Chad, James and drummer Kimo Kauhola are already picking fights outside their circle, it’s because back home they never really had one. “We never made friends with any other bands. We were enemies with some. LA is weird, it’s not really unified because everyone’s in different areas, so it’s like high school, with different cliques.” So if, say, The Bronx are the jocks and The Like are the prom queens, what clique does that make FP? “Nerds. Or the ‘music enthusiast art-rock stoners’. That’s a long title though, we’d get beat up for that!”

Hailing from Whittier, one of the poorest suburbs in all LA, they were always outsiders from the dominant skate punk culture, forming after James heard ‘Is This It’ by The Strokes. Their working class Mexican background could not be further away from the New Yorkers’ Swiss finishing schools, but when Julian C heard their music he took them on the road. Similarly, Omar Rodríguez-López from The Mars Volta was moved to come and play guest guitar on their forthcoming debut album. After years in the blog wilderness, indie is surely due a return to pop, and to popularity. Don’t bet against Funeral Party being the ones to kick-start it.

by Dan Martin

Need To Know
• The band got their name from a Cure song. They knew it was right because it made Chad’s grandmother gasp
• James would like Jonny Greenwood to play guitar on their next album
• They are labelmates with Britney Spears


This article originally appeared in the July 10 issue of NME

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