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Interview: Karabas Barabas and the ‘Return of the Sexy Demon’

Enigmatic Brooklyn alt-rockers Karabas Barabas are anything but mainstream.  A fusion of Primus‘s funky, pulsating basslines, Gogol Bordello‘s raw energy, The Dickie‘s fun take on aggressive punk rock rage, and Mr. Bungle‘s discordant melody structure, Karabas Barabas is a breath of fresh air in the Indie Rock scene, eschewing the tired trends defining radio rock today. Their debut, full length album Return of the Sexy Demon–and we can’t help but stand up and applaud their choice of the legendary Steve Albini (who rounded out the unique sounds of no less, of this particular anti-genre-approach, than NirvanaPixiesThe Breeders, and Foxy Shazam) to record and mix–is a virtual wonderland of psychedelic fun house mirrors, reflecting and simultaneously skewing and destroying expectations.

We got to sit down with the anonymous trio to pick their brains about their music making process and boy did we get an earful of fun.  So take a listen to this unusual new act via their equally unusual “Sexy Guy” and “Being a Man” music videos, grab a copy of  Return of the Sexy Demon on iTunes, bandcamp, or Spotify, and give your brain a solid dose of irreverent entertainment with the interview below!

Tell us the story behind Karabas Barabas.

In October 2015 a Russian black opps project ripped a hole in the space time continuum and a gateway to  another dimension was opened in Jacksonville, Florida. Through it slithered the Sexy Demon. We gave chase and entered into your world. Three we were, Werdna , Phranque, and Josh Davis.  A great man name Jacques Lemaire came before us whilst on Floridian vacation.  He told us the Truth about Gordon Bombay and of the miracle birth in 7-11.  With that knowledge and his coaching, we formed a band.

 We started rehearsing once a week.  In March 2016 we cut an ep The Truth About Gordon Bombay, with producer Dean Jones.  But the sexy demon was close, and people didn’t want to hear the Truth.  So we started rockin even harder.  We decided to try an analog approach and booked a session Memorial Day weekend with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio.  Steve’s methodology and precision really helped us capture the raw sound that we were looking for.  All in all we made the album in 6 days, with a little help from the great Jon San Paolo and Greg Norman who recorded overdubs and vocals.  We flew back to Chicago to mix Return of the Sexy Demon with Steve Labor Day weekend.  

It was mastered October 13th by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service.

We plan to spread the word across the realm of the Return of the Sexy Demon and tell people the Truth About Gordon Bombay.  The world needs to hear the truth, it will set them free.

What is one unique characteristic of each member of that you can share with us?

Phranque  – Eats moss

Werdna – likes kittens

Josh – Can never find his pants

Think the term ‘Music Icon”, what name immediately pops in your head?

Buster Keaton, Boy George, piano cat

What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you as a band since you started up?

We resurrected the ghosts of Reagan, JFK, and Nixon and injected them into our respective pineal glands.  Our combined knowledge changed our whole perspective on things.

How does living in Brooklyn affect you in a musical sense?

NYC really makes musicians work really hard, so it’s given us chops and determination.  It also is really nice to leave Brooklyn, there’s a lot of great city’s within a few hours, so we travel to New England often and hope to make increasing regular runs down to Philly, Baltimore, DC and Richmond.

How do you go about putting a song together, from songwriting to composition to production?

We drink goat pee from a chalice and praise Ra before we write anything. Then we wait , and then wait some more and then we wait some more. Bang, a burst of clarity consumes us, lucidity and effortless concentration.  Music starts streaming through our our butt holes a sweet gift from the universe.  Praise Ra we chant Praise the great Ra. That’s how we do!

Is there a story behind the tracks on Return Of The Sexy Demon?

They are all pretty sexy songs.  So we thought we should capture the spirit of the sexy demon and the only way to do that is to record to tape.  Sexy demons need tape in order to be trapped.  We chose Steve Albini to record it, because of his overwhelming sex appeal and attention to detail.  And what resulted we feel is a very sexy time.  The demon was captured for all eternity in a 24 track 2 inch real in the great city of Chicago.  

How do you relate to your fans?

We both seem to enjoy playing off the absurdity of it all.  That seems to be our common thread.

We know that you play alternative rock music, but is that the music that you personally listen to all the time?

We all have very different taste in music:

Phranque: I do like rock best, but I also dig electronic music, like Boards of Canada.

Werdna  – White Zombie, Old Dirty Bastard

Josh Davis: I like Miles Davis, Rage Against The Machine, and Pixiguinha

What can fans expect from Karabas Barabas in 2017?

Lots of concerts and videos!

We plan to spread the good word all across the land, and will likely record a new record in the fall.


1. In Waves
2.Casino Tears
3. Barbara and the Boys
4. Being a Man
5. Sexy Guy
6. Brighton Beach
7. Zebra in Heat
8. Ode to the Disenchanted Cottage

Connect with Karabas Barabas:
Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | Bandsintown

About Colette Josef

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