Back in 2009, the Californian Pop Punk band known as Audio Karate resurfaced after little to no activity over a handful of years. Fast forward to 2012, and the band best known for “Nintendo 89” has transformed to a mature, sun-soaked indie rock band called Indian School.
Their debut EP, “The Cruelest Kind” is a heart-warming collection of songs that are upbeat and heartfelt and was recently released through Walnut Tree Records.
Already Heard recently caught up with vocalist/guitarist Arturo Barrios to discuss the bands transformation from Audio Karate to Indian School, how “The Cruelest Kind” came together, joining up with Walnut Tree Records and more.
Already Heard: To begin with can you state your name and role in Indian School?
Indian School: Hi names Arturo and I play guitar and sing for Indian School.
AH: I understand three members are from Audio Karate. Where did you find the other two members?
Indian School: They found us! Ha no not really. Anthony (Leech) is our lead guitarist, and was a kid from our hometown. He played in local bands and was the probably the best musican in our area. Eric (Wood – piano) was actually from a musicians website where musicians look for other musicians. We auditioned him and we knew within his first piano chord he was in.
AH: What was the decision to go under the name of Indian Summer instead of carrying under the ‘Audio Karate’ name?
Indian School: Audio Karate to me was a family or a marriage if you will. That unit divorced in 2008 and it didn’t feel right to me to carry the same name. This is a new marriage, younger with sexier legs and less baggage!
AH: How has the reaction been to both the name change and new sound?
Indian School: The name change didn’t go over to well. People begged us not to do it. We got boos at the first show when I announced we were Indian School. The sound however, I feel has been embraced by old fans and new.
AH: When you were writing ‘The Cruelest Kind,’ how did you approach differ to that during your time as Audio Karate?
Indian School: Well Audio Karate released two records. The first (“Space Camp”) was just the first 12 songs we had ever written together. The second (“Lady Melody”) was written in response to critics saying we were one dimensional and shitty.
The stuff with Indian School is me just writing the leanest most concentrated songs I can write. There was no pre-conceived notion, I didn’t know at the time of writing them that it would lead to a band.
AH: Was there a particular sound you wanted when writing the EP?
Indian School: No, to be honest my initial intention was to write songs and publish them. In other words get them in film or tv, or give them to other artists. So the reason the EP sounds like a mixed bag is because I wasn’t trying to write a cohesive record.
AH: Were there any particular bands that influenced the record?
Indian School: I listened to a lot of stuff. I don’t know if it filters thru though. The Replacements, My Morning Jacket. Fleetwood Mac, Fleet Foxes, The Strokes, Guided by Voices. The Bronx.
AH: The EP was mixed by Shawn Sullivan (Mars Volta, Saosin, Reel Big Fish). How did you come to work with him and what did he bring to the record?
Indian School: Oh where would we be without that crazy son of a bitch; probably wouldn’t be having this interview. He mixed the living shit out of this record. We engineered ourselves and he made it sound alive.
His biggest contribution is the song “Cocktail Flu”. It’s recorded completely live. Aside from a few background vocal overdubs it’s totally live and that was his idea. We met him through Mike (Jimenez) from Rufio and Science Fiction Theatre.
AH: You’re releasing the EP through Walnut Tree Records in the UK. How did the band and Tom (from the label) get together?
Indian School: He approached us when he found out we were writing music again. He made it really easy for us to work with him, being that he was honest and sincere.
AH: How has the response been to the EP so far?
Indian School: It’s been good. I’d say it’s better than I can remember for Audio Karate when we first came out.
AH: What’s next for Indian School?
Indian School: Well the record comes out in March. We’re playing in the States and we hope to make it out to the UK this year.
AH: Any final words to close the interview?
Indian School: There is no such thing as an authentic British pub in Los Angeles. I miss the real thing. It’s looked down upon in the States to drink during the day. Not as much in the UK!
“The Cruelest Kind” by Indian School is available now on Walnut Tree Records.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)