Telekinetic Walrus: "It Can't Be All About LIV and Mansion, There's a Local Music Scene Too"
Photo by Pablo Chacon Alvarez
In a galaxy not so far away, Telekinetic Walrus and the Pride of Ions is captivating audiences with a fusion of electronic booty-bouncing hip-hop and fantastic folk.
After a two-year hiatus spent recording music and building the Walrus Cave, this team of intergalactic superheroes returned to the Miami music scene in December 2013 with the release of its fourth musical installment, The Believers of The Flying Squirrel.
Now Telekinetic Walrus is back with another new record, The Instrumental Adventures of Faun 5000, King of Faunzellia. So we here at Crossfade took a trip to the Cave for a conversation about the band's hiatus, blueberry pancakes and Miami's ever-expanding music scene.
Crossfade: What's the story behind The Instrumental Adventures of Faun 5000, King of Faunzellia?
The Time- Zoo Keeper: It's all about Faun 5000, obviously. It's basically a saxophone journey through the introduction of Faun 5000 and his home planet to the story of Telekinetic Walrus.
Faun 5000: I'm relatively new to the group.
The Time-Zoo Keeper: Yeah. The last album ends with the introduction of the Flying Squirrel who is now leading the heroes from across the universe. They crash-land on Faunzellia and they're taken to the king, Faun 5000, in the capital city. The Faunzellians are known for their wisdom, their quick wit, and their blueberry pancake-making skills, but the king's power is that his saxophone is so soothing that when you hear it, you're under his mind control. The Flying Squirrel is able to use his telepathy to reason with Faun 5000, who ends up joining the team. Now the team is ready to take on the main antagonist which will be revealed in the next EP.
Faun 5000: I joined the band like seven or eight months ago after I moved back to Miami from New Orleans. I started coming through the Cave, started making music. And next thing you know, I'm dressing up on the stage and misspelling my own name.
Y Diz: This is also the first Telekinetic Walrus album to be instrumental. Except for the introduction, which tells the story, like we do on all our albums. The rest is completely instrumental.
How many lineup changes has the band been through?
The Time Zoo-Keeper: There was one major lineup change.
Y Diz: Originally, there were three of us. It was myself, the Time-Zoo Keeper and Parker, who wasn't living here at the time but was already doing artwork for us. Then we added a few other members and that was our lineup for a while until two members quit around the same time. That's when we went on hiatus.
Corinne: These three are really the core of the band.
Y Diz: But Corinne was on the first album too. She wasn't performing with us yet, but from the very beginning she was already collaborating with us and featured on the content. Corinne eventually ended up moving down here, and during our hiatus we were building the Cave, setting up the studio and that's when Komakozie started coming through and making music. And then Faun was coming through, we had all these different things going on. We decided to bring them all together and make it a show. We played for the first time together as Telekinetic Walrus during Art Basel.
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Photo by Pablo Chacon Alvarez
Before the hiatus, you guys had developed a pretty strong following. Has the turnout at your recent shows been the same as it was before the break?
The Time-Zoo Keeper: Better, man. And I've noticed that people who still come out from the olden days are really dedicated fans. They're proud to be part of this movement. They're really happy to be there and that's really rewarding. It's more than just a party, it's an experience.
Komakozie: Our shows aren't just a place to come get fucked up. It's a place where you come together as a community to feel enlightened and creative. It's very positive.
Corinne: Everything is really creative and imaginative. I think the creative aspect is the center of it all. We're all creative people and we want our shows to be creative, we want our costumes to be creative, we want our visuals to be creative. Telekinetic Walrus is more than just a band, it's a community. We are the band, but our extended Walrus family is big.
Your music and shows are kind of all over the place. How would you describe your sound?
Komakozie: Spiritual twerk music.
Y Diz: I like that. We've tried to come up with names or genres in the past and it doesn't really work.
The Time-Zoo Keeper: A lot of people don't understand that, though. In the music industry, you kind of have to have a genre. I like that a lot of people have compared us to a sort of New Age Parliament-Funkadelic. I've also heard a lot of Outkast comparisons. We're trance-like, but not trance the genre, more like our music will put you in a trance.
Corinne: I call it walrus-funk.
What's your opinion on the current music scene in Miami?
The Time-Zoo Keeper: There are so many different crowds in Miami, and so many different kinds of people. But we've yet to play a show down here where the majority of the crowd wasn't getting the fuck down. I've seen little kids with their moms dancing to our music. If we play a show at UM, there is a bunch of college kids getting down. The other day, we played a show where a couple of older ladies came up and bought merchandise. But I've seen the scene grow so much since the earlier days of Telekinetic Walrus. What the scene was when we first started is nothing compared to what it is now.
Corinne: What I love is that everyone dances in Miami.
Y Diz: But what I really wish is that local and state authorities would stop fucking with our venues so hard. The local government is about to fuck our music scene if we're not careful. You see a bunch of decent venues getting shut down, left and right. And then the venues that remain don't even have decent speakers, and we're in Miami in 2014. Local musicians at local venues are getting turnouts; these venues need to have proper sound and lighting equipment. It can't just all be about LIV and Mansion, there's a local music scene too.
-- Pablo Chacon Alvarez
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