“(The stabbing) just happened because LA is such a melting pot of different people.”
“I know it’s all been done before, and it will all be done again,” sings Chad Elliott on the Funeral Party single, New York City Moves to the Sounds of LA.
Given a lot of artists seem to constantly proclaim their work as original no matter how derivative it may actually be, conceding to the recycled nature of most music nowadays is a startlingly honest statement from the US four-piece.
And as Elliot speaks down the line backstage from Omaha, Nebraska, it becomes clear that startling honesty is one of the Californian’s most noticeable traits.
“I grew up in the 90s, and being jaded with everything,” he begins. “So that song comes from me just being my jaded self: ‘Oh, this has all been done, nothing’s new.’
“As an artist it’s different, because you want to be able to tell yourself that you can create something new, but I don’t know. You kind of have to lie to yourself a little bit to give yourself a bit of happiness.”
While Elliott’s attitude seems to embody 90s grunge nihilism, the same can’t be said for Funeral Party’s debut full-length, The Golden Age of Knowhere, a collection of enthusiastic indie dance-rock from a music scene which sprouted and then quickly dissipated around the group’s East LA home of Whittier.
The less-than-glamorous areas of the city are renowned for producing hardcore or hip-hop scenes, yet East LA instead birthed a party-rock scene, with bands performing at various houses and warehouses.
“There was this weird new vibe ” Elliott recalls of the time. “It was like all the cool cliques you get in high school all of a sudden throwing a big party, and they were all there at once.
“LA is very phoney and has that aspect of being stupid and all about celebrity and fakeness — this was a really nice wave of fresh air. But then all of a sudden it went back to being fake again, and everybody trying to do DJ shit, and it was just stupid.”
Playing random venues throughout the city inevitably landed the band in some dodgy neighbourhoods, resulting in an oft-publicised incident where a punter was stabbed during one of the band’s early shows.
Though tales of violence at shows in and around LA are nothing new, Funeral Party is hardly NWA or Suicidal Tendencies, and having to constantly recount such a violent incident certainly contrasts strongly with the type of band it is.
“(The stabbing) just happened because LA is such a melting pot of different people,” Elliott explains for the record.
“We were playing where there are gangs, and certain people came, and it was a different gang’s territory. That’s how it happened.”
So, sans knife-crime, what is the band expecting from audiences when it hits Perth to play its first Australian show ever?
“Absolutely no idea,” Elliott laughs. “I’m going to be really vocal with the crowd and tell them ‘Hello, we’re not from here, it’s our first time, so if you have any suggestions of what we should be doing be vocal about it, because we have no idea what to do’.”
THE PLUG: Funeral Party play Capitol on August 2, supported by Boy in a Box. Tickets through Ticketmaster or Moshtix.