Rosemead rockers Audio Karate split in 2005 and briefly resurfaced in 2009, but had been on hiatus until 2018 when they thrilled fans by fully reuniting. In August, they released Malo, a previously “lost” album. They play in town this week, so we had a chat…
L.A. WEEKLY: Why did the band decide to reunite last year?
Arturo Barrios: It was really the passing of a family member that brought us back together. It got us all in the same room again and got us talking. It was also Rob from Wire Tap Records who, right around that time, wanted to release our first record on vinyl, and asked if we’d want to play some shows to support the release. It all kinda fell into place after that
We’re told that the Malo album was lost — where was it? Why dust it off now?
Well Malo was recorded in our home studio in east Los Angeles back in 2006. The band subsequently broke up and never finished the record and the files sat in Jason [Camacho, guitar]’s computer for over 12 years. When it came to reuniting, it was never my intention to revive Malo. I thought it better to leave it in the past and I also thought the tracks were incomplete. But Jason showed us a mix of the first song “Bounce” and it sounded pretty good. In retrospect it was a no brainer to bring that album back to life
When you go back to music that you recorded a long time ago, are you still as excited about it?
It’s a tricky question for me. On one hand, yes, it’s pretty cool to play some of these songs — really for the first time. Most of these songs were hashed out in the studio. We never actually played them live. But most of these songs do not have finished lyrics. I’m just singing the melody and doing this hodge podge, phonetic, stream of consciousness thing. So doing that live feels a little silly because I’m trying to recreate that. As I write this, I realize I really should just finish the lyrics.
What can we expect from this L.A. show?
I should be selling this show as the greatest shit off ice but I’m no promoter. I will say that for the first time as a band, we now have a comprehensive body of work. Three albums to draw from now makes for a pretty legit show. The Hi-Hat in Highland Park has also quickly become my favorite venue to play in, so you can’t go wrong watching a band there.
When that’s done, what else do you have coming up?
We’ll see where next year takes us. But we’d like very much to play the East Coast which is long overdue. And Europe is likely in play as well.
Audio Karate plays with Decent Criminal and Pity Party at 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 14 at the Hi-Hat.
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