From Haitian Bandstands To Czech Punk Clubs: Brooklyn-based Karikatura Reflect On The Personal Costs Of Tirelessly Touring The Globe With Ambitious New Album Ghost Light, Out April 27 via Oh So Nice Records
Headlining show confirmed for New York’s Rockwood Music Hall March 1
Ghost Light is a record with a well-stamped passport. The band behind it is Karikatura, a Brooklyn-based six-piece who’ve won much of their current reputation as an explosive live dance band, moving bodies all over the world — from Haitian bandstands to Czech punk clubs, the mountaintops of Chile to the parks of Kyoto. On Ghost Light, their sophomore album, out April 27 on Oh So Nice Records, they retain an electric sound informed by what they heard in these places, and channel these energies into gracefully wrought songs exploring the personal costs they’ve each paid for a life on tour. Ghost Light is a record for the end of a journey, for the night before the next departure and every sleepless night in between. These are songs for people who struggle, suffer, and party.
Forming a band with a global mindset was the plan from the beginning: The idea for Karikatura first came to Dima Kay—Ukrainian-born, Brooklyn-raised, and a self-described “recovering heavy metal guitarist”—while traveling through south India in 2009. “We came together with the express purpose of traveling,” he says. “We took every chance to tour. The first couple years, we were losing money, but we were determined, and the experiences we had were worth it in every way.”
Kay describes Karikatura’s first album, Eyes Wide, as an attempt to “narrow the view to New York City, our home,” with a stylistic palette of reggae, cumbia, salsa, R&B, and indie pop they’d picked up along the way. The band created music informed by the sounds they heard in the world around them— in the streets, on the radio, sharing club and festival billings—while imitating none of them.
On their new effort, these surging influences are further distilled in the service of powerful songs that transmit the gritty power of pain, transmuted into music. Singer Ryan Acquaotta pairs vivid storytelling with melodies that connect, sharing personal stories of the private struggle to make relationships work, often from a distance. “This album is all about heartbreak and hard choices,” Acquaotta says. “I know I let myself feel a little more flawed, more naked than usual.” Alongside drummer Morgan Greenstreet, saxophonist Noah Dreiblatt, trombonist Dan Lehner, and bassist Eric Legaspi, Karikatura recorded the album after months of intense writing, production, and recording at Kay’s studio, Horosho Records. Daniel Schlett, the engineer who mixed Ghost Light, recently won a GRAMMY for his part in engineering The War On Drugs latest album, A Deeper Understanding.
In addition to the emotional ambition of the 8 original songs—plus a cover of Aaliyah’s “Try Again”—Ghost Light represents a huge leap for Karikatura in technique, arrangement, and production. “We’ve played more than six hundred shows,” Kay says. “You learn a lot that way. What slays live doesn’t necessarily transfer to a recording.”
“With your back to me you sigh,” Acquaotta keens on “When It’s Time,“ the album’s wrenching last number, “and I don’t know what to do.” It’s a return to the album’s ancient, bare-bones conceit: two people love each other, but one is called away. Every return tainted by the promise of the next departure. “When you’re not around,” Kay writes, “you become the ghost in the house, the memory that’s present in your own absence. Even when you come home to your love, you’ll be strangers again.”
Karikatura On Tour:
3/1 – Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY
4/27 – C’Mon Everybody – Brooklyn, NY (Record release show)
6/21 – Nottoway Park – Vienna, VA
6/22 – The Purple Fiddle – Thomas, WV
6/23 – New Deal Café – Greenbelt, MD
More US and Europe dates to be announced soon.
For more information: Brendan Gilmartin or Natalie Miano, Chart Room Media
(347) 450-3048 or firstname.lastname@example.org