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Name: Adam Bernard
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Artist Of The Week - The Makeout Party
Monday, September 10, 2007

L to R: Fatty, Tigerbeat, No!z Machine
Bottom: Mish the Mish Mash

Over the years a lot of great music has come out of Brooklyn, NY, but rarely has the borough seen a group quite as unique as The Makeout Party. Made up of Fatty, Tigerbeat, No!z Machine and Mish The Mish Mash, The Makeout Party describes their music as "Lil' Jon seducing the cast of Saved by the Bell into a shameless, drunken orgy with Whitney Houston.” In simpler terms, they mix funky beats with witty lyrics to create music one can’t help but enjoy. Let's face it, it's hard to hate on a group whose topic matter ranges from wearing G-Unit underwear to the dynamics of a sausage party, which is exactly why I caught up with all four members of The Makeout Party this week to find out as much as I possibly could about them.

Adam Bernard: Hit me with some basic background info on who you are and how you came together.
Mish: NYU music tech forever! We’re just a bunch of midi and recording geeks who were looking for something to do between exams.
No!z: All I remember was the promise of unlimited hookers and blow. That's really the only reason I joined.
Tigerbeat: Sorry we haven't made good on the blow end of the bargain. I hope the hookers were to your liking.
Fatty: We had exams! It was originally an assignment for a recording class and who better to record than our fab selves?
Tigerbeat: The song we did for that project was called "White Girls Rapping" and we basically spent the entire session in tears we were laughing so hard. It was just Fatty and me back then, Mish and No!z came on in '04 and that's when things really started to gel. I like to break it down like we're the Spice Girls. Mish Mash is the Russian one, I'm the slutty one, Fatty's the little sister, and Noiz Machine
No!z: If you call me Sporty Spice I'm gonna be so....excited.
Tigerbeat: Actually, that was the plan. Hope you're for real excited and not feigning it you big feigner.
Fatty: Hey! I'm really big!
Tigerbeat: Okay, you're the morbidly obese one! Sheesh. But basically we all met in the Music Technology program at NYU. We started up nearly four years ago, but our first release is about to come out, it's an EP called Spell Check 1... 2... and we recorded, produced and are releasing it ourselves. It’s got five songs on it: “Sausage Fest,” “Easy,” which is totally our jam, “My Plastic Heart Cannot Love,” “Get Classy,” and a secret bonus track. As far as day jobs go everyone's working in music to some degree; No!z is an audio post mixer and sound designer, Fatty also works in audio post, Mish does live sound and produces other people's records and I decided pretty quickly that I'd rather tell people what to do and how to do it than be an engineer, so I'm a producer for a fashion and music website.

Adam Bernard: You guys are hilarious. How'd you come up with the name The Makeout Party and how do you feel it reflects your work?
Mish: Beat was all over that one. Other makeout parties beware, you can't fuck with us.
Tigerbeat: Thanks. I don't remember why I thought of the name, but I do remember that it was while I was working a really boring desk job sometime in late '03. If someone wants to help me come up with a creation myth, that'd be sick. We should have a suggestion box at the shows. I think it's pretty fitting, though, we definitely have an "every song's a party" vibe and makeout parties generally evoke a sense of mischievousness, of being up to something that your parents wouldn't quite approve of, which I like to think that we do. Plus, we're dirty. There's an emo band somewhere in the armpit of Jersey that calls themselves "Makeout Party" and wrote us a nasty MySpace message last year threatening legal action, riddled with factual errors about copyright law. We had a good laugh about that.

Adam Bernard: As a group that uses their collective sense of humor do you feel more artists need to start harnessing theirs?
Mish: Pop music is so serious nowadays, especially the music that's coming out of Brooklyn. Not to be misunderstood, as a lot of it is good, really good even, but we couldn't really write that sort of serious material if we tried, it just doesn't flow out of us as easily as something like "Sausage Fest" or "Get Classy." Another idea that was kind of obvious to me from the get go is the fun in Hip-Hop. That works on two levels. There's the old-school vibe where groups like the Beasties, or the Fat Boys, or Biz Markie really were just having fun with it. People like to say that Hip-Hop came from a fun place with the block parties and all that. I don't know, I wasn't there and can't speak to that, but what can definitely be said is that there were some fun records made for a time that had "critical" worth all at the same time. And then records starting getting darker and more "real" in the late 80's and the greater half of the nineties. Which was all good, too, it just brought a different kind of energy. Towards the late nineties, though, pretty much up until now there's been this crazy shift in Hip-Hop. At first "gangsta" became almost a cliché, where it stopped meaning much because not many very honest records were coming out and it just kinda went south from there (pun intended). The south was always keeping things fun, and then the Lil Jon-post-gangsta meets crunk sound really put the whole thing into focus. To me those Lil Jon records are really hilarious. I can't imagine them not having a grand ol' time making those jams, but at the same time there's this really intense angry delivery. It's almost like they're making a parody record of themselves and they know it and love it. Probably more so than the old school records, those couple years of crunk are really what made me realize that humor is still a part of this genre, albeit somewhat more disguised than it was in the past.
No!z: What Mish said. People seem to be stoked about our band just by the description. As soon as you utter the words "bubble gum Hip-Hop with four white kids from NYU" they immediately start to laugh for some reason...why is that? The ridiculousness is something that lots of people seem to be able to relate to. And like Mish said, there's no chance of seriousness with us. We can try, but the idea usually pretty quickly evolves from "deep thoughts" to "big jugs." We are lucky in the sense that we all have a different sense of humor but are able to meet in the middle somewhere when writing lyrics.

Adam Bernard: Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, you are smack dab in the middle of quite the hipster scene. In what ways do you feel you fit into that scene and in what ways do you feel you're completely different from it?
Mish: There's definitely a scene in Williamsburg, LES (Lower East Side), and thereabouts. For one reason or another I don't feel like we're really a part of it. Maybe we're just not hip enough. Ha! It seems that we have a sound that really works with the "scene." On the other hand there’s an expectation of serious art in Williamsburg that maybe alienates us a little bit.
Fatty: What's a hipster?
No!z: Hipster (heep-stare) n. 1. A small fanny pack worn on the side of one's ass. 2. Martha Washington (see "a hip hip lady").
Tigerbeat: I think we're doing the nerd thing more than the hipster thing. That whole scene is kind of crazy, but they've been good to us. I don't think many people would come to our shows if it weren't for hipsters. They like a good dance move and we deliver.

Adam Bernard: Finally, where do you want your music to take you in life?
Mish: the moon.
Fatty: Your mom's bedroom.
No!z: Fatty's mom's bedroom. And also to a place that allows me to make a living playing / performing / writing music. That'd be sick.

For more of The Makeout Party check out myspace.com/themakeoutparty & themakeoutparty.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:41 AM  
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