Track By Track: Prince Rama – Xtreme Now
Are you starved of fun? Do you craze a sugar rush? Is the world a monochrome drudge? We think we have the solution! Ladies and Gentleman; Prince Rama. Sporting the kind of eye terrorising leggings and fantagulous hair that we haven't seen since the campest days of electroclash, Prince Rama have embarked on that worthiest of missions – they're going to make the world a better place with music. Xtreme Now is an album of disco chuggers, chirping synths, Bananarama harmonies and weirdo pop of the finest order. Prince Rama have taken it upon themselves to lead us through the album track by track, explaining just what Xtreme Sport each cut represents. Press play, burn your Berghian black T, go outside and squint at the sun. It's not so bad.
Xtreme Sport: Kite Surfing
“Bahia” kick-starts the album with an ominously saccharine invitation to enter into a lost italo-disco Edenic paradise sung by a pseudo-duet between male and female robot-nymphs (both secretly sung by me). I wasn't really sure what Bahia meant… it was just one of those mysterious combinations of syllables that popped into my head one day. Later, Heba Kadry (who mastered our record) told me that "Bahia" was the name of her Albanian grandmother and it translates literally as "happy face". It strangely fits.
Your Life In The End
Xtreme Sport: Base Jumping
This song actually started out as a bondage-rap song for James Franco. Really dirty lyrics. So vile that our producers refused to work on it. I always really loved the chord progression though, so one night I re-worked it and suddenly it became "Your Life In The End".
For the chorus I always heard a kind of Primal Scream-esque gospel vibe, but unfortunately I'm too white to really nail it. One day I found this amazing woman singing into an old busted boombox in front of the gospel church down the street from our apartment in Bedstuy. We became fast friends. After some time I asked if she would want to sing on the track with me and she agreed and even brought some other folks over from the church, including her 5 yr old granddaughter. It was truly magical.
Now Is The Time of Emotion
Xtreme Sport: Skateboarding
“Now Is The Time of Emotion” has the feel of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” meets Devo under the bleachers in the high school gymnasium, with searing electric guitars that make it feel like the entire pep rally has caught fire, rapidly exploding into the ultimate teenage sexual catharsis while alien cheerleaders continue to chime the infectious chorus hook well into the afterlife. Sometimes you're just having one of those days when you can't figure out what song to listen to cuz you're just feeling all sorts of messed up emotions… you're too happy for Lana del Ray but too sad to listen to Chumbawumba. I realized there needs to be more songs that are less emotionally-specific. Sometimes you're just feelin hot, feelin cold, feelin young, and feelin old all at the same time and you know what THAT'S FINE.
Slip Into Nevermore
Xtreme Sport: Horse-back Boulder Climbing
“Slip Into Nevermore” was written on a remote island off the coast of Estonia as a last minute resort to try to prevent a friend from committing suicide. It worked!
Fake Til You Feel
Xtreme Sport: Jousting
I wanted “Fake Til You Feel” to feel like a Balkan motivational chant sung by the lost members of Jem and the Holograms set to erratic time structures and sung by a multitude of pre-Soviet choirs. 75 layers of vocal tracks later… I think we're getting warmer.
Believe In Something Fun
Xtreme Sport: Surfing
We wanted “Believe In Something Fun” to start out like a fucked up version of Weezer's "Sweater Song". It opens with a clandestine eavesdrop onto a conversation involving a man with a thick Adirondack north country accent who claims to be too tired to entertain his girlfriend's sexual advances, so he offers up his sleeping body instead. We kicked it in with a groove that lies somewhere between “Let's Dance” with 80s Korean children's choir music. The lyrics are half-tough, half-cracking with vulnerability, “I need a slow dance bad from an angel…” There is also a Limp Bizkit reference in there for all you nu metal fans. Fred Durst was a pretty huge inspiration for this song actually. I think he's a totally understated zen poet. No frills, no flowers, no bullshit. Just pure feels.
Xtreme Now Energy
Xtreme Sport: Free Skiing
“Xtreme Now Energy” is a pummeling electric guitar rock fist-pumper that sounds like part-xtreme sports video jingle, part-pagan spell… I wrote it as the pseudo-score to a commercial for a fantasy energy drink we concocted called “Xtreme Now Energy” involving medieval herbs from the Unicorn Tapestries.
Jason Robira from Nymph also guest cameos on drums.
Xtreme Sport: Fencing
“Fantasy” is a glimpse of what life would sound like if Moroder traveled back in time to the dark ages; ominous deep-disco synth arpeggios pulsate to cathedral bells as a voice that sounds like half Kate Bush-siren, half monster beckons the listener through a labyrinthine percussion-heavy landscape. The lyrics are my zombie-adaptions of late night William Blake poems, read by black-light.
Xtreme Sport: Snowboarding
I had this weird night in the woods near the Saratoga Battlefield where I got stuck in the middle of a blizzard and nearly caught hypothermia. The whole time I was convinced I was a peasant in Sochi, Russia in the early 1700s. With its baroque harpsichord arpeggios, “Sochi” has the feel of a spaceship landing on the future site of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, only in the wrong century.
Would You Die To Be Adored
Xtreme Sport: Motocross
“Would You Die To Be Adored” is a rhetorical ontological question, hauntingly sung against a foreboding landscape of New Order-esque guitars and pummeling drum machines, de-evolving into a terrifying crescendo of sonic cacophony as death's golden grip silently closes on the mortal coil.
Xtreme Sport: Dirt-biking
“Shitopia” was written totally by accident, while I was unsuccessfully trying to figure out a Red Hot Chili Pepper's song on acoustic guitar. Something about the no-nonsense-no-fucks-given attitude of RHCP rubbed off on the lyrics; I wanted the song to have the intimacy of sitting on an old friend's cigarette-burned couch and listening to them confessing life's last secrets before passing on into the next world. Sung to no one in particular, “Can you break this clock…?”