By Lauren Hillery
PHOTO COURTESY OF KUNG FU RECORDS
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Audio Karate not good looking, makes good music
Although "Audio Karate" was not their first choice for a name (it was "The Goonz"), these childhood friends have developed a sound to fit it.
With influences like The Smiths, The Descendants and Radiohead, Audio Karate has made their music and their name by creating powerfully pounding melodies with musical formats all their own.
As is common for indie bands, Karate chooses to distance itself from the traditional ruthless dishonestly of the music industry.
Drummer Jason Camacho commented that its members would rather focus on producing a superior product than selling merchandise.
They believe it is important to stay focused on creating unique, quality music. But they recognize how hard it is to not dwell on gaining the recognition of superficial record executives.
"It messes with you psychologically. You have no respect for these people, but work so hard for their attention. It'll keep you up at night," Camacho said.
Although the four members - Art Barrios (guitar and vocals), brothers Jason and Gabriel Camacho (drums) and Justo Gonzalez (bass and vocals) - have been friends since childhood, they didn't move out of their garage practice days until about four years ago.
And though they may have the talent and the enthusiasm, Camacho does recognize their one downfall.
"We're not incredibly good-looking. Not super Nick Carter good-looking," Camacho said.
He doesn't know if that's a good thing, or even a relevant factor for their audience.
Barrios may be the sole lyricist, but the collaborative effort on their second album, "Lady Melody," consistently delivers quality songs with little-to-no filler.
"When four people are making art together, friendships and experiences can be expressed through music that way," Camacho said. "Our songs came out undeniably good."
Although Audio Karate's success has exceeded their expectations, they never expected legions of fans overseas.
The foursome has been fortunate enough to travel abroad about twice a year to the U.K. and Japan.
Camacho credits Tokyo fans as being the best audience to play for.
"They know all the words and are the most energetic crowd. They don't stop. Maybe they're on speed or maybe it's the carbs from all the rice they eat," Camacho said.
And it is the audience that fuels the band's performance.
"You can't let the audience show you up," Camacho said.
According to Camacho, Tokyo audiences in particular move him to jump off amps and play behind his head. But despite crazy concert antics, this band is very dedicated and very focused on making rock-solid music.
After a chance signing break prompted by Barrios handing their demo to Chris Roe from the Ataris at their show, Audio Karate was given some time to mature before recording.
"A lot of bands thrust themselves too early into the business. I think we presented (the music) in a timely fashion," Camacho said.
Audio Karate took the opportunity seriously.
"It wasn't like, cool, we got to make an album and hang out and smoke weed," Camacho said.
So keep the white rice flowing in order to show up those crazy Tokyo fans when Audio Karate comes to Skrappy's on Sept. 2. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.