Monster Paws
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Monster Paws

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States | SELF

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States | SELF
Band EDM Pop

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This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

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"Karaoke Catalyst"

Spawned from the culture of karaoke and endless late-night recording sessions, local duo Monster Paws seeks grander stage

By Kevin Hopper
Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of experiencing karaoke, the cultural phenomenon imported from Japan, knows that, essentially, there are two types of karaoke singers: those with talent and those with no talent. All too often, the talented fail to entertain their audience as they are more concerned about hitting all the right notes. The ones who can’t sing make for better karaoke, because they make a joke out of the whole thing in order to hide the fact that they can’t sing. Rarely, if ever, does a karaoke singer possess both talent and a stage presence that results in a true symbiosis.

Local karaoke pros Nate Santa Maria and Isaac Kappy are two such people.

Santa Maria is a well-known local musician (Oktober People, Excalico). Kappy is a versatile local actor (Beerfest, Breaking Bad). Both are classically trained musicians who could have chosen a career in the symphony were it not for their shared love of karaoke and ’80s pop, New Wave and hip hop. Until recently, Santa Maria and Kappy could be found at Downtown bar Atomic Cantina hosting and performing karaoke on a weekly basis under the billing Baby Ketten (sic) Karaoke. This quickly led to a close kinship between the two, and many subsequent post-karaoke parties at Kappy’s home recording studio. Or, as Santa Maria stated far more accurately in a recent Local iQ interview, “Late nights, coming home drunk from the bar.”

Those spontaneous and drunken late night sessions, coupled with the pair’s deft musical talents and penchant for cracking wise, eventually paid off in the form of a handful of mostly hip hop songs that admittedly, and to their own surprise, sounded really good. In fact, the songs were so good that the obvious next step for Kappy and Santa Maria was to form a bona fide band and release a record, which they did. They named the group Monster Paws.



“‘I woke up one day and it was in my head from a dream,” Santa Maria said of the imaginative name. “I just heard, like, a 4-year-old kid saying it, like ‘mauwnster pawthes.’”

Written and recorded over the span of six months, the full length debut by Monster Paws is a rather groundbreaking and unexpected album, at least within the framework of a local music scene that has always proudly waved an underground flag. In stark contrast, Monster Paws has committed the unthinkable act of embracing electronically-driven ’80s-era pop music in all its shimmering, melodic glory, while at the same time managing to keeps things modern.

“It’s the future of the ‘80s,” said Kappy when describing the Monster Paws sound. “It’s like if Duran Duran took a time machine to 2050 and took a bunch of those sounds and came back to today.”

Kappy added that, from the perspective of a karaoke singer, all the best pop music was made in the 1980s.

“The ‘80s is by far my favorite period of music,” he said, “because the songs are so big and epic, and there was singing, real singing.”

Armed with a promising hit single and accompanying video, “Champagne Bike Ride” — the only song on the record that survived those original late-night sessions — Kappy and Santa Maria say they fully intend to push the record to a wider audience with a supporting tour of the West Coast and possible dates in Australia and New Zealand. Kappy noted that the video has gone viral on a global scale, and has even been broadcast on MTV Brazil.

Given that the group’s genre of choice — electronic pop — is as prevalent as it has ever been, the success of a band like Monster Paws might not be as unlikely as one might initially think. All the ingredients are there: classical training, a bounty of talent, able showmanship, catchy pop melodies, witty, youth-oriented lyrics and a heck of a back story. After all, how many successful music acts are there claiming karaoke roots? - Local IQ


"Killer Pop Music"

Get out your laser lights and lamé couture: Spontaneous dance parties are about to break out all over town in response to Monster Paws’ eponymous debut album.


Monster Paws—Nate Santa Maria (The Oktober People, Excalico, Gingerbread Patriots) and Isaac Kappy (Prime Certified)—add surging bass and a few fistfuls of glitter to songs that are, at their heart, soulful indie jams. There is an assortment of moods on the album, but every track is intensely, relentlessly, dance-tastic.

“We want to express pure joy in sound form,” says Kappy. “It’s about getting over yourself and having a good time.”

Monster Paws’ formula to achieve dance party excellence operates on the premise of “What would Michael Jackson do?” But, Santa Maria says, the duo also asks, “What would Hank Williams Jr. do?” Another secret is robots. “Robots are Nate’s answer to every bad situation,” says Kappy.

Monster Paws is Kappy and Santa Maria’s first original collaboration, but together the they’ve hosted Baby Ketten Karaoke for years. “I guess I just wanted to write what I thought was good pop music,” says Santa Maria, conceding that pop music has a bad name.


“Champaign Bike Ride” by Monster Paws
Monster Paws harnesses the power of synth-sparkling groove, but the music isn’t superficial or predictable. The lyrics are filled with emotional pangs, and the arrangements on the album, which was mixed and mastered by Kappy, are complex. “Listen with headphones,” suggests Santa Maria. “There’s a lot of cool panning things that we’ve done. It’s spatially interesting.”

Monster Paws is also armed with two music videos. In August “Champagne Bike Ride” was released. It features rapping and skateboard tricks by Mario Rivera (Left Unsaid, Your Name in Lights), and portrays the band and an army of friends enjoying the activity described in the song’s title. That work won Best Music Video at the Albuquerque Film Festival. “Ray of Light” is scheduled for release in late November.

In the meantime, Saturday is the perfect occasion to show off your silver hot pants, pick up a copy of the album and find out why people are raving about (and to) Monster Paws.

“People have sent me videos of babies dancing to our music,” says Kappy.

“Yeah,” Santa Maria says. “If babies like our music, it’s gotta be all right.” - Weekly Alibi


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Currently at a loss for words...