Friday 10 January 2014

Scene Report: Mama Coco's Funky Kitchen - New York

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Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen is across the street from the enormous Greenwood Cemetery, past a sign for valve work on McDonald Avenue in Windsor Terrace. It is one large, oddly-shaped space, very likely a converted auto garage or something. The studio functions as a “non-binding non-exclusive” digital record label. They are music collective trying to create a scene that focuses on artistic expression, “good vibes” and musicians helping musicians to make it in a business that is endlessly difficult. They don’t just record, they do promotional work, they help bands succeed and get booked and make money, they organize and promote the record releases of their studio. They put on band showcases featuring bands involved in recording there.
Oliver Ignatius, founder of MCFK grew up abroad but attended high school in the States. Oliver was in a band in high school, Hysterics, that got some very good buzz but was ruined with mismanagement and bad studios and he “watched their music raped and it was a total nightmare.” So he wandered the country taking a lot of acid for a few years, and when he was about twenty he decided he wanted to open a recording studio, and that what he was going to do with his life. And that what he did. It started out with Oliver doing bedroom recordings early in 2012 and has grown to a collective with over seventy bands.

They do any and all genres, as they believe segregation by genre is bad for the music scene. They are far more than a studio; they are self-contained movement with a philosophy and a purpose. That is what 2014 will be about, says Oliver. Figuring out what it is that MFCK is really about, what they really represent. There was thought about possibly going in the direction of pressing vinyl, but it would have dramatically limited output, and Oliver says, “That's not what we want to do, we want to spread our vines over everything.” Oliver says his favourite thing is: “working with a band over time, and subverting the form.” He talked about the fact that there was very much a “spiritual” component to what he was trying to do with MCFK and that “they were all fighting towards an unreachable end together.” The goal, he says, is to achieve “artistic, intellectual freedom, self-acceptance, and to be as stylistically diverse as possible - a musical family. To create a situation that promotes happiness and pleasure.” This is somewhat of a paraphrasing of course, but they are all words and phrases which were used in reality, and not my imagination.

A lot of MCFK bands have gotten good buzz recently. Goodman was just The Deli's artist of the month; actually they have had something like five bands win that title in the last year. Bands like Sons of an Illustrious Father, Ghostpal and The Great American Novel are all garnering attention. Gingerlys just got signed to Shelflife Records. As for what is happening right now, Oliver says: “Records we're releasing in January are the Sons of an Illustrious Father double A-side (already out), the Harmonica Lewinskies LP, the Tye Trybe EP (already out), the Odetta Hartman EP, the Sun Looks Down EP and the Out of System Transfer EP. And all of those bands are playing our next live blowout happening on Feb 8 at Muchmore's. This month in the studio, we're working on stuff with Swaai Boys (who are beginning work on their new EP), The Micks, Tigue, Bad Magazines, Haunted America and a bunch of other stuff. Early February we're releasing The Brooklyn What EP and the Goodman LP for sure, along with singles from Mothers and Hugh Trimble. There are also records in the process of being mixed by The Jean Jackets, Giant Octopus, Black Doctor Jr, Mothers, God Tiny, NoPop, The Freaky Baby Daddies, along with a bunch of others. And Ghostpal is making a record too.”

Mama Coco's Funky Kitchen's website

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