HOMETOWN: Whittier, Calif.
MEMBERS: Chad Elliott (vocals, keyboards), James Torres (guitar), Kimo Kauhola (bass, vocals)
ALBUM: The Golden Age of Knowhere, out now

California rock band Funeral Party was born from its members’ boredom and disillusionment with their hometown of Whittier, Calif., a sleepy suburb of Los Angeles. “It was the perfect name for a band like ours, because we come from this jail town: No one gets out until they’re dead,” says singer Chad Elliott. “We also liked the name because it sounded like a hardcore band, but it had the word ‘party’ in it, so it fit in on the East L.A. dance party fliers. Initially, that name tricked people into seeing us.”

Soon enough, trickery was no longer necessary to draw crowds to Funeral Party’s high-energy shows. The group caught a break when it was invited to record at the Mars Volta’s East L.A. studio. “It was an adventure recording those demos, because we didn’t have our own equipment,” recalls guitarist James Torres. “We had to sneak in during off-hours.”

Funeral Party earned high-profile gigs opening for acts like And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead and Julian Casablancas, eventually earning the attention of RCA Records. The group recorded its major-label debut, The Golden Age of Knowhere, with producer Lars Stalfors (Matt & Kim, the Mars Volta). The album’s themes were influenced by William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, which Elliott was reading when the group was writing songs. “I started thinking about the idea of a DIY civilization,”

he says, “like the world ends and the young people build everything back up from scratch.” And of course the album explores the balance between the relatively dull atmosphere of Whittier and the lively but morally questionable L.A., only 12 miles away. Says bass player Kimo Kauhola, “We definitely want the music to sound like an escape.”

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