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.
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.”