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Page last updated at 14:16 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 15:16 UK
Introducing... Funeral Party

By Greg Cochrane
Newsbeat music reporter

They want to be as big as The Beatles, play abandoned backyards and once soundtracked the scene of a crime. LA has a new punk disco gang in town.

Funeral Party
The Funeral Party [Limo, Chad and James pictured] are from Whittier, California

Never underestimate the inspiration of boredom - LA's Funeral Party know this more than most.

"Whittier is a place where nothing ever changes, it just stays the same," says guitarist and founding member James Lawrence Torres waking early from a transatlantic phone call.

"There's never anything going on here - the places that our parents used to go to are still here - rapidly looking decrepit."

Perched on the outskirts of America's most glamorous city this - uptown dreariness, white brick mansions and faceless drive-thrus - is the scene of Funeral Party's inception.

But they're the most exciting band to emerge from LA in aeons.

School friends

Classmates from high school, James Torres, Chad Elliot [vocals], George Verdugo [drummer], Kimo Kauhola [bass] and Tim Madrid [percussion], had to make their own fun on the soulless suburbs of the US's second biggest conurbation.

Not that the whole adventure began on a great note.

Funeral Party, the facts

WHAT: LA's DIY partying punk kids

FOR FANS OF: The Rapture, LCD Soundsystem, Franz Ferdinand, Yeah Yeah Yeahs


LIVE: UK dates yet to be confirmed

"We went to high school together and kind of really didn't like each other back then," explains James of singer Chad. "It's just like one of those love/hate relationships where you love to hate the guy."

Putting their differences to one side, Whittier's "weird" circumstance dictated that the band, once assembled with extra members Tim and Daniel, had to manufacture their own fun.

"Usually every Friday we'd have to go and make something happen," says James. "We'd call somebody and see if they had a backyard to go play a show - these parties would get out of control.

"The one which really stands out for me was when there was a stabbing at one of our shows. We were playing in a parking lot in east LA.

"During the middle of our show there's some like commotion going on at the back and I could see this person trying to climb this fence and all these people grabbing and pulling him down.

"We're like, 'What the hell is going on?' I told the guys, 'After this song we're just going to tear down our stuff and get out of here'."

Party culture

Indeed, in the very early days having their gigs shut down by police was "a given" most of the time.

"Almost every night there would be a fight because there would be a lot of metal heads, emo kids and scene kids all mixed up," recalls James with a smile in his voice. "I miss those days."

Like LA's burgeoning 'Smell Scene' happening across town, these gatherings quickly became legendary.

"There was this weird culture you know, all these kids always together every weekend, you wouldn't know them for the rest of the week but then on that weekend you'd be like best friends."

Classic influences

"Almost every night there would be a fight because there would be a lot of metal heads, emo kids and scene kids all mixed up - I miss those days."
James Torres, Funeral Party

It was through those wild times and cult followers which earned FP's slick disco-punk concoction of Blood Brothers, The Rapture and The Blood Arm fans in the form of …Trail Of Dead, Yelle and Bloc Party.

"Honestly I would say my influences are just like living my life," says James, name-checking The Velvet Underground, Rush and Vampire Weekend amongst his favourites. "I have some pretty messed up issues - but it inspires me to create different sounding music."

Having spent December 2008 in the studio with The Mars Volta's Lars Stalfors their debut album Golden Age Of Knowhere is now ready.

It is an LP they already have grand plans for.

"Just for everybody to know Funeral Party like they know the Rolling Stones or they know The Beatles," says James of their ambitions. "You know, how most people have a Stones record or a Beatles album? We want them to have a Funeral Party album as well."

If they don't get shut down first, don't bet against it.

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