Ithaca's underground electronic and hip hop producers descend on Casita Polaris for a one-night extravaganza of sonic and literary exploration to undiscovered worlds
I recently caught up with Monki, the notorious noise artist, in anticipation of his upcoming performance at Big Day In, which takes place this Saturday at the Haunt. Upon sitting down with Monki, I became aware that he is actually incapable of communication. Thankfully fellow No Aliens member, Mad Brain, was present and willing to discuss: Monki, No Aliens, & their unique backstory.
Evan: Hey Mad Brain, could you explain how Monki came to be?
Mad Brain: Monki was actually once a wild monkey, abducted by scientist in order to test a new Gerber Baby Bath & Skin product. Unfortunately, due to lack of care his face was badly disfigured. Later, an uprising took place in the animal containment, which led to a fight between animals and humans. During this fight a device in the lab was activated, which coded Monki’s brain with a human scientist. After this, the animals escaped leaving Monki free to roam, fated to never find his past.
Evan: Why does Monki feel the need to create music?
Mad Brain: In his case, the music is a search to call on something that can’t be particularly seen. It’s primal, every noise and sound you hear in his music expresses his story. Even though his [Monki] level of intelligence is considered genius, he is still unable to communicate.
Evan: No Aliens, what exactly is it and can you tell me about the other group members?
Mad Brain: No Aliens is a three person collective comprised of Computer, Monki, and myself [Mad Brain]. Monki created Computer, similarly cursed with a high level of self-awareness, he is better able to cope due to his ability to communicate. Computer is also responsible for all production for No Aliens, his music specializes in trance & ambient loops. His inspiration includes Brian Eno, Miles Davis, and Soulja Boy.
Evan: I [Mad Brain] am the voice behind No Aliens; I’m responsible for the lyrics and expressions where Monki fails. Typically, when you hear rapping in our [No Aliens] music, that’s me. I was once a scientist, whose mind was fused with Monki, leading to a constant struggle for control of this body.
Evan: Has Ithaca Underground helped you find a sense of community?
Monki: For the time being, I suppose so, but the point of No Aliens is to never have one home.
Ithaca Underground is proud to present our 12th annual Big Day In. Featured artists on the Main Stage include: B. Dolan, Guerilla Toss, Japanese Breakfast, LVL UP, Eskimeaux, Sharpless, Izzy True, Sammus, Alter, Mr. McBean, Imperials, First Pet, Spazzare, & the Horses. Featured artists on the Deck Stage include: Benjaminto, Shull (formerly _____), Tender Cruncher, otodojo, KNEW, MONKI, Flocarious, Motorcyclez, Eternal Savages, & LC Jones. The show takes place this Saturday, from 12pm to 11:59pm, at the Haunt.
We kick off our November Music Series with an ultra-rare U.S. performance of Powerdove in trio form (Annie Lewandowski, Thomas Bonvalet, Chad Popple), plus the record release show of Ithaca/Philly quartet Obody. Red Sled Choir opens.
Chris Corsano is a drummer who has been at the vanguards of free improvisation, avant-rock, and noise musics since the late 1990's, having performed with the likes of Bjork, Merzbow, Jim O'Rourke, Sir Richard Bishop.
Eyukaliptus, affiliated with Smacked & 73 Records, is a great example of the all ages, DIY, music scene in Ithaca. At 19 years old he has gained a following as a producer, singer, and songwriter. I caught up with Eyukaliptus recently in anticipation of his show Friday night with Onry Ozzborn at Sacred Root Kava Lounge and Tea Bar.
Evan: How did you come up with (the name) Eyukaliptus and what does that name mean to you?
Eyukaliptus: I was in the 9th grade at my high school and I caught this little 3rd grader trying to spell eucalyptus. He misspelled it and wrote Eyukaliptus. I just remember thinking that spelling looked so raw, I decided to make that my name. To me, it reminds me of MF Doom’s Special Herbs instrumental series. Eyukaliptus just sounds like a dope plant that sort of matches the type of music I make.
Evan: Your older brother Corey, in bands such as Mouth To Mouth To Mouth, has played shows with IU quite a few times in the past. What influences has he had on your career?
Eyukaliptus: Corey is the reason I make electronic music, he introduced me to the DAWS (Digital Audio Workstation), which I still use today. He has been my biggest inspiration. Corey was also responsible for showing me a majority of the music which has influenced me.
Evan: Do you believe Ithaca Underground, as an organization, has had any influence on your career?
Eyukaliptus: IU has had a huge influence on my career. I’ve been going to IU events, performing, and participating with them since I began making music.
Evan: I can’t stop listening to your single, “Juke”, could you explain what the term, Juke, means?
Eyukaliptus: Juking is a style of dancing, which originated in Chicago. If you listen (to the song) there are certain sections meant for Juking.
Evan: What influence do you think your time spent in Chicago had on your latest album, “ALWAYS // TAKE OFF”?
Eyukaliptus: I was always listening to the hip-hop scene in Chicago. That basically influenced what I would be recording at the studio I was working at. Most of the album was recorded in Chicago.
Evan: How did you link up with Smacked records?
Eyukaliptus: Kelsey (Mr. McBean) reached out to me over a track I posted on Facebook when I was in, like, the 9th grade. Since that moment I’ve been working with them, it’s really started to take off recently. I consider them (Smacked Records) my day ones in music.
Evan: Any upcoming projects we should be watching out for?
Eyukaliptus: New Old Glow Project coming soon! Lunagram just dropped his project, 2am @ dennys. Also be on the lookout for new Eyukaliptus and Mr. McBean collaborations, coming soon!
Ithaca Underground & Helen Stride present: Onry Ozzborn, Rob Sonic, Upgrade, Rafael Vigilantics, & Eyukaliptus. Show takes place Friday 10/21 at Sacred Root Kava Lounge and Tea Bar, doors open at 8pm.
Grindcore legends in Ithaca for the first (and possibly only) time ever. Do not miss this crucial, rare upstate appearance. Tickets on sale now.
Instrumental Chicago trio featuring members of Pelican, Locrian, & Bloodiest hit the road for the first time, plus new regional music from post-punks The Amber Drift and sludge-punks ERRS.