Bands do what they need to do to get noticed these days. But a reputation precedes Brooklyn-based psych duo Prince Rama.
Sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson have been known to deliver trippy lectures from pools of blood and distribute group exorcisms as VHS workout tapes. There’s also the infamous Central Park raccoon attack of 2013 that prompted a brief media dust-up after Taraka’s epic recovery room photo went viral.
Their last record, “Top Ten Hits of the End of the World,” was an exploration of strange metaphysical spaces in which the duo channeled the identities of fictional pop artists who had perished in the apocalypse, with a far-out “Now Age” manifesto written by Takara. An earlier album featured a looped sample of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” that came across as a cultish hippie mantra (“take my hand” repeating ad nauseum).
It’s all delightfully absurd and surprisingly accessible with pop hooks, bouncing beats and a heaping pile of bizarre.
“We knew early on that we were a good team,” says Nimai Larson.
The girls were raised by artist parents in the small town of Wimberley, Texas — and later a Hare Krishna commune in Florida — and fully embraced creativity. It wasn’t until they saw a touring production of the Broadway musical “Cats” that they were inspired to perform together at a sixth-grade talent show. “We had a choreographed dance and jumped off the stage! We threw confetti! We won,” she says. Little has changed for the curious duo best experienced live.
In 2010 they caught the eye of Animal Collective’s Avey Tare in a Texas dive bar and were signed to the now defunct Paw Tracks. Inspired by extreme sports videos, they spent last year recording their seventh album and are shopping for a label that’s willing to take a chance on them.
“We have a whole concept that we want to put out, not just music,” Larson says. “I’d love to do a show under water, in outer space, or on a roller coaster. As a rule of thumb for life,” she adds, “if you are comfortable then it’s time to move on and challenge yourself.”
Lately, the band’s been obsessed with “Behind the Music” reruns featuring bands “living super on the edge” like Guns n’ Roses, Ozzy Osbourne and Motley Crue, she says: “Flipping drum sets, pyro, all for the audience. We find that extremely inspiring.”
A Prince Rama show is a similar spectacle on a smaller scale that’s totally interactive, complete with matching Monster energy drink stage outfits. It drives the point home nightly that they don’t take themselves too seriously.
“There’s so much separation that happens at shows: partitions, bouncers, photographers. There’s a six-foot gap that makes things impersonal and the idea of exclusivity,” Larson says. “I hate when I go into a museum and I look at a beautiful piece of art only to find it titled something like Untitled 13. That’s such a big fuck you to everyone who wants to further appreciate where that artist was at while painting it.”
As for Prince Rama, she says, “There’s nothing separating us from the audience in our minds and our hearts.” S
Prince Rama plays Gallery5 with Dan Deacon, Ben O’brien and Nu Depth on April 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $14 in advance. gallery5arts.org.