Local Current Blog

Behind the Scenes: King Pari’s kooky cartoon world

If King Pari aren’t on your summer playlist, it’s time you add a couple of their tracks. The collaborative project of Cameron Kinghorn (Nooky Jones) and Joe Paris Christensen (PHO) is the sonic embodiment of drinking a cold beverage while floating around on a neon pool noodle. It’s a funky project that embraces fun and allows the pair to create freely.

“The vibe is definitely both us wanting to have a project that we’re able to be us in a fully authentic way,” Kinghorn said. “I haven’t had the opportunity in music before this to not be so serious. There’s a juxtaposition here between being lighthearted and kinda goofy and talking about some really real stuff.”

“A lot of it was created very naturally,” Paris Christensen added. “Sometimes with a band decisions become a more roundtable discussion, but with just the two of us we were able to very authentically dive into this.”

King Pari released their first single, the aptly titled “Sunshine,” during the summer of 2020. Now with a couple more tracks out into he world, the duo are poised to release their debut EP, Mary, at the end of the summer. Accompanying the EP is a set of vibrant animated music videos for each of the songs created in collaboration with animator Jake Huffcutt.

“We saw Jake’s artwork and gave him a lot of creative control,” Paris Christensen said. “We knew we wanted a colorful, kinda Adult-Swim-y, stoner cartoon kinda vibe and Jake really ran with it.”

“They had initially just hit me up to to the ‘Sunshine‘ video,” Huffcutt said. “I created something that was in my style at the time, this was almost two years ago now, and it kinda set the template for the rest of the work I’ve done with them.”

Huffcutt’s illustrations work alongside the group’s infectious jams to create an immediately recognizable sort world across King Pari’s work and social media platforms. Animated versions of Kinghorn and Paris Christensen hang out with a giant turtle on their website’s home page; listeners who find their way to the duo’s Bandcamp are greeted with colorful bubble text and a cheeky bio.

The latest music video from King Pari is “Come Inside,” a single that stands separate from the upcoming EP. Kinghorn wrote the song in April 2020 as a reaction to loved ones being forced to continue work in person as the pandemic began to keep many people in place.

“It’s about the inability for some people to consider others with humanity,” Kinghorn said. “This was written before the murder of George Floyd, and, yeah, that theme has been on my mind a lot over the course of the past year or so.”

“Come Inside” is a perfect testament to the strengths of King Pari as a musical act as well as the visual world they’ve created with Huffcutt. Weighty themes are made catchy with smooth vocals and a crunchy synth melody and a greedy boss overlooking matters of public health is translated into a hyper-saturated cartoon villain. The gravity of the subject matter isn’t lost in the presentation, it’s enhanced by it. When coupled with the early singles from the Mary EP and their pairing music videos, King Pari’s clear vision and constant embrace of fun make the project one to watch in the coming months.

“This band is really just about throwing out ideas and trying them,” Kinghorn said. “One of our first shoots was in the middle of winter and we were just like ‘Okay, let’s set up a kitty pool in my backyard,” and took the pictures out there in the snow. That’s been the whole vibe.”

King Pari will be expanding on the short list of live shows they’ve had the chance to play since launching the project shortly before lockdown with a release show for Mary at 7th St Entry on Sept. 23. In the meantime, keep an eye out for a steady stream of goofy, brightly-colored videos and songs that’ll get stuck in your head…in a good way.

“When I’m animating a project I end up listening to like the same few seconds of a song over and over again, it’s easy to end up sick of something by the end of the project,” Huffcutt said. “But all the King Pari stuff still slaps after working on the whole EP, that’s a pretty high compliment.”