Meet Bokonon, an LA 4-piece who’ve been exploring the more experimental side of dream pop since their formation about a year ago. The band’s first official release, Prism Cinema, drops this Friday but we’re stoked to premiere it for you here ahead of time. A series of slowly unfolding soundscapes that are as expansive in scope as the record’s title, Prism Cinema is a heady swirl of musical ideas that rewards the patient listener with subtly shifting layers of melody, groove and mood.
We’ll be partying with Bokonon and friends for Prism Cinema’s album release show this Friday at the Hi-Hat in Highland Park (also with Deep Fields, Furcast, and Psychic Jiu-Jitsu, details here). But first, get to know a bit about the band and stream Prism Cinema in its entirety below.
Introduce the band! Who plays what?
Bokonon is…Tianna Nicole smanging (smashing & banging) on the drums, Monique Luna brings the trill on the synths, Ray Montes fires up the loud on bass and Elvis Galvez plays guitar from outer space.
Vocal duties are split amongst Ray and Elvis but everyone sings in at least one song. There’s a track or two in which we switch up some instruments.
At least 2 of you played together in a band before but how long have you been together as Bokonon?
Yeah, Elvis and Tianna played in a band called Aftergloam for about 5 years and when that ended Tianna played synth in a project led by Ray called Makeshifter. Since we’re all long time friends we collectively decided to join creative forces at the end of 2014 and played our first show in Tijuana in January of 2015.
Where did you get the name Bokonon?
Bokonon is based on a fictitious religion in Kurt Vonnegut’s book, ‘Cat’s Cradle’. The ideology is built entirely upon lies, in which the religion admits are untruths. Those who knowingly follow these lies are claimed to find happiness and peace of mind as they escape the miseries of their reality.
What was your musical vision for Prism Cinema? Were you trying to achieve anything specifically or was it more just a process of discovery?
It was more of a process of discovery. Initially we just wanted to get in a room together, and share ideas. Each of us contributed a unique interpretation to each other’s work, which resulted in a colorful spectrum of sounds. Eventually those sounds evolved into the songs you’ll hear on the album.
The record is self-produced. How did that work out? Had you ever produced any stuff before or was this a new experience?
Ray has produced previous projects of his own, and other local LA artists, but this was definitely the most challenging. We probably would’ve released the album a lot sooner, if our hard drive hadn’t taken a shit and died on us! We were forced to start at square one again, bounced between recording spaces, but had more freedom and time to experiment. We had to get creative–build bootleg vocal booths, deal with barking dogs, stuff like that.
Favorite tracks on the record? It’s okay if it changes from day to day.
Elvis: “Stay Awake With Me” and..uhh..”Behemoth”, I think.
Monique: “2070″, and “Orbits”.
Local LA bands you really dig right now?
FURCAST, Vinyl Williams, Mind Monogram, Deep Fields, Liphemra, Sunshine Mind… there’s so many talented people in our community, it’s hard to just name a few.
Bands/records you dig in general?
Anything by CAN, but Tago Mago is a unanimous favorite. We’re currently digging, AIR, Broadcast, Sparklehorse, Autolux, Animal Collective, Portishead, The Knife, Sonic Youth, Kendrick Lamar, King Crimson, Aphex Twin, Serge Gainsbourg, Deerhunter, anything afrobeat and fusion like Ethiopiques, or “Go Back” by Tony Allen which is a song we stumbled upon together one night. Basically, anything that gives your mind and body the feels.
Favorite kind of pie?
PIZZA PIE, duh!!
Without further ado, here’s our exclusive stream of Prism Cinema.