Equally comfortable creating new wave-inspired indie rock as well as dark electronic soundscapes, Los Angeles based musician K.C. Maloney has been releasing an eclectic mix of music under the name Adult Karate since 2016. While originally focusing on sprawling and dark, dance-oriented material inspired by acts like Nicolas Jaar and John Talabot as well as visionary filmmakers like David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick, Maloney’s sound progressed over the years to include such varied influences as dream pop, indie rock, new wave, psychedelic rock and ambient.
Born and raised just outside of Los Angeles in Pasadena, California, Maloney immersed himself in music at a very early age. Thanks in part to his older siblings, by the age of 10 he was an expert on the catalogs of bands like Depeche Mode, INXS, and U2 as well classic older material like David Bowie, Kraftwerk and The Beatles. Throughout his teenage years he would discover diverse genres of music like punk rock, krautrock, and techno. By 13 he had his first garage band, started with a neighbor. Over the next decade he worked as a rave DJ, played in the free-form psychedelic band The Half Mantis Group and, under his own name, recorded several EPs worth of indie folk rock inspired by the likes of Elliott Smith, Nick Drake and Beck.
After a period several years battling with drug addiction and issues related to his sexuality, Maloney returned to music in 2011 after getting sober with the help of the Musicares program. By 2012 he had started an indie electronic duo called Kyivan Rus, self releasing an EP in 2013. After a collection of their demos came to the attention of legendary Los Angeles label Plug Research records, they were signed and, after changing their name to Radar Cult, released two EPs over the next couple years. Radar Cult disbanded in 2015 and Maloney started working on music by himself. The result of being “fed up” with the serious sounding band names chosen by his peers, he chose the name Adult Karate while watching patrons enter a karate studio in a Burbank, CA strip mall.
Adult Karate’s first release, LXII, was released by Plug Research in the summer of 2016. Mostly an excursion into dark electronic music and slowed-down deep house, it was the more pop-focused first single “So Low” that brought Maloney his first wider audience. A duet with Toronto-based artist and frequent collaborator Adaline, “So Low” premiered in a feature by The FADER and was described as equal parts “acid-house” and “summer jingle”. In the years since it’s release, songs from LXII have been featured on TV shows like Macgyver, You’re The Worst, What/If, and a handful of online advertisements.
His next release, the EP Indoors, was released in spring 2017. Dealing with more personal lyrical themes like sexuality and breakups, songs like “From The Dust” and “Friction” found Maloney exploring a more indie pop and disco flavored sound, while still maintaining the 4-on-the-floor, house-inspired beats of LXII. Later in 2017, as Adult Karate, he collaborated with underground hip hop producer Amp Live on two different projects. The first was the R&B-tinged Adult Karate single “Traces” and the second was as the featured vocalist on the song “Help” by Amp Live and hip hop icon Del The Funky Homosapien, which was eventually released in 2018.
By summer 2018 Maloney had released the 11-track Adult Karate album Del Mar, which featured collaborations with Adaline, Christian Gibson and techno legend John Tejada. A concept album about addiction, regret and rebirth, Del Mar was received very positively by fans and critics alike. The album found Maloney exploring the diverse worlds of dream pop, drum and bass, underground techno, new wave and ambient. After playing several shows in support of Del Mar, Maloney spent the majority of 2019 writing for the next Adult Karate LP as well as writing and recording with the Los Angeles based post-rock outfit Arms of Tripoli. In September 2019 the collaboration with John Tejada, “Your Ghost”, from Del Mar was remixed by LA techno duo Speaking In Tongues. The remix was very well received, gaining support from radio stations like KCRW and from world renowned DJs like Dubfire, Guy J, Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren, Jody Wisternoff and Jason Bentley.
Over a year and a half in the making, his next album, My Friends Are Internet And I Want To Break You Open, finds Maloney taking his prowess for genre-crossover to the next level. Led by an extremely catchy guitar riff, the lead single “Euphoria” has more in common with The Pixies or MGMT than the dark electronic music of LXII. Songs like “Ships” and “Christoper Street” explore a more cinematic approach to the pop flavors found on previous Adult Karate releases, while “Keep Your Love” reimagines dark acid house and disco into something a bit more organic with the inclusion of live drums. The album is certainly a step forward for Maloney and gives a vivid glimpse of where he’s headed in the years to come.
Maloney currently resides in North Hollywood, CA with his husband and two cats.
Release date : May 3rd, 2019.
> Pre-order on bandcamp
The Practice of Human Flight
The idea for the title comes from a series of dreams I had when I was a child. I spent a good amount of time staying at my grandmother’s apartment on Orange Grove behind that decrepitly charming Oki Dog stand on Fairfax. My life at home was often filled with family tensions and staying at my grandmother’s place felt like an opportunity to escape to somewhere comforting. I can recall having a series of dreams over a two week period while staying at her place, where I taught myself to fly. At first I was in a training mode of sorts and could barely hover for a few moments. As the dream would recur I began to develop my aerieal skills and before I knew it I felt like a superhero that could soar over the seemingly infinite city light of Los Angeles.
Ben Davila and I both grew up in Southern California and even lived in Santa Barbara during the same time. However, our first encounter wasn’t until many years later when we both were living in the northwest of England while attending the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts ( Paul McCartney’s former high school.) I was studying Sound Technology and Ben was studying music.We became fast friends and around the spring of 2001 I asked if I could produce some of his demos for class projects. Years later we both happened to become music educators after moving back to the states.
Ben put out a wonderfully charming record in 2013 called Ben Davila and the Spectacles. I hit him up and asked if I could remix a song from the album called Stars. I remember starting the remix and then abandoning it after hitting a wall and not knowing where to take it . For one reason or another I returned to it some years later while digging through half finished projects on my hard drive. I had recently borrowed an omnichord from my friend Esthero and bought a cheap boss digital delay pedal from my friend Bizzart. The combo of the two bits of gear is so fun and playful and really helps bring some life and movement into the song. I remember playing an early version for Esthero . She said something like this is beautiful and I think it might sound great if I added some subtle background vocals. She recorded and promptly sent over the back up vocals and it really made the chorus pop out . My friend and frequent collaborator Zach Bilson came through and added some tasteful electric guitar riffs and the whole thing sort of took on a new life. The result is the first single from my new E.P. on Plug Research called The Practice of Human Flight.
I met K.C. ( Adult Karate) in Los Feliz on a Tuesday night in Los Feliz about two years ago. A group of friends met to have coffee on Vermont. We began to chat about music over slices of cherry pie and luke warm diner coffee. After discovering a shared appreciation of Ableton Live, unpopular European composers and David Lynch we decided to follow each other on Spotify. I had just released an Album called Cloud Forms and K.C. had put out LXII . We both happened to listen to each other’s work on our rides back home. I was in the process of putting together songs for my new ep. I asked if he would consider collaborating on something. I sent him a link to four or five instrumentals that same night and within two days he sent me back the vocals for what would become Broken Pieces. It was one of the most natural and almost effortless collaborations I have been a part of.I had recently bought a new laptop and I can recall starting the instrumental with my computer in bed and using a bunch of Arturia soft synths that were unfamiliar to me at the time. It was a really fun one to create and reminded me of the sort of naive exploration of sound that got me hooked on creating stuff in the first place.Im so glad this song is on the record and I look forwards to creating more music with KC in the future. I was able to contribute to his last record with a piece of music I wrote and the result became Palisade from his Del Mar album on Plug research records.
I met Coley up in Seattle a couple of years back . The first thing I noticed about her was this really rad western shirt she was wearing ( she quite possibly completed the look with a bolo tie.) I was wearing a Black Sabbath t shirt and we complimented each others shirts. At the time I was working for a company that brought music production education into high schools and after school programs and I was in Seattle to help set up the public library in Bellevue with little production stations with Ableton Push controllers, a laptop and interface. Coley works at that library and we just sort of hit it off. In addition to setting up the workstations I was speaking on a panel and sort of demoing the gear as part of the idea x makerspace festival. I remember seeing Coley perform with her band and then offering up homemade baked goods to the crowd. This was the icing on the cake ( pun sort of intended , after the fact) . After getting back to LA I shot her message on IG with some links to my work and asked if she would be involved in the EP. She agreed and sent over the vocals and guitar parts to what has become Orange Strange. The song is a bit more driving and perhaps slightly more aggressive than the other songs on the record.It was one of the first things of mine that my friend and collaborator Erinn Bone played trumpet on as well. I think it gives it a touch of flavour like a drop of tapatio and a squirt of lime on a ceviche tostada.
I first became aware of the Munich based singer named Enik from his appearances on Funkstorung’s Disconnected album. The album had a major impact on me and I was completely intrigued with how dynamic, emotive and unusual Enik sounded. We began chatting online about art and music . He recommended that I read Demian from Herman Hesse and I thought he would dig on The Book of Disquiet from Pessoa.
Our song didn’t actually come together as easily as some of the others on this album. Enik was busy working on various projects including an opera and his next solo album and I was teaching at a music production college in Burbank. After sitting in on a series of songwriting classes from my dear friend and co worker at the time ,Slow Shiver, I began to explore writing more traditional almost ballad type instrumentals as an exercise in composition. One of these pieces of music became the springboard for my song with Enik. I kind of always wanted to sound like a band but I grew up with a sampler making hip hop beats and trip hop songs. Composing in this new way ,in front of a keyboard with chord progressions and deliberate melodies, was really satisfying to me . Enik’s lyrics and delivery are so sad and emotive and offer such a unique voice to balance the tone of the music. My friends Zach and Erinn came through with acoustic guitar and trumpet embellishments respectively and really helped bring this song to life. Wasteland ends with the Enik letting the phrase “Not a waste, Not a waste, all good Im ok” slip out. It felt like the perfect way to close out.
More about CHRISTIAN GIBSON
The Practice of Human Flight is Christian Gibson’s first record on Plug Research, but certainly not his first album release. He had already been in love with making music by the time he moved from Southern California to Portugal as a sophomore in high school, but it was there that he began to truly expand his tastes and broaden his musical palette. This collaborative album explores themes such as dreaming, the idea of the afterlife and the ambiguous fleeting nature of feeling anything at all.
Living and studying in Portugal, Christian linked up with an international crew of artists such as Nastio Mosquito, Existereo and She’s Not Real. It was there that Christian began to refine his skills as a producer and performing artist.
After graduating from high school near Lisbon, Christian embarked on a four-year journey to England where he studied Sound Technology earning a BA Honors at Paul McCartney’s former alma mater, now the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. In addition to putting in hundreds of hours in the studio, it was during this time that he began perform, both as a solo act and as one half of the Whyknows.
In 2010, Christian – along with William Hasselberger – released Islands & Kingdoms under the moniker Ex Patriots. The album was released digitally through Dead Guy records, an imprint of Alpha Pup. This collection incorporated dream-like soundscapes, a raw blend of recorded instruments and sampled material and featured guest vocals from K-the-I???, Candys 22 and Mestizo.
Know Ghost, a folktronica duo from Los Angeles, was Christian’s next project. A self-titled EP was released in 2012 and featured haunting guitar ballads and sparse electronic flourishes to support the mesmerizing vocals of bandleader Jillian Leigh. Her untimely passing left a lasting impact on Christian as well as on all that knew and loved her voice, uncanny sense of humor and larger than life spirit. A re imagined and reinterpreted version of these songs will be coming out in the fall of 2019.
In 2013 Christian began working with a colorful Los Angeles psychedelic rock band named Nacosta. A year later they released their debut LP, Under the Half Moon. Christian handled synths and percussion on the record as well as taking on mixing and mastering duties.
Subsequently, Nastio Mosquito, a well-respected performance artist, singer and poet, recruited Christian and his old band mate William from the Ex Patriots, to arrange and produce his solo debut album entitled Se Eu Fosse Angolano. This project was particularly interesting not only because of the wide range of African instrumentation that seamlessly blended with the Ex Patriots signature sonic stamp, but also because of the nature of the recording itself. Nastio emailed his notes, along with vocal and musical takes from Luanda, to Christian and William who worked hard writing and reinterpreting these ideas in their Hollywood recording studio. The entire album was made through this international exchange.
In 2017 Christian put out an ambient collection of instrumentals called Cloud Forms. This marked a significant stylistic advancement in his compositions and played more with tone , texture and harmony than many of his previous works.
Most recently he has contributed production to the song Palisade from Adult Karate’s Del Mar album. He also released a single with Slow Shiver called Tethered. Christian wrote the music for and co produced Esthero’s latest single Baby Steps which was released in February of 2019.
Make sure you experience Christian’s current record,The Practice of Human Flight. It features an eclectic variety of guest vocals from Ben Davila, Adult Karate, Coley Mixan and Enik.
It will certainly be the first of many innovative Christian Gibson releases to come.
This album is about transformation. It’s about what you’re constantly becoming, thru experiences, trauma, contemplation, experimentations. All these emotions that cross you, how they shape you, how they influence what you transmit, i wanted to express how beautiful and rich they are, because they always get you somewhere that counts. Enjoy.
Brown and Green :
This track started with an improvisation on my piano, this gimmick came under my fingers, i recorded it and all the rest followed very fluently and naturally. Naturally because this « ritournelle » brought to my mind this image of when you look at the top of the trees moving and follow the moves induced by the wind. I wanted to transmit that freshness and that kind of static wandering with « Brown and Green ».
This one is a « made in one day » composition. I like to do that sometimes, give me a time deadline to finish a composition and be happy with it. I did it just after i burried my cat (QB was her name) , who had been my sweetest companion after 8 years. It was a sad day but i wanted to bring light to it and sort of accompany her with those elevating harmonies.
From, To :
« From, to » is the track which initiated that album. At first it was a « new gear experience » track, just got my new drum machine (a wonderful Vermona Drm 1 mk II, lover her !) and some eurorack synth made by a dear friend of mine (check GuinGuin Instrument, love him too !) and i began letting myself go with those new toys and it shaped the sound i wanted to have on this record. It quickly became a joyful ode to transformation, without boundaries.
An obvious tribute to Erik Satie. Why ? He was an amazing musical alchemist, he was free, he’s part of my dna.
Family Tree (Feat FAAWS):
In the period in which i did this record i lived in a big farm by the countryside, it gave me a lot of bucolic inspiration, and it was thanks to some good friends who happen to make music too, FAAWS.
As many of my tracks, i was first improvising on the piano, with realtime treatments fx and stuff, my roommates loved this track, we finished it together, very spontaneously, the voice of Aurelie just landed perfectly on the instrumental. It’s all about preservation and respect.
Moved By :
A synth improv that became the representation of what happens when i’m moved by someone. I know i’m very emotional J.
I needed some emptiness and space. I sat down in my studio and did this kind of melancolic discussion between kind people.
Instant Relief (feat Holy) :
This one gave me some hard time and Olivier who sings on it helped me figue rit out so much ! He’s the singer of a cool band i know « Budapest », cool bunch of peeps ^^.
It’s a strange experience, a song caught between past and present, all about perception, transformation again, a sci fi short cut full of neon and cliff hangers.
Still and Allright :
Title says it all. Static travels, joy of stillness.
Never Really Gone :
This one is all about a trauma that haunt’s you, turning and turning, you try to free yourself from it, you manage to, because now it’s a part of you.