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.
At its core Del Mar is an album about addiction, paranoia, regret, and generally just living an unfulfilled life. When I listen back to it, I guess I see it as an expression of gratitude: gratitude that my actual life didn’t end the way it does in this alternate timeline. To keep it interesting I moved around a bit, genre-wise, but I tried to make it as cohesive sounding as possible. I think I was able to maintain my “sound” throughout all the different musical avenues.
Artist: Adult Karate feat Amp Live
Release date: June 23, 2017