Reptar Takes SXSW

Published On 03/10/2011 Published On 03/10/2011

Hitting this weekend's SXSW concert stage like baby Godzillas, Reptar's an energetic four-man band outta Athens; we talked to them about their upcoming debut album and topics like Muppet Babies, Sam's Club, and chocolate sauce.

OK, give us a history of Reptar the slightly unbathed, beer-drinking historian can appreciate. Ryan: We used to ride around in the car with fog machines and strobe lights [from performances] and throw a rave in the car on 285. I guess it was just stuff like that that got us moving into it.

What can people expect from your shows? William: A swirling nucleus of confetti-infused whipped cream bubble bath topped off with a neon space chasm megaphone. And all that's colored in black lights and phosphorus and bio-luminescent fluorescent spraypaint, and there might be some chocolate sauce sometimes, but we try to stay away from that. Bubble bath is kind of the foundation that everything's based off of.

Some elements of your music are sampled backwards; doesn't that make the ladies at Sam's Club totally upset? Graham: What we want is, if our album was played over the loudspeakers in Sam's Club, we would want the cellophane wrapping on those objects to melt away. All the containers to just suddenly disappear, and all of a sudden you're left with a Sam's Club filled with jelly beans and wine all over the floor, and shrimp everywhere.

Groupies: how many do you have, and are they available right now? Graham: We don't distinguish between the band and the groupies. We are groupies of the audience, and they're the band, and all we wanna do... well, maybe that's not the best analogy. But yeah, I guess it is. We are the groupies.

You guys use a lot of keyboards; do you ever get the urge to just set them to "Salsa" and pretend to play the keys? William: You are speaking to my mind and my heart. Actually, just yesterday we were playing in Orlando, having a really difficult situation with the monitors. So I thought, this would be a perfect time for Salsa mode. And I have two keyboards, so the bottom was doing Salsa mode, and the top was doing tortilla mode. I was doing it guacamole style, and Graham was putting the sour cream in there on the drums, and I was just gyrating.

You have a song called "Houseboat Babies", and it's great, but more importantly: who's your favorite Muppet Baby? Rowlf, right? Ryan: The Baby Snuffleupagus is the jam. He just kinda walks around, and doesn't really have to do much. He has a commanding presence, because he's a woolly mammoth walking down Sesame Street.

Transformers or Voltron? William: Voltron. I never even saw that Transformers movie except for the last battle scene, and it looked pretty epic, but ... I wasn't attracted to the coiffure in Shia Lebeouf's hair, and with those special effects I thought they really could've kept it down to earth. Voltron is always down to earth.

Phil Collins or Billy Joel? William: Phil Collins. He did the Tarzan soundtrack, which is my favorite of all time. Actually, Phil Collins is Ryan's favorite artist of all time. Ryan: That's a slight exaggeration, but first of all I think Genesis is awesome. I wouldn't wanna end up where Billy Joel is. Phil Collins, on the other hand, collects Alamo memorabilia. He actually gets invited to speak at the Alamo to collectors and fanatics, based on his authority of knowing the Alamo. The fact that he was able to accomplish so much in music, and still maintain this immense wealth in Alamo knowledge is brilliant.