Interview: Kali Masi Discuss New LP, Honesty in Music, and Tour Stories

kali masi interview

Photo by Chris Bauer

Kali Masi are a Chicago punk rock band who are preparing to release their new LP, Wind Instrument, on October 6th via Take This To Heart (pre-order here). Kali Masi consists of John Garrison (drums), James Zarembski (bass and vocals), Sam Porter (guitar and vocals), and Wes Moore (guitar and vocals). Watch the band’s video for ‘Some Friends’ here and read our Kali Masi interview below:

Culture Creature: What was the inspiration for the title Wind Instrument?

Kali Masi: A lot of this record focused on change. Change on the inside, change around you, changing as a band. Reevaluating and measuring yourself against the version you had envisioned. There’s a Fugazi song called ‘Instrument’ that goes “we need an instrument to take a measurement.” We sort of adopted that in regards to measuring that change.

What is one element of a song that has to be absolutely perfect in order for you to be satisfied with it?

Something honest. I know that that’s a vague answer, but I love bands that have a roughness to them, the unpolished intentions are audible and raw. There are plenty of songs that are recorded like shit that are really moving and well-written and dozens more that are well-produced and sterile. Good songs are good songs. There’s not really a formula for writing one that connects with people.

You recorded Wind Instrument at Atlas Studios in Chicago. Why did you choose that studio, and what was the recording experience like?

A ton of our favorite bands have recorded their best records there and it’s right in our neighborhood. It’s surprisingly affordable and pretty bare-bones: just a live room, a mixing room and a chill zone. No bells and whistles, just a lot of history that we were hyped to hopefully throw our name into. It was our first time blocking out weeks of recording time and doing it everyday like that. It was a cool experience to just submerge yourself in the record and focus on the songs.

What is one Kali Masi tour story that you guys will never forget?

Swimming naked in the Redwood Forest, followed closely by sleeping at Super Happy Fun Land in Houston, Texas.

What album have you listened to more than any other?

Sam: Strike Anywhere, Change Is A Sound

Wes: AFI, Sing The Sorrow

John: Modest Mouse, Good News For People Who Love Bad News

Jimmy: Into It. Over It., Proper

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