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Released: March 25, 2003
Cooler Kids

“We come from the future of next school new wavin’.”
— from “All Around The World (Punk Debutante)”
“It feels like the perfect time for a record like this,” says the Cooler Kids’ Kaz Gamble (better known to club enthusiasts the world over as DJ Kazimir) of the group’s debut album, Punk Debutante. “People have been beaten down with so much negativity lately. Our goal is to provide an escape from all that. We don’t want to ignore the harsh realities of life; we just want to show that life is more than one tone or mood – it’s a full spectrum of colors.”

The Cooler Kids don some of the more vibrant hues of that spectrum on Punk Debutante (set for release March 18, 2003, on DreamWorks Records). The first radio track, “All Around The World (Punk Debutante),” for instance, rides a tidal wave of strobing synth riffs washing over an anthemic disco-funk groove – all of which supports a playful lead vocal courtesy of Sisely Treasure.
Sisely was the final piece of the Cooler Kids puzzle, a project that has seen Kaz stepping out of his usual musical context and collaborating with the famed Pop-Rox production team and Luscious Jackson’s Jill Cunniff. Together they’ve crafted an effusive, upbeat sound that combines the best, most shiny elements of the ‘70s and ‘80s with state-of-the-art studio technology.

“We wanted to see what would happen if you merged all these ideas,” attests Cunniff, whose role in the group can best be described as muse/sage/groove godmother. “It all came together when we found Sisely. She gelled perfectly with what we were doing and brought something unique and fun to the project.”

Kaz agrees: “Sisely is completely out of control, in the best possible way. She doesn’t just stand there and sing; she’s an amazing dancer and full-on performer. She’s definitely the secret weapon of the Cooler Kids.”

Asked how she became such, Sisely says simply: “I sent Kaz an e-mail. I was a fan of his work as a DJ and producer, and I thought it would be cool to tell him so. I also really wanted to make music, and I figured the Internet was a good way to meet likeminded people.”

So, with a little help from the America Online member directory, she found Kaz – but they almost didn’t meet. “She sent that note to an e-mail account I rarely use,” Kaz reveals, “so it sat there for a long, long time. But when I finally saw it, I thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool that she reached out to me like that,’ and I wrote back right away.”

Before they knew it, the two were swapping musical aspirations. Sisely shared her burning desire to sing and dance, and Kaz poured his heart out about how much he needed to find the right singer for his new project, someone who would truly bring the Cooler Kids to vivid life.

Kaz continues: “So Sisely flew out to New York from California, where she was living then, and just hung out for a bit. It was an instant connect, and now Brooklyn is like her second home.”

Their chemistry is palpable throughout Punk Debutante. With “All Around The World (Punk Debutante)” as its launching pad, the album cruises through rambunctious beat-fests like “Viva La Fever” and “The Last Summer,” then piston-pops into funk-fortified terrain with tracks like “Bali Hideaway,” “Sugartown” and “E Is For Everybody.” Every step of the way, the Cooler Kids bring the kind of hooks and catchy refrains that will keep pop audiences as blissful as the club kids.

“The beauty of this record is that it’s so layered,” Cunniff allows. “It’s easy to just put it on and hear the light, fun quality of the songs. But if you listen carefully, there are some incredible nuances. We used modern and vintage sounds, with ‘80s electro and funk heavy in the mix.”

In the end, though, Kaz and Sisely are just excited to lay down some good vibrations. Says Sisely: “It’s so great to be at the point where people are hearing our music, and they’re responding in a positive way. And this is only the beginning – I can’t wait to see what comes next.”

Related Links
» Cooler Kids
» DreamWorks Records
» Buy It

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The Shins with John Krasinski
Issue 23 - Holiday '06
The Shins Go Hollywood with John Krasinski

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