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Ask the members of Karma the Mirror what their band sounds like, and they're quick to tell you it's a reflection of everything happening around them. Steeped in the melting pot of the Fullerton music scene, the band's guitar-driven sensibility is coated with a dripping-wet amalgam of dream pop, dance punk and echo-drenched effects. We spoke with guitarist/vocalist Kevin Brady and guitarist Tyler Long as they were wrapping up their first year together by completing an as-of-yet-untitled debut album. Meanwhile, Karma continue to make a name for themselves in dens of debauchery where no bouncer is required—warehouse parties and backyard shows—with an occasional jam session in random spots such as a flatbed truck in front of a Mexican-food chain restaurant.
OC Weekly: We hear the band went on a rare excursion outside OC to play Las Vegas last weekend?
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Kevin Brady: Yeah, it was kind of random. We went there to play a grand opening for a Wahoo's Fish Taco. It was sort of like a family event. It was set up a little weird; we played on this big flatbed truck that was built [into] a stage.
Did it get crazy out there?
Brady: At one point during the weekend, all I remember is Tyler doing crazy doughnuts in his Chevy Tahoe in the middle of the desert with six people in the car and somebody in the trunk.
Tyler Long: It was the drummer's girlfriend, whom he decided to bring along. We pretty much just partied the entire weekend.
Brady: We were scrounging at, like, 4 or 5 in the morning on [Saturday] trying to find a hotel room. We ended up staying at Excalibur, which tells you how bad our situation was.
You guys have been in a couple of different bands in the Fullerton music scene. How does Karma the Mirror reflect that journey?
Brady: Tyler and I work pretty hard on the band. We were in this band called Glass Puppets for a while, and when that broke up, I knew I wanted to keep playing with Tyler. He was already playing in a previous version of Karma the Mirror before I even got there, and I saw them play at a house party and knew I had to play with them. It's changed a lot since we first started. We finally understand how to play with one another, but at the same time, we don't take ourselves too seriously. When we release our album, you'll be able to tell because all the song titles are bullshit names.
Because both of you come up with lyrics, describe the dynamic of having two writers in the band.
Brady: I love the way Tyler writes—way better than the way I write. He writes stuff that makes chicks swoon. [Laughs.] I don't even know where he gets it from; it seems like he's high all the time, but his lyrics are super-easy to relate to. When I write, I'll be going through something, and I'll put a bunch of words down that match the mood of the song, but I won't put the meaning together right away. We just put out a video for a song we did called "Lost In Time" and that I just now realized what that's about.
You tend to stray from the retro revival of a lot of local indie bands. What do you think makes you stand out?
Brady: It's funny because we actually have a lot of the same influences as a lot of the bands around us; we tend to take a little bit from each band we're friends with or we encounter at shows. We're not really trying to start a new genre. It's just an attempt to mix it up and have fun with it.
This column appeared in print as "Riff Rock Redux."