The Happiest Band on Earth Might Be More like Death Grips Than We Thought!
Written by Darshak Chudasama on November 21, 2018
Death Grips Again? Yes.
At this point, I am sure that you may have come across posts that compare the two most conflicting bands there ever could be. The pop-infused trio Kero Kero Bonito has a way of writing awfully catchy songs that ironically remind me of Death Grips’ hyperaggressive hooks.
If you have never heard of either group, you’ll soon realize both groups are able to produce accessible music even at their points of extremity. The surprisingly never agitating optimism that lead singer Sarah (from KKB) chants isn’t just fun to sing along to in the shower, but also instills a sense of hope in their listeners. Their music is a great way to start off your day. Upbeat tracks like “Waking Up” from their album, Bonito Generation, tackles everyone’s worst struggle of the day. Now Death Grips, on the other hand, isn’t so cheerful. Listening to “No Love” is a quick self-explanatory way to learn about DG’s not so encouraging aesthetic.
So how could such opposites be so alike?
Well for one, both lead vocalists are able to approach each track with a fresh flow.
Versatility is the one word I’d use to describe Sarah and Stefan. Although it is easy to follow them, it is difficult to predict their direction. When we look at KKB’s “Lipslap” or DG’s “The Fever,” it’ll probably be easier to categorize Stefan’s flow in that description. However, don’t be so quick to discredit Sarah. With a few more track listens, you’ll soon realize she’s able to “spice things up” with her own approach. She does so without relying too much on the typical duple/triplet flow that we are all too used to. You can also thank producers Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled for this as they are able to create such lifelike musical canvasses for her to paint over.
Both bands are extremely motivational.
I know what you’re going to say. “Many bands are motivational, what makes them different?” Well, the difference is that their music isn’t just an outlet to preach their thoughts. As corny as it sounds, it’s the way of life for them. Stefan screams the importance of individualism on tracks like “Beware.” (one of my all-time favorite DG tracks)
I close my eyes and seize it
I clench my fist and beat it
I light my torch and burn it
I am the beast I worship
Without getting too engulfed in his lyricism, the message is simple. Look within for inspiration, not outward. Death Grips is all about doing whatever the hell you want and not following the footsteps of others. Their entire persona is based on this philosophy. That is what I mean by “way of life.”
KKB’s “Trampoline” highlights the importance of perseverance with light-hearted lyricism.
First you fall down, then you jump back up again
Find your rhythm, momentum is the key
Sarah mentions momentum, the idea that once you get started, there’s no stopping you! This is a reoccurring theme among most of their songs.
Another resemblance between the two is their use of obscure samples.
It comes as no surprise that co-producers Zach Hill and Andy Morin from DG like to dabble with weirdo sound effects. One that stood out was the tennis sisters Venus and Serena Williams’ grunts in the track “System Blower.” KKB does the same with the Mario Kart coin sample in “Graduation.” It can get tiring to hear bands loop mixes but it takes time to meticulously add samples.
Of course, there are plenty of differences between the two bands. Gus’ safe and tight style of drumming versus Zach’s free natured licks both create different atmospheres entirely. However, I genuinely do believe these are some reasons for the large amount of crossover listeners. Both bands do a great job of overcoming what seems to be a great obstacle for most artists, redundancy. The innocence in Sarah’s voice perfectly balances out Stefan’s inner beast. Sounds a lot like his relationship with another certain angel huh?