It's almost impossible to keep up with Kitty and Sam Ray. The husband-and-wife duo have released a dizzying amount of music over the past two years—together and separately—shifting styles with frantic abandon. Read just about anything we've written about them over the past nine months, and you'll find paragraphs of extensively hyperlinked text, each leading to a different creative thread. Every one of those is worthy of attention, from Kitty's dream-like 2017 full-length Miami Garden Club to Ricky Eat Acid's placid, minute-and-a-half-long "My Angel Crying In The Rose Room," released just last month. American Pleasure Club's TOUR TAPE, which came out in May after Kitty had joined the band, was in itself completely restless, bouncing from black metal to ambient bliss to throwback, lo-fi screamo in the span of a few minutes.
It shouldn't have come as a shock, then, that the two announced a new collaborative project. The Pom-Poms, whose debut EP is due out this time next week, are a rave-pop band. Or, in Sam's words, "cheerleader music, basically a super party-club-pop-rave-FUN-focused amalgamation of all the 'purely fun' or 'wildly fun' kinds of club, party, rave, pop music we've both been into our whole lives." Their first single, "I Got That Boom," was a bouncy, drop-filled club track dominated by Kitty's exuberant, mostly chanted vocals. "Sam and I both use music to release our heaviest emotions, so we often end up making some real dark shit," Kitty told Noisey. "But The Pom-Poms is what happened when we decided to let go of heavy feelings and just turn the fuck up."
In that spirit they've provided is with "The Pom-Poms' Wubba-Lubba-Dubstep-Free Time Travel Mixtravaganza," one of the strangest, funniest, and most enjoyable mixes we've ever received. It features songs from the Vengaboys, Sweet Female Attitude, and Eiffel 65; it jumps from dance hits of the early-aughts into FM hits of today, then detours into spring break-worthy dubstep and EDM tracks. It's also partially a sitcom, replete with a laugh track, in which Kitty and Sam travel through time and space, reeling off half-serious Rick and Morty references, one-liners about Leonardo DiCaprio's engagement party, and a note on the shittiness of Woodstock. It makes sense in the same way that Adult Swim shows make sense when you're baked.
We asked Kitty and Sam a few questions about the mix. Kitty replied over email first, and Sam decided not to elaborate much further. The Pom-Poms isn't there to be over-analyzed. "By trying to explain the lack of whatever, it just just creates whatever," he wrote. "So I don't know! This mix is sick, our EP is sick."
So, read Kitty's answers below while you listen to 45 minutes of bizarre, unadulterated oddness from The Pom-Poms. It'll probably be the first time in a long time that you've heard to "Shawty Wanna Fuck" in its entirety.
Noisey: How are we meant to enjoy the mix? What's the perfect setting?
Kitty: For some reason, and this is a HORRIBLE answer so i wish it wasn't the truth, i think this is a sitting-in-traffic-on-your-way-home-from-work mix.
Is synesthesia a real thing and if so, what color is this mix?
I would NEVER say "synesthesia is probably real in some way but I strongly doubt it makes you see colors" because i'm very afraid of certain British pop stars. Instead, i will say that this mix is fluorescent yellow with swirls of a very nice cobalt blue.
Was there any specific concept to the mix?
Well, there's a pretty obvious "time-travel" theme and some milder "Sam hates Elon Musk" undertones, but the dialogue was the last thing we added. When i make mixes i like to think back to a very terrifying driving experience i had during a storm in some mountains, where I may have actually had a full-on breakdown if I hadn't been able to distract myself with one extremely solid Diplo & Friends mix. Ever since then, I build every mix I make around this question: What songs can I play right now that would ALSO have made me feel better on that dreadful drive?
Do you have a favorite moment on this mix?
I'm pretty sure the Leonardo DiCaprio line is my favorite, because Sam wrote it and added a laugh track for like 30 seconds that i ended up cutting down because i still don't even understand the joke. The best MUSIC-Y part is when i put the salmon dance vocals over a cute future bass song.
This is the only mix I've ever heard that brings in time-travel dialogue and a laugh track. What pushed you towards... a sci-fi sitcom mix? Did you know right away that you wanted to cut this up with a narrative that involves Leonardo DiCaprio's engagement party?
The real impetus behind the ridiculous dialogue is also our "mission statement" as The Pom-Poms: Music is fucking boring now, literally anybody can be a DJ (I dare anyone to argue this with me, I have pictures of my mother DJing a party in Brooklyn), and somebody needs to make things fun again. So we did what we always do, which is smoke a bunch of weed and speak in funny voices to each other.
Tell me about the decision to include "Shawty Wanna Fuck." It's pre-hellscape-internet music, which weirdly feels like more of a distant throwback than some of the early-00s hits here.
I play this song a lot no matter where I am and there is always at least one person trying to intellectually decipher that choice. Honestly, I just think it's a good song. I truly hope that whoever made that song gets a tattoo on his face and makes a few more before the end of this decade.
On that note, do those songs actually feel old to you? Are you listening to Eiffel 65 and Vengaboys regularly, or is there still a nostalgia to their music for you? Is there a connection between that and, say, Khalid?
The only song that feels legitimately old to me is "No Holding Back" by Cynthia. We listen to Eiffel 65, Vengaboys, DJ Assault, Young Joc... in fact, i listen almost exclusively to old music, because I get really bored trying to find new music that I like. Personally, I think the only thing that connects any song to another is the beat. At the risk of sounding like a corny dumbass, that's really all that connects me to anything anymore.
You've described The Pom-Poms as "cheerleader music." What does that mean? And is that what we're listening to here?
Cheerleaders have fascinated me since grade school, when I decided to be one until i realized how shitty it is to be outdoors in Florida. Cheerleaders and musicians are EXTREMELY similar in that both exist to make sweaty, sometimes miserable people enjoy themselves no matter how badly their night is going. Sometimes your team loses, but you watched some sparkly people shouting and smiling and they made it feel a little better. That is what we want to do, and I believe this mix can do it. So yes.
How did you end up working with this style for a collaborative EP? You've both dabbled in just about every style before—why big, fun dance/pop music?
There is no disillusionment or soul-searching happening with our new project, and that's important to us because those are the two main things that really make you want to just quit music and eternal-sunshine your whole music career. Basically, it's the only kind of music that has consistently made me happy, no matter what, for my entire life.
The Pom Poms' self-titled debut EP is out on September 28.
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