Birkenhead, UK-based producer and lofi hip-hop newcomer MUNKEY JUNKEY (aka Kurran Karbal) is excited to announce that his debut album Bitter Chitta will be released on 18th June 2021.
To mark the news, the album’s lead single ‘Kill My Ego’ is out now, accompanied by a trippy stop motion music video animated by Cut42 and directed by Karbal’s live keys player Corben Lamb.
A bold and powerful statement of intent, ‘Kill My Ego’ is an intensely personal track that centres around the suicide of Karbal’s cousin Yogin, and the ensuing family trip to India for the funeral.
“He’s the reason I got into music, and his death and funeral were defining moments in my life,” says Karbal of his cousin’s influence on his life. “The Hindu Funeral in Haridwar, India was super intense. Two weeks of wailers and yogis. On the last day, in the center of the village, at the final cremation ceremony, I had an out of body experience. I was looking at my Dad from across the fire pit, he was sobbing so much and looked exhausted from two weeks of non-stop crying.”
“Once I was back in my body I felt so strongly that ego was the cause of all of this suffering. All of us, we’re in a way, inviting all this grief. We’re so wrapped up in our identities, our places in society, our expectations of the future and regrets of the past. All of these things are forms of exclusivity. Killing your ego is about tuning out all that noise!”
Eagle-eyed obsessives may recognise Karbal as front man of alt-folk/indie band Kurran and The Wolfnotes, who signed to Chess Club Records for a string of singles back in 2010. Influenced by Frank Ocean, Daft Punk, Tame Impala, Grandaddy and Bright Eyes, his high-production-value, experimental approach to lo-fi hip hop is both a stark departure from, and indebted to, his former sound.
Born in New York, and of Indian and British descent, Karbal’s international sound takes inspiration from the geography of his life, including periods spent in the UK, Abu Dhabi, India, and Switzerland.
Taking the Munkey Junkey moniker from our animalistic impulses and primate origins that Karbal sees humanity as not being all that far past, he began to release music under the project back in 2019 with two singles—‘Look Out Below’ and ‘Cut Me Off’—and debut EP Going Pro At Letting Go, followed by 2020 standalone single ‘Reverse’ and three track sophomore EP Numbness, most recently co-writing and producing two songs for the hit Cartoon Network animation Adventure Time.
He picked up early support from BBC introducing, Hilly Dilly, FAME Magazine, Euphoria Zine, Bido Lito, Popped Music, Planet Slop and more, and also appeared at the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool for the 2020 Liverpool Digital Music Festival.
Featuring several tracks co-written with Simon Tong (Gorillaz, The Verve), his forthcoming debut album Bitter Chitta was recorded and self-produced at Karbal’s own studio in Birkenhead with his live band (Nathan Peers, Ben Truman and Corben Lamb) and Liverpool guitar-pop singer Zuzu, and mastered by Loic Gaillard at Liverpool’s legendary Motor Museum Studios.
“’Bitter Chitta’ is an oxymoron,” says Karbal of the album’s title. “’Chitta’ is a hindu term, basically referring to a higher dimension of yourself beyond identity and even beyond this universe. I’m basically saying ‘yeah, even that version of myself is bitter’,” he laughs.
Part of the exciting wave of forward-thinking artists beginning to coalesce in the former industrial port-town of Birkenhead, Munkey Junkey is the latest name to cause waves on the banks of the less-celebrated side of the River Mersey, alongside the likes of Tokky Horror, Zuzu, Eyesore And The Jinx and more.
Consolidated by the forward-thinking new Future Yard venue founded by music magazine Bido Lito, and with fresh blood injecting new life into its former glory, the “Birko” scene is beginning to thrive once more, giving Liverpool a run for its money as a Mecca for young creatives.
Debut album Bitter Chitta is released 18th June 2021