Indian School is a band, one with an interesting story behind them in their non-linear journey to where they are today. Being formed in July 2011 and having released their first EP in 2012, they are a relatively new band on the scene. However, their members were active in the LA indie punk scene from as early as 2005.
Known formerly as Audio Karate, members Arturo Barrios, Justo Gonzalez, Gabriel Camacho, and Jason Camacho earned significant renown and critical acclaim in the scene, particularly for their 2004 album, Lady Melody. The band has also toured heavily following the release of Lady Melody as well as their previous (debut) album, Space Camp. They have performed international gigs with popular bands such as The Ataris and Blink-182. However, the band suddenly and inexplicably broke up in 2005.
In true punk style, it took two major road accidents within a span of 8 months, which resulted in severe spine injuries, for frontman Arturo Barrios to quit his job, leave his “shitty” girlfriend, and pick up his guitar again. In an interview with Alternative Addiction, Barrios himself admits that “up to that point, I’d pretty much given up on music”. Afterwards, he got back together with Audio Karate members, Justo Gonzalez and Gabriel Camacho, and added some new flavour with Anthony Leach and Eric Wood. Thus, Indian School was formed.
While the band considered keeping the old AK name, they felt that with the new direction in their sound and their new members, a new name was needed as well. The then-growing fan base and critical acclaim of Audio Karate is a hard act to follow though, especially after several years of inactivity. Already, there are mixed reviews for Indian School’s debut EP, The Cruelest Kind. For example, while Innocent Words is all praises for the EP, calling it “wildly addictive”, Punk News feels that the album will leave much to be desired by fans of AK’s Lady Melody. The latter review, however, remains guardedly optimistic that the quality hooks and driving pace of AK will shine through for a great future Indian School release. In any case, Indian School is seen to be “probably a pretty good live show.”
The sound of the band has also gone in quite a different direction in the many years since Lady Melody, and may just need a little more time to be fully evolved into one uniquely Indian School. The most obvious change is the addition of Eric Wood’s piano parts, a move Barrios credits to playing My Morning Jacket’s live DVD “Okonokos” repeatedly while bedridden. The band is not “all work and no play” either. Barrios cited this as the main reason for their 2005 split. This means that while they are readier than ever to hit the road on tours, fans will also be treated to the occasional hijinks, such as a cover of George Michael’s Careless Whisper on their Sound Cloud.
As for their new name, the band seems to remain vague as to its meaning at the moment.