Prince Rama announced their breakup almost exactly two years ago. Now, Taraka who was 1/2 of the band has announced her debut solo album, Welcome to Paradise Lost, due Oct. 8 on her own new label, Rage Peace. Check out the first single and video “Psychocastle” here. The video was filmed inside an abandoned mental institution in upstate New York.
“Ever try to escape your bedroom, but feel like you’re still asleep? Ever try to wake up, but find yourself back in the dream? Ever try to take off your mask, but another one pops up beneath it? Ever try to consult your inner self, but inside your skin is merely a rotting corpse? Ever feel like every path you take is just another mobius strip leading you back to where you first began? Congratulations, welcome to the Psychocastle.” – Taraka
Since the breakup of the legendary underground cult duo Prince Rama, former frontwoman Taraka has thrown herself headlong into the dark existential world of her “inner teenager,” merging bastard elements of outsider-psych, post-edenic grunge, kaleidoscopic punk and post-adolescent angst to create her debut solo album.
A departure from Prince Rama’s sparkly dance-pop sound, WELCOME TO PARADISE LOST is a primal, electrifying, dirty and unapologetically life-affirming celebration of ennui and disillusion. Taraka’s disheveled anthems fuse a combination of lo-fi opulence with ecstatic punk ritual, like the vivid visions of the disturbed daughter of Kate Bush and Johnny Rotten who drank ayahuasca at the gates of Warped Tour ’02.
Welcome to Paradise Lost was conceived while Taraka (pronounced like maraca) was living in solitary confinement in a hot Texas gallery with a live serpent in an attempt to return to a pre-internet Eden. She was without a band, without a label, without a future, and had vowed never to make music again. Disenchanted with the world, she sat in her trashed simulated Garden of Eden smoking mapacho and listening to old school punk, grunge, and obscure psych records that excited her as a teenager in a small redneck town, learning to skateboard and discovering her first power chord.
One night she picked up an electric guitar and hit record. The songs started pouring out– pep rallies for total failure, hymns to binary code, love songs to walls– most recorded in one take, sometimes as she was channeling them in order to capture that primordial electricity of creation, a feeling of “making out under the bleachers with infinity.” Her pals Ryan Sciaino (Spank Rock, Prince Rama, Win Win) and Tim Koh (Gang Gang Dance, Conan Mockasin, Haunted Graffiti) later helped flesh them out, pimp them up, and eventually Welcome to Paradise Lost took form like the intricate layers of a fucked up Bosch painting, or collaged jingles for a lost 1970s cult children’s TV show that split off via the mandela effect.
Taraka realized perhaps paradise is nothing but another empty societal construction– a mirage-like prison of perfection– and the moment it is lost, we are left with the glow of some inner forgotten freedom. The kind of freedom once found in the piss puddles of a Beatles concert or the face of Buddha winking inside the mud of a fossilized Dr. Martens footprint in an abandoned mosh pit. There is a playfulness here, but a lurking poetry as well. Some of the first lines of the album begin with the fall of humankind: “I ate forbidden fruits and with their seeds I grew a silhouette…” and maybe this is where the magic of Welcome to Paradise Lost truly begins; not some shallow resurrection of past nostalgia, but a dangerous and sometimes absurd spiritual quest for freedom, rebellion, and that awkwardly honest place within us all that defies logic and authority so urgently needed right now.
Press photos and video by Matthew Hoffman
Welcome To Paradise Lost
Release Date: Oct. 8, 2021
01 Once Again
02 Welcome To Paradise Lost
03 Sad Blue Eyes
04 Ride Or Die
06 Total Failure
08 Lucifer Exit
09 So Happy For You
10 Practice Makes Perfect
11 Bad Bonezz
12 Thank You
13 Deep Hollow
14 Old Gloves