We’ve got another new feature for you, this time it’s a fun interview concept we’re called Mixtape Questionnaire. The idea is that we sit down with local artists and behind-the-scenes figures and ask them 10 questions that are meant to be answered with songs that are then compiled into a playlist for you to listen along to. Up first is Kaleb Asplund, who formed Karaoke Underground with his wife Hannah Ford 10 years ago, and in that time they’ve taken KU everywhere from FFF Nites to Matador Records’ 21st Birthday in Las Vegas. The next KU show is tomorrow at Spider House Ballroom as part of the venue’s First Annual Casserole Cookoff.
Morgan Davis for Ovrld: What was the first song performed at Karaoke Underground?
Kaleb Asplund of Karaoke Underground: Our first “show” was a New Year’s Eve house party where we made candy sushi, and I think I sang “Louie Louie” by Black Flag first.
Ovrld: What is the biggest KU crowd pleaser?
Kaleb: Definitely “Deceptacon” by Le Tigre.
Ovrld: What do you think is the most difficult song in the KU catalog?
Kaleb: Modest Mouse’s “Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine” is extra tricky because of the awesome video KU co-founder, and my wife, Hannah Ford made, where the lyrics are written on a bunch of stuff at a friend’s old apartment. Aesop Rock’s “Coffee” is another triple black diamond.
Ovrld: What’s a song you hardly ever hear anyone perform, but wish more people did?
Kaleb: All the Poster Children and Minutemen songs! Honestly, it’s hard to pick between a couple hundred great songs that rarely come up, but one of my absolute favorites is “Pat’s Trick” by Helium. It’s sexy, it’s oddly menacing, it’s perfect. I’d add a ton more Mary Timony songs if people would sing them.
Ovrld: I know you’ve had some experiences with established musicians wandering into KU, but if, say, Robert Plant walked in one night, what song do you think he would perform?
Kaleb: Hopefully some Guided By Voices! And we could have Robert Pollard follow him in with a Led Zeppelin song in hand so we could finally prove who the best male rock singer of all time is. Might need a time machine too, though. “I Am A Tree” would be ideal, but since that’s actually a Doug Gillard song, let’s make it Plant doing “Tractor Rape Chain” and Pollard with “Immigrant Song.”
Ovrld: I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has taken dates to Karaoke Underground. What do you think the best “date” song in the KU book is?
Kaleb: Postal Service’s “Nothing Better” is a great one for people who are already comfortable together, but for an early date something sweeter like “Our Way To Fall” by Yo La Tengo could work, or go the opposite direction and sing “Astro Zombies” by the Misfits.
Ovrld: What is the most “Austin” song in the catalog?
Kaleb: “Fun Fun Fun” by the Big Boys! It ends with the band and crew singing “The Eyes Of Texas” and of course it’s the namesake for the best festival in town.
Ovrld: Since your next show is on July 4th, what would you say is the most topical song in the KU library?
Kaleb: Devo’s “Freedom Of Choice” is good and we have nice video for the theme. The Avengers’ “The American In Me” is great too.
Ovrld: As a parent, what KU song would be the best choice to entertain your kids?
Kaleb: Our own children are not very into loud music, but the video for Clinic’s nonsensical “The Second Line” has some amusing footage of our friend Chad Hopper (Night Viking, Palfloat universe) wearing a gorilla mask at Spider House ten years ago.
Ovrld: What’s your personal favorite song to perform?
Kaleb: Impossible to choose from so many, but I closed our show at Legendary White Swan with McLusky’s “To Hell With Good Intentions” and it turned into a great gang-vocal piece, so that.
Here’s Kaleb’s Mixtape Questionnaire Playlist:
Don’t hesitate to check out the first annual Fourth of July Casserole Cook Off at Spider House for 4th of July, otherwise you can catch Karaoke Underground at Nomad every first Saturday of the month at 10 pm, and at various events around town.