With the Thermals set to play back-to-back shows this weekend (including an all ages matinee on Saturday!), we got all excited in our listing and barely mentioned that Seattle hip-hop trio Champagne Champagne will also be rocking the mic at both shows. Luckily, our own Shane Danaher was able to track down Mark Gajadhar for a quick interview.
The demise of the Blood Brothers in 2007 left a sizable wake in the regional music scene and one of the most interesting ripples to emerge from its epicenter has been the smooth, experimental hip-hop of Mark Gajadhar's Champagne Champagne.
Combining the talents of Gajadhar and MCs Pearl Dragon and Thomas Gray, Champagne Champagne is a culmination of years worth of digital tinkering from the former Blood Brothers drummer.
“In the Blood Brothers I was kind of confined to playing drums,” says Gajadhar. “I'm sure I could have done other instrumentation in the band but I never really explored it. Everyone was extremely talented at what they did so we just kind of stuck to our instruments. So when the Blood Bros split I found I finally had time to explore my own music.”
After co-opting the lyrical talents of Pearl Dragon, Gajadhar's rap project grew legs with a rapidity fueled in part by the group's pedigree and in part by the novelty of its slinky electronic dance-starters.
“Pearl and Thomas have been playing music together for years and have gained a solid fan base,” says Gajadjar. “When we joined forces it was like we all had our own supporters that were curious to what we were going to do. I think the idea of two hip-hop guys teaming up with a drummer from a rock band sparked some curiosity.”
Thanks to such high profile outings as a performance at the Capitol Hill Block Party and a recently concluded residency (Phizz), Champagne Champagne has turned that curiosity into an eager following as it preps the release of its “basically finished” debut full-length and sets in motion some distant rumblings of a nationwide tour.
“I've been really enjoying spending time off the road,” says Gajadhar of the year since Blood Brothers' demise. “It's good to have a somewhat normal life for a year or two. But trust me, I have that itch.”
So far that itch has produced some impressive experimental hip-hop—and for someone so thoroughly entrenched in Northwest music, hitting the road seems more an inevitability than a point of debate, even if this time out he'll be creating dance parties instead of mosh pits.
Champagne Champagne plays with the Thermals, Panther and DJ Maggie Vail at the Doug Fir on Dec. 5 and the Thermals and DJ Maggie Vail on Dec. 6. The show on Friday, Dec. 5 costs $12, starts at 9 pm and is 21+. The show on Saturday, Dec. 6 is a 5 pm matinee, also costing $12, and is all ages.
The Blood BrotherSpace
Photo by Nathan Feder