Hailing from Athens, Georgia, Reptar were one of the most talked about new bands at SXSW 2011.


Gods and goddesses let me introduce you to REPTAR who will no doubt be devouring your speakers very soon. Hailing from Athens, Georgia USA they were one of the most talked about new bands at SXSW 2011 and for once I’m joining the critic bandwagon as they are bloody brilliant. If you asked me to describe their sound I’d tell you to think along the lines of passion pits love child with Stevie Wonder mixed with some monumentally funky rhythms from Bootsy Collins then delivered from the womb of Animal Collective. From the horses mouth itself they describe their sound as Afro-beat / Breakcore / Disco House which must be the reason why their tunes are so infectiously catchy.

My previous reference to Animal Collective influencing their sound does infact have relevance, they’ve been working with AC’s producer Ben Allen recently and it was definitely a good move for the lads. Of course those wonderful journalists at NME have mentioned Reptar but haven’t started soiling themselves with excitement yet, it will no doubt happen very soon I can guarantee you all that.

I managed to have a nice chat with their bassist Ryan Engelberger A.K.A Gingerbear. Here’s what this Athenian god had to say:

Why the name Reptar & are you still coming to terms with Rugrats finishing ?

Rugrats was actually a huge part of our childhood.  It’s what brought the whole band together.  Graham and I met each other when we were really little and took part in a small local theater’s adaptation of Reptar on Ice (the rugrats episode where the kids go to see a production of Reptar on ice and end up all getting on to the rink).  As you one day may know, I am an incredibly clumsy human being and naturally in one of the key routines of the production, I ended up falling over and taking out graham as he was skating, causing a bunch of cuts and bruises.  We started talking as our moms were bandaging our wounds and eventually became friends.  We went to the same elementary school and then went separate ways and both started playing a lot of music.

Later, I saw william ride into the school both of us went to for high school on a Walmart kids bike that had all the Rugrats characters on it.  I thought it was hilarious to see such a tall kid riding on a kids bike, and was instantly drawn to the Rugrats bike.  We started talking and eventually realized we both played music and liked roughly the same types of music and beats.  I told him about my friend graham, and the three of us started playing in a band together throughout high school with another friend of ours.  Eventually, we went off to college where andrew saw william riding the same bike, which william had named Reptar.  That got them talking too and eventually the four of us were in a band together playing music that attempts to capture the drama and mystique of Disney on Ice productions as well as the danceability of the opening theme of rugrats.  Since Reptar was a common thread in our experiences, we decided it was the best name.

Thanks to Netflix, great shows like Rugrats and Arrested Development never end, they are just stuck in an infinite loop.

How would you best describe your music to the UK music snobs ?

Alright UK cool kids–Imagine you are in your favorite spot, maybe leaning against a wall, perhaps smoking.  You’re surrounded by a bunch of friends who are doing the same thing.  You’re all silently pondering one thing or another, when suddenly you hear a noise in the distance that starts to nag at your boredom.  An ice cream truck rounds the corner and the music that it’s playing gets louder, until before you even know it, you and all your friends are running with all the kids, parents, workaholics and cool kids of all ages down the street after this ice cream truck.  The truck stops, and when you get up to the window to buy some cotton candy ice cream, you recognize the driver / ice cream salesman.

It’s Herbie Hancock.
Everybody gets their ice cream and starts to dance uncontrollably as Herbie climbs on top of the ice cream truck with his keytar, with special guests Fela Kuti, James Brown, Air and Daft Punk, and blows your mind

What was getting all that attention at SXSW this year like and have you seen an immediate effect from it ?

One of the greatest things about SXSW is that being surrounded by so many incredible bands playing so many shows really helps to show you the different strengths and weaknesses in your own show.  I know that one of the biggest results of SXSW this year was that we all gained a lot more focus coming out of it and have a much better idea of a lot of things that we can do to take our music and live show to another level.  It’s actually a really great position to know that you can make your live show better when you already put on an experience that gets a lot of people excited.

Also, we are really excited about all of the overseas opportunities that have opened up for us as a result of this year’s festival.  We definitely saw an increase in emails from UK agents and publicity, and since we’ve all had a dream of playing music in the UK and Europe pretty much forever.  That, and a little bit of attention from other bands, was the best part of the SXSW attention.

In terms of releases whats coming up for you guys .. EP, SINGLE, ALBUM ?

Our immediate release plans are : EP at the end of the month (April), Album by the end of the year / early next year, more albums,
Reptar special collector spaceship.

When can we see you in the UK ?

We don’t have any immediate plans, but we are trying to get over to the UK ASAP so hopefully by the end of the summer, or maybe in early Fall, we’ll be headed across the ocean to greener pastures and better beer.

Last but not least, how would you reply to Lionel Richie’s question ‘ Hello, is it me you’re looking for ?’

Come to space with me.  I want to see you in space pants.

So you’ve heard what Gingerbear had to say, now its time to see if the proof really is in the pudding. I will present you with songs from the band Reptar for your enjoyment groove children.


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