The many layers of King Cake
by Cynthia Via
Aug 04, 2011 | 17238 views | 0 0 comments | 805 805 recommendations | email to a friend | print
King Cake is founded on the principles of raw sarcasm, seductive vulgarity, and progressive music.

It’s not easy to pin point the band’s genre, but rock, jazz harmony and motown elements are certainly brewing within.

“We are trying to blend as many genders as possible,” said Christian Apuzzo, the vivacious singer and keyboardist for the band.

In their debut three-song EP, “Free Cake,” recorded in drummer, Alex Vallejo's basement, they show these elements with the backings of rowdy vocals, a smooth saxophone, a vibrant trombone and plenty of spontaneous guitar and drums.

The six-member band, which formed in the fall of 2010 in New York City, performed last Friday July 29, at their biggest show yet in Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory where the mood was a mix of jazz, soul and old- school hip-hop with bands like Freddy Fuego and Stereo Crowd.

King Cake’s blaring horns and melodies got listeners loose and into some hi-gyration action.

Though Max Sholl, the band’s trombone player explains, “some songs are a little more eclectic and it might be hard to find a beat.”

For example, the song “I sense people,” references “Star Trek: Next Generation,” letting listeners in to a range of sounds.

“But some have them moving, shaking their butts and stuffs,” he said.

“We bring every single thing to the table,” Apuzzo added.  “We don’t let any ideas slip through the cracks.”

Apuzzo was in several bands in SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music where he met jazz musicians Sholl and Nick Natalie, saxophone.

Back in New York City the friends united with similar aspirations and formed a “rag tag group of musicians,” including bassist Ian Olasov, guitarist Patrick Monte and mixing engineer, bassist and drummer Vallejo.

“I wanted a creative outlet,” said Sholl. “It was a no brainer for me.”

With no ideas for a band name, it dawned on them that they should use “King Cake,” the title of their first single.

It could not be more appropriate for the band's music as the king cake is a colorful Catholic pastry that is traditionally served at Mardi Gras.

Sholl, originally from Forest Hills, Queens started playing the trombone in elementary school and joined a ska band in high school. He received much of his jazz background from playing in quartets and big band ensembles.

Natalie, who played the saxophone since sixth grade, is used to classical jazz sounds but is gracefully adapting to the varied styles of King Cake.

“I’m not used to playing this kind of music so it’s really good for my ears,” he said.

King Cake practices in Bushwick, Brooklyn with other bands in what they describe as a

“sweaty” atmosphere of Flood Studios, located on Maujer Avenue. “Hot and heavy,” Olasov called it. But that may just be what they need to get their creative kicks.

“It’s a collective writing process,” Apuzzo said. “Our stuff is funny and weird.”

King Cake is working on getting their name out although they have a full-length album in the works.

“We’re mainly having a good time playing with each other,” Sholl said. “And having our friends come out to see us.”

The band has a show lined up for Saturday, September 24 at Trash Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

For more information on King Cake visit or
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