Kassa Overall shares “The Lava Is Calm”

Kassa Overall shares new single "The Lava Is Calm"
Kassa Overall by Patrick O'Brien Smith.

Drummer, producer and rapper Kassa Overall has shared his new single “The Lava Is Calm,” which comes from his forthcoming album ANIMALS, out May 26th.

The single is a bossa nova-infused track that features Grammy-nominated trumpeter Theo Croker and Brazilian-inspired guitar from Jherek Bischoff (David Byrne, Regina Spektor). The track also features Bischoff’s cinematic string arrangements, performed by a Macedonian orchestra, as well as the haunting twang of his Umman-Manda, an instrument Bischoff built with parts from a hardware store.

Speaking of the song, Kassa says, “I was thinking about lava because it hardens up, but that’s one of the craziest liquids that could touch you. It looks mellow but it will kill you. I thought it was such a good metaphor for explaining just how I was feeling about my emotions, even about my skill, my artistry.”

Since announcing details of his forthcoming new album, ANIMALS, Kassa has debuted songs from the project in a performance on NPR’s prestigious Tiny Desk series. “The Lava Is Calm” follows previously released singles “Ready To Ball” and “Make My Way Back Home” featuring Nick Hakim.

ANIMALS is due out May 26 on Warp Records and features an array of guests from Kassa’s community including Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces, Francis and the Lights, Lil B, Wiki, Danny Brown, Laura Mvula, Vijay Iyer, and Tomoki Sanders. The album was largely incubated in his hometown Seattle, where Kassa took respite to build out his solo work after many years of living and working within New York City’s jazz and music circuit as a drummer and producer.

ANIMALS pushes Kassa’s message further too, the title a loaded metaphor for the paradoxes of his life as an entertainer and as a black man in America. Kassa explains:

“We call ourselves humans, right? But we kind of do animalistic shit towards each other. We justify immorality by almost stripping people of their humanity. He’s an animal, so we can treat him as such. All these different kinds of little questions in these songs point to questions about humanity: am I free? Or am I a circus animal? These questions intersect with the way I think about race.”

Starting this June, Kassa will embark on a U.S. headline tour, with newly added stops in Oakland and Montreal, as well as international headline and festival dates in London, Berlin and Oslo. He is also on tour in May supporting Digable Planets.

ANIMALS tracklist:
01. Anxious Anthony (feat. Anthony Ware)
02. Ready To Ball
03. Clock Ticking (feat. Danny Brown & Wiki)
04. Still Ain’t Find Me (feat. Tomoki Sanders, Bendji Allonce, Mike King & Ian Finkelstein)
05. Make My Way Back Home (feat. Nick Hakim & Theo Croker)
06. The Lava Is Calm (feat. Theo Croker)
07. No It Ain’t (feat. Andrae Murchison)
08. So Happy (feat. Laura Mvula & Francis and the Lights)
09. It’s Animals
10. Maybe We Can Stay (feat. J. Hoard)
11. The Score Was Made (feat. Vijay Iyer)
12. Going Up (feat. Lil B, Shabazz Palaces & Francis and the Lights)

Kassa Overall — Ready To Ball Tour

May 4 – House of Blues – New Orleans, LA*
May 7 – The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC*
May 8 – Gallery 992 – Atlanta, GA
May 9 – Brooklyn Bowl – Nashville, TN*
May 10 – Minglewood Hall – Memphis, TN*
May 11 – Delmar Hall – St. Louis, MO*
May 13 – KEXP Music Heals Stage – Seattle, WA
June 6 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
June 7 – Marble Bar – Detroit, MI
June 8 – TD Music Hall at Allied Music Centre – Toronto, ON
June 10 – Love, Velma at The Mod House – Ellenville, NY
June 12 – The Falcon – Marlboro, NY
June 13 – The Lounge at World Cafe Live – Philadelphia, PA
June 14 – Creative Alliance – Baltimore, MD
June 15 – Baby’s All Right – Brooklyn, NY
June 16 – Home Rule Music Fest at Songbyrd – Washington D.C.
June 17 – Madison Jazz Festival – Madison, WI
June 23 – Zebulon – Los Angeles, CA
July 6 – Montreal Jazz Festival – Montreal, QC
July 8 – Arts Center at Duck Creek – East Hampton, NY
July 28 – Calgary Folk Festival – Calgary, AB
August 9 – Ronnie Scott’s – London, UK
August 11 – We Out Here Festival – Dorset, UK
August 12 – A l’Arme Festival – Berlin, DE
August 17 – Cologne Jazzweek – Cologne, DE
August 24 – Casbah – San Diego, CA
August 25 – The New Parish – Oakland, CA
August 26 – Mississippi Studios – Portland OR
August 27 – THING Festival – Port Townsend, WA
Sept 14-15 – by:Larm – Oslo, Norway
Sept 16 – Jassmine – Warsaw, PL
Nov 1 – Alte Feuerwache – Mannheim, DE
Nov 2 – E-werk – Erlangen, DE
Nov 9 – UT Connewitz – Leipzig, DE
*Supporting Digable Planets


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