Almost everyone has someone in their lives who take social issues very seriously. In my world, that’s my best bud. She’s in law school now and when she isn’t posting cats on Tumblr, she’s making sure her followers are up to date on the latest in Native American news. I only mention this because if you’re friends with the duo that make up Malportado Kids, then they’re likely those people in your life.
Bred from a need for a union, Rhode Island’s Malportado Kids isn’t afraid took their need to make change and love of music and created their sound that will make you move, but that also has the mentality of punk when it first started, one that’s full of rebellion and heart. If you’re one of those people always down for the cause, then you’ll want to continue reading and getting acquainted with Malportado Kids.
Kendra: What came first with you, the music or the activism?
Malportado Kids: We first met each other through organizing. We were working at the Renaissance Providence Hotel in downtown Providence and had both become involved in trying to form a union there. The workers at the hotel are continuing that fight to this day and continue to call for a boycott of the hotel. Our music projects grew out of that fight and other fights and we see them as inextricably connected.
Kendra: When you were recording Total Cultura, what was the drive behind what you were creating?
Malportado Kids: I think there is an internal necessity for us to create this work. I don’t know if I’d be alive otherwise. There’s the personal part then that’s the catharsis for yourself to let our these ideas and anger and fear and everything and that’s maybe the more immediate seed behind creation. On top of that of course we want to spread our message as far as we can. We want to create the most perfect propaganda tool we can to fight white supremacy, classism, queerphobia, and all other institutionalized forms of oppression.
Kendra: So, what would a cosmic witch look like exactly? Maybe you can draw us a picture if you’re feeling brave!
Malportado Kids: A lot of people we know deeply identify with, or as witches. It’s about tapping into a kind of place and power that capitalism can’t touch, and using that power to survive and fight in our deeply fucked up world. And sometimes it’s so fucked up that you need to leave the planet itself to keep finding that power.
Kendra: Were there any other covers you were thinking of doing for Total Cultura?
Malportado Kids: We also do a cover of Selena’s “Como La Flor.” Selena is hugely important to this band. Please see the issue of The Media that Victoria edited for a whole lot on why.
Kendra: What movement from the past do you think could’ve used some danceable propaganda?
Malportado Kids: Every movement has their own songs and culture around it. Some are well known–such as many of the songs to come out of the Civil Rights movement–and some are carried down orally through the people themselves. But they’re always there–music has always been an essential part of protest. MIA said in a recent interview, “Leaving politics out of music is a new concept. It’s not an old concept. Slaves sang when they fucking crossed the river. It’s a new thing for us to remove that in order to make monetization easy.” We’re not doing anything new.
Kendra: From the past to now, what issue do you think is the biggest one we’re facing?
Malportado Kids: I don’t think you can answer this question. All systems of oppression are interconnected and must be dismantled. No one is free until we’re all free.
Kendra: Do you guys have any shows planned now that the new album is out?
Malportado Kids: Yes, we’ll have a tour going out to the Midwest and back in June! We’ll be announcing the dates soon.
Kendra: If you had to make a mixtape to take to a rally, what five songs would have to be on it?