King Black Acid is the sonically amorphous pseudonym of psychedelic songwriter Daniel John Riddle. Releasing records since the mid-‘90s, Riddle’s résumé is beyond impressive, and he’s set to release his first full-length album since working on the soundtrack for the 2002 major motion picture The Mothman Prophecies.
Keeping busy scoring more films and TV shows (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, CSI: Miami), running his own labels (Mazinga and Cavity Search Records), producing records for other acts, and playing “in bands with cats like John Taylor from Duran Duran and Martin Atkins from Killing Joke, PiL and Nine Inch Nails,” over the years Riddle has also “shared the stage and toured with acts like Nirvana, Elliott Smith, GWAR, Low, Neurosis and Faust,” he tells.
“KBA has been playing shows since 1993 and we are still pushing hard,” Riddle says. And you can mark the impending adventure of Super Beautiful Magic as another solid notch in the musical legacy of the act—one that’s decidedly more pop as it draws upon early ’70s R&B, ’80s synth rock, and modern dream-core to create a record full of uptempo, anthemic rockers. Due out June 9 via the aforementioned Cavity Search and Mazinga Records, Riddle produced, engineered and mixed it himself (at his own Mazinga Studios) before allowing Telegraph Mastering to finish the job.
“My group is run like a collective,” Riddle explains, “so members revolve in and out of the current lineup. Because each album is different, the band surname changes.” Past incarnations have been dubbed The Electric Chair Band, The Womb Star Orchestra, The Starseed Transmission, The 144,000 Piece Acid Army, and The Sacred Heart. But the latest is King Black Acid and The Crystal Unicorn, and you can hear their combined efforts on the new song “Big Gummo - It's Cool To Be In Love,” a quirky, catchy cut from Super Beautiful Magic.
“The foundation of this song was crafted by singing into a circuit-bent toy keyboard and then recording the crazy, random sequences on a very old vintage tape deck,” Riddle describes. “We then built off the idea by tuning instruments by ear to the pitch of random sounds generated by the circuit-bent unit. We then figured… we better put in slap bass, handclaps, spanky guitars and omnichord! You know, to sex it up!”
The result could’ve been cacophonous; but KBA instead fashioned a beautifully peculiar, danceable rock jam out of all those raw materials.
“The lyrics were inspired by a phone message my mother left me telling me I was like Big Gummo,” Riddle says. “I'm pretty sure she meant an older version of the blonde kid from the Harmony Korine movie (Gummo) who eats spaghetti and chocolate in the bath tub.”