The brainchild of DJ Cosmo (Colleen Murphy) the Boston-born, New York raised, London dwelling disco / house music legend, and infamous leftfield guitarist Gary Lucas, who's played with Captain Beefheart, Lou Reed and Jeff Buckley, they make the kind of funky psychedelic rhythms that can only emanate from maverick minds. First single 'Musical Blaze Up' traverses the dub country route, while new cut 'Purple Somersault' is a bizarre and brilliant collision between cranked Kraut-rock drums, wigged surf guitar and scratchy funk. DJmag beckoned Murphy away from her surf board for a minute to talk names, grooves, and grand plans…
So why the name Wild Rumpus?!
"It's from a children's book called 'Where the Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak which I loved as a kid and which I read to my daughter. There is a great part of the story where the little boy and his monster friends are about to have a manic dance party underneath a full moon and it says, 'And now let the wild rumpus start'. It just had to be used."
It seems to be quite an unusual hook up, between you Cosmo, and Gary Lucas. How did you come to be working together?
"Gary and I have been friends for nearly 20 years and have talked about working together for ages. I used to do a few different radio shows on WNYU in NYC and had him up when he was relaunching his solo career in the late '80s. As most people in the UK know me for being a 'dance' DJ, many may think it is quite an unusual collaboration. However, most people don't know that I was first and foremost a rock chick and founded the first psychedelic / progressive rock show on my radio station and I was a huge Captain Beefheart fan before house music even existed!"
You seem to have a diverse taste - one minute dubbed out beats and rhymes, the next Krautrock surf music... Is there a grand Wild Rumpus plan?
"Wild Rumpus is about fusing different styles but in a way that works. It's also about having fun and being irreverent. And finally it's about being different. I spend a few hours at the record store and find that 99% of the music to which I am subjected to is derivative. It's so boring. Gary and I both have musically diverse backgrounds and we are able to use our musical heritage in a unique way. This is all music we love!"
What's a 'Purple Somersault'?
"It's a 'term' my daughter came up with. Her favourite colour is purple and 'purple' has also become an adjective that means something that is 'the best'. She likes being flipped upside down and would ask us to help her do an orange somersault, a black somersault (very sinister), a yellow somersault (happy!), etc. But the best was always the 'Purple Somersault'. Also, as this is a surf tune, the somersault refers to the somersaults one does underwater after a wipe-out."
Is there an album in the works? What can we expect?
"There is an album in the works. We have a lot of Gary's guitar tracks that we have recorded and now it's up to me to put it all together so I have quite a job in front of me. Gary is the most original guitarist and can do anything. When we're in the studio it's just so easy but the problem comes with the editing and arranging as sometimes there is almost too much! All I can say about the album is that it will be diverse but always psychedelic and soulful."
What's next for Wild Rumpus?
"Right now we're getting our live show, The Wild Rumpus Experience, together for the summer. We have performed in some wild places including India and are hoping to for some of the UK festivals. We work with visual artist Rob Rainbow who works with The Light Surgeons and Nitin Sawhney amongst others and have also worked with percussionists and a poi fire dancer! We have a show that reaches people on many dimensions so the visual element is really important. We just want to do something that is a bit different."