It’s been four years since Kali Masi released their debut full-length Wind Instrument. For their sophomore effort, they returned to the studio with Jay Maas of legendary melodic hardcore band Defeater with a refined punk rock aesthetic ripe with intense hooks and heavy instrumentals. [laughs] is all about finding the strength to be unequivocally yourself, and is another impressive release from the Chicago-based punks.
To celebrate the new album, vocalist and guitarist Sam Porter sat down to talk Instagram, ’90s movies, and gift giving techniques in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.
What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Heartfelt, Urgent, Holistic, Smart.
It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?
I’d like to be remembered for having integrity and a dynamic body of work that has a piece in it for everyone. I’d love to have no song worth skipping at the end of our road.
What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?
Tough to say. I love something different about every city. Some highlights are definitely Philadelphia, Fort Collins, Hamburg, and Edinburgh.
Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?
I’m super inspired by Laura Jane Grace, Joe Strummer, and Carrie Brownstein. I think those three people are really boundless in their creative explorations and don’t give a fuck about rules. That’s been inspiring to me.
Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
Rolberto’s Taco Shop, San Diego, CA.
What album do you know every word to?
The first three Against Me! LP’s. Runner up = CTRL by SZA.
What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
The Hives at the Metro in Chicago. White Suit-era.
What is the best outfit for performing and why?
Dirty jeans, an old t-shirt and new sneakers. Nothing to overthink or malfunction, probably not going to slip and fall.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
I think we all fell in love with Jordan Firstman a bit this year. He makes me laugh pretty hard. I love seeing Reuben Wu’s photography and watching his process for his landscape photography. A small account that I love is my_bloody_quarantine. A friend of ours has been making these ABSURD bloody Mary’s with way too many ingredients (five small pizzas? Several burgers?) throughout quarantine and it’s really funny to me.
What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?
At some point in every tour, someone usually puts on Transplants self-titled. It’s probably something from that!
What’s the last thing you Googled?
Transplants 2002, because I wasn’t certain it was self-titled or called ‘2002’!
What album makes for the perfect gift?
I always try to give people things that help them grow in some ways, not just STUFF. I actually have an acronym that I use to brainstorm gift ideas. It’s really cheesy but its always helpful! Gives Inspiration For Transformation.
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?
Uhhhhhh, first couple that come to mind: abandoned mattress store in Austin, TX. There were no beds to sleep on? Super Happy Fun Land Houston, TX (if you know, you know). Some girl gave us the keys to her flat after our first UK show. She didn’t come with us, she just gave us the keys!! Packing many people into many motel rooms suitable for only one person. In the van when it is outrageously hot.
What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?
First tattoo: Lyrics to a song by my older brothers band on my chest. I’ve since been covering it up, the lyrics are great but the tattoo is not great. The artist who did it actually was responsible for having the shop he worked at shut down the same year I got the tattoo. He tattooed an MLB baseball team’s logo on someone backwards and they sued.
What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?
I always sing along to Lana, I’ll stick around when Foo Fighters come on as well. Not ashamed to admit it.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
I’m a Type 1 diabetic and I have an insulin pump on me at all times. My mom sewed these little pump-sized pockets on my underwear for Christmas for me one year because she knows I love walking around in my underwear but couldn’t do it without having to carry the pump. It was so sweet! I cried.
What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?
Hey Sam- those people you think are wrong? Yeah, they’re wrong. You’re different. Embrace it.
What’s the last show you went to?
Joyce Manor Acoustic Matinee in Denver, CO at Ratio Brewing. They were so hungover but it was so fun.
What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?
My Cousin Vinny, Clueless, That Thing You Do.
What would you cook if Obama were coming to your house for dinner?
Probably some dope vegan Middle-Eastern food while I ask him why he bombed so many innocent middle eastern civilians during his time in office.
[laughs] is out now on Take This To Heart Records. Listen here.