Story by Brenna Ehrlich, Photos by Jack Jeffries
NEW YORK -- Your average spa day is all about relaxing and being pampered -- but Prince Rama are not your average band. Therefore, visiting the spa with them is anything but normal. So when you hit the sauna with Nimai and Taraka Larson, prepare to get extreme.
"Personally, I lose my mind," Nimai told MTV News after 15 or so minutes inside a sauna that roasted our outsides at approximately 184 degrees.
"This is where the real stuff comes out," her sister Taraka chimed in, sweat starting to spring from under her wild curls. "It's a very level playing field. There's no bullsh-t."
"I heard this guy talking once about how he, literally, got away with murder -- how he tricked the system," Nimai added, careful not to lean her metallic sunburst bathing suit against the blistering walls. "Never went to jail. They were talking like it's no big deal. That's the vibe: What's said in the sauna, stays in the sauna."
Lucky for us -- and you -- that rule didn't apply when we hit up Spa88 in New York for an "extreme interview" (per the band's request) in honor of their yet-to-be-released record, the theme of which is extreme sports. There may or may not be customized energy drinks involved in the impending release.
It's not just their next album that's extreme, though -- the Larson sisters have had rather, shall we say, unconventional lives thus far. They spent their childhood on a Hare Krishna farm in Florida at their parents' behest, after 9/11, and have spent the years since then making music that toes the line between pop and WTF. Their last record, Top 10 Hits of the End of the World, for example, was just that: a collection of songs written to top the charts during various and sundry apocalypses.
They've created trippy, massive rock operas. They've made exercise tapes to exorcise demons. In short, this band is as cool as that sweltering sauna is hot.
While frolicking in the spa, MTV News asked Prince Rama about the most extreme experiences they've ever had on tour -- since they're primed to hit the road with Dan Deacon in April. Read on, look at the photos and pretend you're hanging with Prince Rama on the most exxxxtreme spa day ever. Jealous much?
"There was a 13-hour drive between Vancouver and Calgary and day two of it, Taraka and I both had migraines and there was a huge storm that was rolling in. And we were in the badlands and the sky was huge. I remember being like, 'All right -- me, Taraka, our tour manager, everyone's lives are in our hands -- my hands.' The sky was just lighting up in these huge blasts of lightening -- spidering over the whole sky. I was listening to Bon Jovi -- that was what was keeping me awake. I was channeling my inner cowboy wanted dead or alive. It may have been raining frogs..." - Nimai
"I've definitely had some crazy ghost experiences on tour. One of them was back in our hometown in Florida -- which is already a spooky place. LaCrosse, Florida -- there's like 48 people who live there. It's the middle of the swamps. It's like, there's no one here. I was walking out late at night and I remember my friend and I heard this weird sort of howling sound -- it sounded kind of human, like someone was in pain.
"Then we looked down the road and there was just this -- I kid you not -- 8-foot-tall thing that looked like maybe a dog. But it was moving like a monkey. It had paws that were curled under -- its tail was, like, prehensile. It looked at us and it had this absolutely human face that didn't go with the rest of its body. Then it just ran up this ramp to the post office and disappeared." - Taraka
"I remember doing this trust fall once -- I was doing them off the stage for a little while and then I started feeling a little more adventurous, like, 'What would happen if I did one off the top of a speaker?' We were somewhere in Europe and I had a 103-degree fever. In the middle of the set I climbed up onto a chair that was on top of a speaker -- I was like a monkey-human or something.
"I crawled up and jumped on these rafters. I was like 13 feet up and there weren't that many people there. They didn't speak our language. But I had to trust everyone that if I fell I would be safe. And without any warning let go. I got caught." - Taraka
"I remember playing in Istanbul and Turkey and it got to the part of our set where Taraka would do her trust fall. I was holding it down at the drums chanting, 'Trust' -- the whole audience was chanting, 'Trust.' And she climbs up onto the PA and jumps -- and a group of guys catches her.
"And then I watched as they carried Taraka through the crowd and out the exit door. I was like, 'Whoa! Where are you taking my sister?' I'm going to trust that they're going to bring her back. Three or four minutes later, I hear this applause and they came back in. I asked Taraka at the end of the set what happened and she was like, 'They took me around the block!' You know, through all the wild cats that roam around the streets of Istanbul." - Nimai
"We rolled into Bloomington, Indiana, and it was a noise festival. The door that we have to load in through, there's some weird dude who's blocking the door with his body -- he's a huge guy -- and he's shredding on guitar and there's this barrel of fireworks going off. Zooming everywhere. We were like, 'We have to load through that door?' We're like going through the f--king war here." - Taraka