Prince Rama is made up of sisters, Taraka and Nimai Larson, who have been playing music together for over a decade. Their bizarre and often misunderstood history brought them from the Hare Krishna Ashram where they grew up without TV or internet to art school in Boston, where Taraka studied experimental film and started making music as a means to write scores to her own surreal and often nihilistic films. After releasing their first two records in the UK, she worked for visionary artist Paul Laffoley and wrote Architecture in Utopia in 2009 based on his paintings of utopic space. From the very inception of the band, there was a strong link between music, performance, and visual art, as well as a kindredness with other visionary artists at the fringes of society and esoteric spirituality.
Prince Rama’s lifespan reveals a prolific, unique, and multi-disciplinary approach to culture-making, releasing eight albums in ten years. After being discovered in a Texas dive bar by Avey Tare in 2010, Animal Collective helped them record and release Shadow Temple on their label, Paw Tracks, and Trust Now shortly thereafter, which peaked at #3 and #6 on the Billboard New Age Charts, respectively. Since then, the band has continually delivered powerful, raw performances of their own brand of disheveled visionary psychedelia, drawing influences from otherworldly ecstatic rituals, lo-fi rock and outsider disco, as well as coining and embodying the utopian spirit of “The Now Age Movement,” a cult of post-Internet transcendentalism. To commemorate the Mayan apocalypse, they released Top Ten Hits of the End of the World in 2012, a pseudo-compilation album comprised of ten singles “channeled” from fictional deceased pop bands and partially recorded with members of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Their last album, 2016’s Xtreme Now was the inaugural entry into what they have playfully coined as the “Extreme Sports Genre,” writing eccentric motivational dance music to fit the score of extreme sports’ death defying feats. One could see these preceding albums as premonitory preparation for this final release, Rage In Peace, where the band has to come face-to-face with its own mortality on a much more intimate, personal level.
Their visual art practice has always been an extension of the music itself, exhibiting internationally at the Whitney Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, and Brooklyn Museum, to name a few. Taraka has also published several manifestos on the “Now Age” that puts forth Prince Rama’s aesthetic and metaphysical philosophies, garnering a growing cult of followers and earning both hatred and praise from art and music worlds alike. Her seemingly effortless way of weaving conceptual art practice with music places her in an ancestral legacy of New York renaissance visionaries such as Kim Gordon, Laurie Anderson, and Patti Smith. They also released Never Forever, a Now Age psych-opera to accompany Top Ten Hits which premiered in 2013 at the MoMA PS 1 VW Dome.
Since Nimai’s departure from the band after a final concert on New Years 2017, Taraka has taken time off to work on a solo album in New York and finish the last remaining Prince Rama songs to be released as a farewell EP, Rage In Peace in summer 2019.