On Monday, April 3, the Bay Area’s hottest alt-indie-soul-artpop band Cardboard People, debuted their self-titled album with War Chant Records. The multi genre group features the powerhouse vocals of Yunoka Berry, music production and audio engineering by Jim Greer, heavy hitter drummer Genesis Valentine with percussion, and Rhonda Kinard on bass.
Cardboard People combines soul, funk, electro-funk, and punk influences to deliver a dynamic and eclectic sound. Beyond music production, the self-titled album is also making a statement on the importance of cultural activism, self love, and community through its empowering lyrics in songs like “Green” and “Impossible.” With co-producer Domino from Hieroglyphics, Cardboard People brings an inclusive, conscious party vibe to the music scene, all while maintaining a semi-anonymous presence, serving as a pervading avatar for anyone who feels inspired.
In an interview with ¾ of Cardboard People, we get an in depth history of the band’s name as told by the multi-instrumentalist and audio engineer himself, Jim Greer.
One day I sat down at a keyboard and I started playing the riff to the song “Faster” that’s on our record…(vocalizing melody) I just started playing it right out of the clear blue sky– like bam–I just started playing it. I was like this is really fun…did I make this up… this is catchy. And then my friend, my production partner at the time, walked into the room and he was like all my friends are cardboard people and he just like spat that out. And he spat that out because in a previous life I had once performed by myself on a stage where I didn’t have anybody in my band, so I made a bunch of cardboard cutouts…so my friend was always like cardboard people is like that’s your thing. So he walked in the room and he’s singing that lyric over that melody and that was like 12 years ago.
As a producer I collect stuff; I like collect little riffs and ideas and band names and things…so after we made most of our Cardboard People album–like pretty much a lot of the tracks that you’ve heard like the slightly more like intense dark powerful ones, which are some of my favorites–I played it [the riff to the song Faster] for her [Yunoka] and she was like, ‘I love that, what is that? I want to sing on that…like right now.’ So then it took us a while but we wrote and made the whole song. I rearranged it. Rhonda came and played bass. Then we needed a band name. If you’re ever in a band when you need a name you’ll start writing things on the wall or maybe you get out all your lyrics and your song titles and you’re looking at them…and you’re going what’s our band name? What do we call it? And Cardboard People was on our list of tracks, and we were both kind of looking at it like, Cardboard People! I mean that is because we feel like our music is very like free and sort of interesting and different… like a jukebox, we call it, and that’s just sort of what Cardboard People are. Like cardboard people can be anybody, or anything.”
Further into the interview, the band dives a little deeper into what cardboard people means now and bass guitarist Rhonda said it best, “Cardboard People is for everyone, everyone’s invited. This is a very inclusive and accessible group. Really well thought out without being overproduced…and those are values that we all hold and it’s not often that you get to participate in a project that holds those kinds of values.”