Legend Bowie is rocked by kids
Jewish Telegraph, August 2007
WHEN a legend like David Bowie descri bes a new group as “genius”, you really have to take notice.
When you realise the group consists of a 13-year-old and his 11-year-old sister then there must be something really special about them.
Tiny Masters of Today have been getting rave reviews in the music media for debut album Bang Bang Boom Cake, released by Mute later this month.
And Brooklyn-based Ivan, 13, and younger sibling Ada have attracted some of the biggest names from the New York music scene to help out on the album.
In fact Karen O and Nick Zinner of ultra-hip Yeah Yeah Yeahs appear on stand-out track Hologram World.
Russell Simins, drummer with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, handled production duties on the album, along with the Elegant Too. Simins often plays drums for the group live. Also appearing on the CD are Kimya Dawson (Moldy Peaches) and Fred Schneider (B-52s).
Ivan and Ada — who can boast that their great great great grandfather was a chief rabbi in Wales — have had two sell-out singles, been playlisted by BBC Radio 1 and XFM, featured in Newsweek and had a sell-out tour.
Ivan, who started taking guitar lessons when he was seven, is “amazed” by David Bowie’s support. He said: “When you are a fan of somebody’s music, it is hard to imagine them listening to yours.”
Ada added that being educated was still a priority of the stardom-bound youngsters. She revealed: “We have only missed a few days of school. We have to work everything around our school schedules.”
Last week, Tiny Masters of Today were interviewed by Israeli newspaper Haaretz along with features in Japanese and Russian titles.
Ivan, who plays guitar, bass and drums, said: “These are all places we have never even dreamed of going, so it makes the world a lot smaller. We would love to perform in Israel and some interest has been expressed.”
Their parents, David and Nancy, are “both big fans of music,” Ivan said. “Our dad can play drums a little but they don’t really play any instruments.”
Ivan and Ada (guitar, keyboards and drums) are friendly with fellow teen bands, The Muldoons and Eyeball Skeleton.
“We met Pull in Emergency and have traded emails with Poppy and the Jezebels (a group of 16-year-olds whose first single was called Nazi Girls),” Ivan said.
“We were asked to tour America with The Horrors but we had school.”
The duo could turn to former child star Ben Kweller for advice on how to handle fame at an early age. The Jewish singer was a member of rock band Radish when he was 14 and has since gone on to find critical acclaim — in his 20s — with three solo albums.
Ivan said: “Ben actually lives a few blocks from us. We have met him a few times, he is really nice, it seems like he turned out OK.”
And how do their friends feel about them being rock stars?
“I am not sure if we are rock stars but they are mostly supportive,” Ivan said. “It isn’t that big a deal to them.”
Bang Bang Boom Cake features tracks like Bushy which is a rant written by Ada — when she was eight — about President Bush and new single Radio Riot.
On Sunday, Tiny Masters of Today will appear at the Underage Festival in Victoria Park, London.