Prince Daddy & the Hyena: Albany punk’s gemstone
By Eli Enis
When it comes to origin stories, most bands start with some sort of long-winded ramble about how their previous bands fell through, or how their members just started playing together for fun and it developed into something serious. There isn’t anything wrong with those sorts of answers – the reality of most band formations is that they’re rather boring.
However, when a band tells their origin story with unfiltered honesty and says, “We all think it’s really cool to go to strangers’ houses, smoke weed, and look through their video game collections,” it immediately flags them as something special.
Along with that beautiful string of words, the members of Prince Daddy & The Hyena- vocalist/guitarist Kornelious P. Jenkins, guitarist Cameron Handford, bassist Zakariya Houacine, and drummer Alex Ziembiec- eagerly talked about alien abductions, Smash Bros, and their new music. The gang was sprawled throughout the dark confines of a “well-worn” utility van after their set in Rochester in late December.
Soon after forming in late 2014, the band self-released their debut EP “Skip Cutscenes! Blow Loud!” and began playing house shows around the East Coast, building a reputation in their home city of Albany for high energy performances. Less than a year later, the band released their first proper EP “Adult Summers” via the rising Connecticut label Broken World Media, which is owned by Derrick Shanholtzer-Dvorak of The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die. Broken World Media has released a slew of notable emo/punk/indie albums over the past few years by bands such as Sorority Noise, Rozwell Kid, Old Gray, Soda Bomb, and many of TWIABP’s own releases.
P. Daddy said Broken World has really helped their band by “hooking us up with really nice people” and “showing us the people who don’t know who Prince Daddy is, but know who Broken World is,” said Houacine and Jenkins, respectively.
In regards to the release of “Adult Summers,” Handford said,“We hadn’t had music in so long and we knew the album wouldn’t be coming for a while ‘cause we wanted to record it really nice. So we just recorded the EP with our friend Drew to hold people over.”
“We wrote our full length before we wrote Adult Summers. We wrote Adult Summers in like two to three days,” added Jenkins.
The long-awaited full-length, set to be released this spring via Broken World, was recorded by Joe Reinhart, guitarist of emo alums Algernon Cadwallader and up-and-coming indie rockers Hop Along. The record will be titled “I Thought You Didn’t Even Like Leaving.” While the band describes their sound as “Fuzzy Weezer with influences of early-2000s broken Gameboy Advance noises” and “Cereal on the couch watching ‘Ed, Edd, n Eddy’” rock, the members had less-than-ridiculous things to say about the album.
“It’s winter versus summer. If ‘Adult Summers’ is summer, then imagine this is winter. It’s still fuzzy and punky but it’s way darker,” Houacine said.
“Besides a couple songs, it’s more straightforward and less sporatic,” said Ziembiec.
“It’s more of a pop record but it’s still crazy and loud and energetic,” said Jenkins.
Like “Adult Summers,” P. Daddy agreed that fans should expect their Weezer, Green Day, and Jeff Rosenstock influences to bleed through. Their knack for humorous self-deprecation is something that set “Adult Summers” apart and the new record is sure to contain a similar approach lyrically, but with a darker edge to it.
Jenkins said that “Adult Summers” is about “Partying, smoking weed, beaches and aliens,” whereas “I Thought You Didn’t Even Like Leaving” tackles “Depression, anxiety, my couch, dependency, laziness, and manic depression.”
“I feel like it’s just a lot of shit that everyone deals with. Growing up and turning into a different type of person. Realizing everything does not work out perfectly,” said Houacine.
P. Daddy capture their vivacious live aesthetic on recording and paired that with lyrics as laughable as they are (worryingly) relatable. It’s enough to make them a worthwhile checkout on both Bandcamp and the live circuit. In their eyes, however, the real distinction between them and other bands is their unearthly ability to munch.
“No one can eat like we can eat. It’s pretty embarrassing actually,” said Jenkins.