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Meet the band that defaced the Hollywood Signal with a portray of a cow

Like many an Angeleno, town’s famed Hollywood Signal has undergone its share of beauty makeovers. In each 1976 and 2017, hashish advocates amended the signal to learn “Hollyweed” — and as lately as February, a bunch led by mannequin Julia Rose rechristened the signal “Hollyboob” to advertise breast most cancers consciousness.

On the afternoon of Friday, April 2, a brand new posse of pranksters returned to decorate the signal, this time by draping a portray of a cow throughout the primary “O,” which stands 45 toes excessive by 33 toes vast. After the police pursued the perpetrators through helicopter, then on foot, three suspects had been apprehended: visible artist Danny Cole, photographer Landon Yost and Greg Aram, the singer-songwriter behind the L.A. alt-rock band Junior Varsity.

“The entire thing solely took eight minutes,” Aram, 25, informed The Occasions on Wednesday. The group hiked alongside a delegated pedestrian path, hopped a fence, then strapped themselves to the letter with climbing gear and hooked up the painted sheet. “I’m afraid of heights,” mentioned Aram, “so I don’t assume I might’ve been capable of do it with out that gear.”

Aram rolled his ankle whereas operating from the police. “By the point we began climbing down, there was already a helicopter above.”

Aram and his mates every had been charged with a misdemeanor for trespassing, typically punishable by a fine not exceeding $100; he has a court docket date set for August. “I sat in jail for seven hours with a damaged ankle,” mentioned Aram, who was bailed out by Stefan Max, an A&R govt at Warner Data. “It was within the Hollywood precinct, so you may think about there have been some characters in there.”

The “Holy Cow” stunt was neither an act of animal-rights advocacy nor an Adbusters-style culture-jam towards capitalist consumerism. Aram defined that he recruited Cole to color the cow, then determined it will characterize the band. “We toyed with [putting the band logo] on the Hollywood Signal however that concept didn’t really feel attention-grabbing, it felt like an commercial. There are deeper meanings within the cow for us personally, however we wish to preserve it open-ended.”

Three men lie on and paint a large sheet with a picture of a cow.

Zach Michel, Danny Cole and Greg Varteresian at work on the cow portray that was later positioned on the Hollywood Signal.

(Adam Kargenian)

Aram cofounded Junior Varsity with multi-instrumentalist Zach Michel, 25, in 2019; since then, the band has amassed over 15,000 followers on Instagram and landed a take care of Warner, all with out releasing any music. On the identical day because the cow stunt, the band issued its debut single, “Chilly Blood.”

A woozy amble by means of the sounds of early-aughts alt-rock and hip-hop, “Chilly Blood” is a piece of darkish comedy, coloured by Aram’s wry malaise as he particulars the time he acquired tased by a cop whereas out with mates. The video follows the band cruising previous a person on fireplace and aimlessly wandering a farm flanked by — you guessed it — cows.

“We had been already going ahead with cow imagery within the music video and single paintings when the thought of doing one thing with the Hollywood Signal got here up as a chance,” Aram mentioned. “Cow is king.”

Aram, who hails from New Jersey, and Michel, a Bay Space native, met as school college students in New York Metropolis. In 2019, the 2 left New York for L.A. and grew a fan base completely by means of their dwell exhibits, raucous three-night happenings billed as “A F—ing Weekend,” the place they shared lineups with burgeoning alt-pop acts like Jean Dawson and Quiet Luke.

“We didn’t current it as a present, we introduced it as a celebration,” mentioned Aram. “If 100 folks confirmed up the primary night time, they’d go residence and inform their mates to come back again the following night time. Then 200 folks confirmed up the following night time, then 400 the following.”

Junior Varsity staged the weekend concert events in New York and L.A., at which reps from varied report labels started surfacing with gives. “We realized that having help [from Warner] was going to profit us, versus placing out music on our personal,” Aram explains.

Junior Varsity spent most of its previous yr in lockdown writing and recording songs, a few of which is able to seem on its upcoming EP. “We’re trying to drop someday earlier than the summer season,” mentioned Michel. However earlier than signing off, he takes nice care to emphasize, on the report, that he was not concerned within the cow prank.

“I performed no half within the stunt,” he asserted. “I used to be actually miles away. I’ve receipts!”

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