bill bodkin interviews New York funk band Loud Apt. …
“Music should always have a groove to it. It should have a kick to it. You gotta have a groove in order to get people up and dance to your music.”
These words are the heart and soul of the band Loud Apt., who are currently in the midst of promoting the release of their eponymous EP as well as their headlining gig at the Uncomun Festival at Santo’s Party House in New York on Saturday, Nov. 6.
The band are purveyors of a sound called “heavy funk,” infusing classic funk grooves with hip-hop cadence and swagger, classic rock riffs and just enough disco to make you get out of your seat and dance to the beat. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows Nevaris (Loud Apt.’s lead singer). Growing up on 110th Street in New York, he was surrounded by music. His family lived in a “loud apartment” with classical and jazz musicians jamming on either side of them, rock bands performing above and below them, boom boxes blasting beats in their parking lot until 4 a.m. and soulful groups rehearsing in the old church across the way. These crazy aural influences combined with his own love of hippie jam bands and classic rock were the impetus for Nevaris to make being in a band or being in the music industry his life’s work.
His passion came to fruition when he was asked to help book a show in Brooklyn at the old music venue Galapagos (now Public Assembly) in Williamsburg. “I talked a lot of shit about how I knew all these crazy musicians and then I finally got called out on it.”
The show was called The Uncomun Festival, and after its initial success it became a monthly artist collective show that incorporated local musicians, DJs, artists, dancers, poets, MCs and visual artists into one big ball of fun and creative expression. Nevaris was the main organizer of the monthly event and also was a member of the backing band for all musicians who came on stage.
“We had one set-up on stage, and a bunch of us would be the backing band for the MCs, singers and so on who performed.” The collective group of musicians eventually formed the first incarnation of what would become Loud Apt.
The band would begin recording the music Nevaris had been writing for years.
The eponymous EP, released this week, is the collection of years of work from Nevaris and his army of musicians that have helped collaborate to create this record. The music is decidedly New York — it has an urban, groovy, bombastic sense to it. It’s full of the type of head-bopping iPod tunes you listen to on the subway or walking down a busy city street. It’s the soundtrack to any house party — one that you’ve only invited those cool, fun and fantastic friends to for an all-night impromptu dance party.
Having listened to the band from impetus to immediate, the Loud Apt. EP features some of the bands staples that we’ve heard live and on limited CD releases.
Their heavy funk sound is overwhemingly evident on the track “Warm Me Up.” The band has used this as their show opener in years past and it’s the one that sets the tone for the rest of a Loud Apt. show.
The band’s influences are definitely apparent on all the tracks. Blistering guitar ( “Here It Comes”) work combined with ’60s Sanatana-esque organ work, Grateful Dead jam sessions and Latin flare (“Get Up Get Down”) combine to form a musical melting pot that, again, is just so New York.
Nevaris’ vocals are the centerpiece of Loud Apt.’s sound, and rightfully so. His smoother-than-velvet, richer-than-rich mahogany sound is a perfect complement to the grooves and danceability that Loud Apt. produces on each track.
Appearing on the EP are four musical heavyweights — all whom have become involved with Loud Apt. due to Nevaris’ Uncomun Festivals. The first is legendary percussionist Angel Rodriguez, who provided killer beats for the early break-dancing and hip-hop crews in 1980s New York. He remains the one common factor in Loud Apt. outside of Nevaris. The second is international reggae artist Garrison Hawk (a.k.a. Hawkman, a.k.a. Hawk), who had major success earlier in the 2000s as a contributor and writer on Tricky’s famed Blowback album. Through the uniquely voiced Hawk, Nevaris was introduced to legendary producer Bill Laswell. Laswell — who has worked with everyone from Mick Jagger to White Zombie to Ozzy to Herbie Hancock — mastered and mixed all of the early songs that the band recorded. Many of these songs appear on the current EP. Through Laswell, the band was introduced and recorded with Parliament Funkdaelic keyboardist Bernie P. Worrell, who also appears throughout the EP, adding an awesome jammy, funked-out quality to plenty of tracks.
Loud Apt., along with Bill Laswell and his new band Method of Defiance, Bernie P. Worrell and a ton of other bands will be performing at the Uncomun Festival 2010 at Santo’s Party House (the New York club owned by Andrew W.K.) on Saturday, Nov. 6. The event will start at 8 p.m., and like Uncomun’ before it, will feature a smattering of artists, dancers and musicians. “If you walk into an Uncomun Festival at 2 a.m., you’ll be drinking and dancing to 4 a.m. It’s a non-stop party,” Nevaris says, “but its also a celebration of originality, creativity and art.”
Having attended Uncomun 2008, I can attest to the fun, creativity and awesomeness that is this festival. At this show, we saw everyone from Grammy-winning singer Maya Azucena, Hawk, mind-blowing MC Baba Israel and, of course, Loud Apt.
As a live performance unit, Loud Apt. is the definition of tight. A seamless transition from record to performance, Loud Apt. provides a live dance party for the masses. The bass is big, the guitar solos killer, the vocals sick and the grooves — groovy as hell. This is a band you need to put on your radar ASAP.
For more information. out Loud Apt. on the web.