Electronic trifecta at Agave in Avon on Friday
Ryan Summerlin February 26, 2014
AVON — Electronic music comes in all forms and the eclectic nature of these groups will be apparent on Friday when Up Until Now, Cosby Sweater and Shiftee perform at Agave.
With a history of playing in bands spanning many genres including reggae, world beat, rock, hip-hop, funk, electro-pop and heavy metal, Up Until Now’s Jay Murphy’s sole purpose is to make bodies move.
“Before I played in any bands I wrote and recorded my own music and while doing this I also played drums in a variety of bands that played a variety of styles of music,” Murphy said. “The thing about electronic music is that it pulls from all other genres of music so this seemed completely natural for me as I started writing music for (Up Until Now).”
According to Murphy, Up Until Now’s most recent album, “Come Too Far,” has received positive feedback.
“This is probably the first record I’ve released where within a week of it coming out, people were requesting songs at shows,” he said.
Although Murphy has been performing across the country since 2010 and has been featured at many music festivals, he said he is most excited about being on the road right now because of touring mates Cosby Sweater.
“Most tours I’ve done I’ve been out solo, so to be out with another band and sharing the stage every night is cool,” Murphy said. “There is a nice camaraderie.”
Comprised of David Embry on production and vocals, Nicholas Gerlach on tenor saxophone and electronic wind, and Richard “Sleepy” Floyd on drums, Cosby Sweater’s sound is described as “live electronic music” because the group combines live instruments with electronica.
“I think we are great mix of what is great about electronic music and also what is great about having live musicians,” Gerlach said. “The fact that we write songs across many different genres is what sets us apart from other groups. Many groups just stick to one or two genres in their set.”
Their most recent release, “Hey Girl Hey, has been well-received and Gerlach said that “people really enjoy the fresh take on electronic music.” The band has been on tour for two years,covering a span of 23 states. They have no plans of stopping anytime soon.
“I wouldn’t trade touring for anything,” said Gerlach. “We get to travel to places all over the country and meet new people that we would never have the opportunity to meet without touring. The road can definitely be tough at times, but we wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Be ready to dance
Another road warrior who is no stranger to a busy schedule is Shiftee (also known as Samuel Morris Zornow). A Harvard graduate, adjunct professor at New York University and two-time Disco Mix Club World DJ Champion, Shiftee tours internationally and is a producer. He is also a DMC DJ Hall of Fame inductee and has gained notoriety in the electronic music world by honing his skills on turntables and by creating coveted mix tapes.
“I think being great on the turntables and in the mix is a combination of scratching technique, mixing technique, beat juggling technique, an ear for music and creativity,” he said. “The most essential ingredient though is hard work and dedication. You aren’t going to be great unless you’re willing to fight through the pain of getting better and pushing yourself.”
While Gerlach said Friday’s Agave audience “should expect to sweat profusely on the dance floor,” Shiftee said attendees should be excited to see some true physical gymnastics on the turntables.
“I’m going to combine DMC style skill with new technology in exciting ways, all wrapped into a clean package with crazy music,” he said.