New trends in funk
December 27, 2003
Among the new waves rippling in the funk genre is mamaSutra.The band prepares to drench 8150 tonight with some intense grooves and sweaty vocals.Molly Boyle comes equipped with a funky bass line and soulful vocals, Russell Spurlock spices the sounds with guitar, saxophone and occasional flute and banjo, Ben Martin plays a fast and energizing set of drums and Arlan Schierbaum ties it all together on the keyboards.”Russell can play all kinds of things,” said Boyle. “He’s a multi-talented musician, and he loves writing complicated music, which often turns into some of our favorites.”Martin, who is influenced by heavy metal and Latin and African rhythms, majored in psychology and percussion in college.”He’s a great driving force of the band,” said Boyle. “He’s one of the best drummers I’ve ever heard, and he’s a hilarious and wonderful person.”The band was born in Denver four years ago without Schierbaum. He joined up when the band played a wedding, and the couple asked the band whether a keyboardist could sit in on the show.”He picked up on each song so quickly,” said Boyle. “Arlan is a nut. He loves playing antique analogue instruments. He’s been playing the organ since he was 3 and performed his first concert at 5.”Arlan’s brought a new level to our band. He’s a very special guy.”Boyle writes a lot of songs, as do Schierbaum and Spurlock, and everyone joins in the singing duties.”My influences are the incredible bass players from the disco era, and I love a lot of the ’60s Motown stuff,” said Boyle.The band’s innovative sound is accented by use of a horde of new school techniques – looping and a slew of digital effects.”Russell uses looping the most, which brings a lot of layers to the music,” said Boyle. “Especially when he loops the sax. You can just hear it swirl up into the atmosphere.”The band has shared the stage with a number of notable groups, and was recently invited to play in the 14th annual High Sierra Music Festival, which traditionally features groups like Michael Franti & Spearhead and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.”We’re so excited. We’ve been trying to pirate our way into that festival since we first went by playing in the dirt or something just to be a part of it,” said Boyle. “Then we learned it’s only a couple of people who choose the show, so we laid back and waited. And, they called us, just like a date.”The party starts with mamaSutra at 10 p.m. today at 8150.Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 610, or at email@example.com.