Ten minutes into an interview with Tayo Branston and he‚Äôs already dropped the four-letter ‚ÄúF‚ÄĚ-bomb about a dozen times.
F this, F that ‚Ä¶ after a while, it gets to be a little bit distracting.
How many times a day do you say ‚ÄúFunk?‚ÄĚ
The frontman for Vancouver outfit Five Alarm Funk laughs.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs quite a lot, especially if we launch a post on Facebook ‚ÄĒ like a big announcement ‚ÄĒ we definitely say funk quite a lot,‚ÄĚ he says and laughs again.
‚ÄúBut it‚Äôs something that comes up all the time in our line of work, you know? If you make pizza for a living you probably say ‚Äėpizza‚Äô quite a lot.‚ÄĚ
Good analogy. Because, yes, indeed, they do make the funk. It‚Äôs something they‚Äôve been doing for the past decade-plus, harnessing that sexy, swaggering, sensational party energy in a way that‚Äôs reverential, but brings a whole lotta new-school life to it.
And the folks, they funkin‚Äô love it. FAF‚Äôs latest album Sweat just received a Juno nomination for Instrumental Album of the Year, and the current tour, which brings them to The Palace Theatre this week for a funky Friday night, has been filling every room.
Their profile should only rise over the coming months, as on March 9 the eight-piece will release a new mini EP, Boots and Wheels, which features a track called, what else, We Bring the Funk. Funking up the funk factor, though, is that the title track is a reworking of the Sweat song Capital City, which features vocals provided by the legendary funkmeister (see, now he‚Äôs got me doing it), Mr. Bootsy Collins.
Prior to their Palace show, and while the band was actually in Calgary for a couple of days off before a Golden, B.C. date, Branston spoke with theYYSCENE. Here‚Äôs an excerpt from that interview.
Q: Congratulations on the Juno nomination.
A: Thank you so much, man.
Q: When did you get the news and how?
A: Well, we knew Sweat was a good record and we submitted in for the Junos because we got nominated with (2012‚Äôs) Rock the Sky. So when we submitted Sweat we thought, ‚ÄúWell, we probably have a decent shot at getting a nomination,‚ÄĚ just because we all believed in the record, we knew it was our best work that we had ever done. So I actually woke up that morning and watched the live broadcast they did ‚Ä¶ the livestream of the actual announcements. I was tired, but I got up ‚ÄĒ it was 10 a.m. Eastern, so it was only 7 a.m. (in Vancouver), but I‚Äôm more of a late-morning kind of guy than an early-morning. (Laughs) So I watched the livestream and then when they announced the category I jumped up and ran around and started getting the calls out to the band and everything like that. It was a really exciting time and we‚Äôre super honoured, pumped to be nominated for Instrumental Album.
Q: Will you be going to the Junos this year or will you be on tour?
A: The amazing thing is, our hometown, it‚Äôs in Vancouver this year, so, yeah, we‚Äôre gonna go. We have a trip down to Boise on the Thursday and we were gonna make a small tour of, say, Idaho and Montana, but we decided let‚Äôs just one-off it down to Boise, come back home and we‚Äôve got the Friday night, then the gala awards are on Saturday and the big awards are on the Sunday ‚ÄĒ the broadcast awards are on Sunday. So, yeah, we‚Äôre going to be there, we‚Äôre gonna make it and we‚Äôre gonna enjoy it and have the best time possible. I think it‚Äôs going to be a blast, especially in our hometown.
Q: OK, now Bootsy ‚ÄĒ what a fantastic track.
A: Bootsy! (Laughs)
Q: How did that come about?
A: It kind of came about last summer. We were rolling around in the bus, we‚Äôd just played a couple of festivals, rolling around in the bus and were like, ‚ÄúMan, we‚Äôve got all of this great instrumental music, we should get some vocals cooking on it.‚ÄĚ We had thought about collabing with people in the past and were thinking and thinking. And then we were just like, ‚ÄúWhat about Bootsy? What about Bootsy? He‚Äôs the funk icon, man ‚Ä¶Bootsy‚Äôs super iconic, but he‚Äôs also, he‚Äôs that flash funk, he is kind of the original inception of what Five Alarm is all about. He just loves to have fun and he‚Äôs super-funky about it. So for us the combo was a no-brainer. And then it was just reaching out to management, ‚ÄúHey, can you get in touch with Bootsy‚Äôs management and see if he wants to take a listen to this track?‚ÄĚ And he did, he listened to it and he loved it, and it was a very short process of the time of, ‚ÄúHey, it would be great to work with Bootsy‚ÄĚ to us hearing, ‚ÄúHey, Bootsy would love to rip some lyrics on this song.‚ÄĚ It was some of the most exciting news we‚Äôve received in the last while ‚ÄĒ I mean, nobody beats Bootsy, he‚Äôs the funkiest.
Q: And then when you got it back ‚ÄĒ you can‚Äôt critique it, can you? You can‚Äôt say, ‚ÄúTry again, Bootsy.‚ÄĚ
A: (Laughs) No, no, we got it back and it was super exciting ‚Ä¶ We got the track back and we sat around with our producer, Ben Kaplan, in the studio and did a little bit, because Bootsy did so much work on the track. We weren‚Äôt sure or knowing of what he was going to do on the track ‚ÄĒ we weren‚Äôt going to say, ‚ÄúDo this, do that ‚ÄĒ do whatever you want, fire it back and we‚Äôll see if we need to do anything.‚ÄĚ So we took a little bit of it on with our producer, Ben Kaplan did the mix a little bit more, we sent it back to him, and that was the dialogue about how we were going to go. Then it went on to mastering and there you have it. We Play the Funk is probably the most fun and funkiest tune we‚Äôve created for sure.
Q: Has there been talk of him maybe teaming up with you again in the future or maybe for a live show or two?
A: Um, yeah, absolutely. I don‚Äôt how deep I‚Äôm supposed to go with this, but we‚Äôve definitely talked about doing some live stuff together. That was really pretty exciting. I don‚Äôt know how much I‚Äôm actually allowed to say on that, but I think there‚Äôs going to be plenty of crushing funk to come.
Q: The Calgary show ‚ÄĒ what can people expect? Obviously to dance and sweat and to have a good time?
A: Yeah, absolutely ‚ÄĒ dance, sweat, groove. We‚Äôre bringing probably the hottest funk show that we‚Äôve ever put on. The band is super tight, the band is ready to absolutely bring the hottest funk party to the people of Calgary. We‚Äôve been playing here for years, and support for the group in Calgary has just gone up and up and up and up, and we couldn‚Äôt be more pumped to bring it to The Palace this time and really shake the walls.