The following instrumental ensembles will delight your ears and titillate your senses come Not-Zonker Harris day this Saturday. Enjoy an exclusive interview with these two band members:
Ian Coss ’11, of Fashion People:
When did your band form? Who are your members?
We formed in the spring of 2005 with the following members: Mike Benoit, Alex Chakour, Zack Zucker, and Ian Coss.
How would you describe your sound?
We are a failed attempt to imitate the great Moscow Mule, a little-known abrasive noise band. Having come up short, we play catchy songs that people like to dance to. True story.
Who are your musical idols or influences?
My best friend and I watched “Stop Making Sense” in 10th grade and decided to start a rock band.
More at www.myspace.com/fashionpeople
Bill Carbone, of Buru Style:
Who is Buru Style?
Buru Style formed at Wesleyan University. The band is: Miles Turner ’08(bass), Bill Carbone (drums), Nate Ash-Morgan ’08 (Nyabinghi Drums), Mike Cardozo (Guitar), Austin Purnell ’08 (keys), Brian Papish ’09 (Trombone), Ian Staub ’10 and Eric Sherman ’10 (Trumpets), and Andy Fogliano ’09 and Nate Kaufman ’08 (Sax) – we’re all Wesleyan Students. Toussaint Yeshua will be joining us on vocals.
Describe your sound to us.
It’s a continuation of the music I had been playing in Boston for several years before I returned to school (I’m a PhD student in ethnomusicology). Usually we play dub, which is like reggae, but really post-reggae because we’re trying to play live like the classic dub engineers did remixes in the studio. So, we’re imitating something that actually never occurred in real-time.
To that end, we’re really thinking a lot about using subtraction and minimalist ideas to create tension rather than addition. In other words, the music will frequently have a big melody and then get stripped down to just the drums and bass. One of our members mics the drums and processes them through his laptop while we play so there’s delays and other wacky things going. Our music, which is partly my original compositions and partly classic Jamaican reggae and nyabingi music, is heavily influenced by the great dub engineers: King Tubby, Scientist, Yabby You, Lee Scratch Perry, and the bands they used, like the Roots Radics, Sly and Robbie, The Aggrovators, and the Soul Syndicate. We’re not stuck on ideas of authenticity, though, and there’s a notable jazz/funk influence, especially vis-a-vis the horn writing.
Describe the surprises you have in store for Wesfest.
This weekend is different, though, because we’re bringing in an amazing vocalist from Brooklyn named Toussaint Yeshua. He and I worked together in a reggae group for several years and toured internationally before I came back to school and he joined Soulive. He is the best singer of our generation, hands down. He will own the stage. No singer is as powerful and dynamic. No other singer is as capable of being so captivating and also such a member of the band, not just the guy out front. So, on this gig Buru Style will be backing Toussaint up (I taught the band a bunch of Toussaint’s repetoire) rather than just dubbing out. Still though, the dub aesthetic will reign.
Why do you perform?
I mean, it’s part the transcendence of the experience, part the ego-centric power surge of feeling a room full of people get sucked into the space you’re creating. The thing I love about Buru Style is that we make that happen, but it’s never with pyrotechnics. Reggae musicians frequently talk about the groove being “the meditation,” and I think we get to that. It’s not usually like someone does some fancy dance or takes some big solo and everyone cheers; it’s more like we play the same drums and bass groove for 5 minutes and people don’t get bored, they get sucked into the zone and all the sudden you can change the tiniest little thing and it’s like a tidal wave. That’s the feeling that gets me off more than anything. That’s really sort of contrary to how Americans learn to experience music but I think the people playing in Buru Style have really tapped into it and are rocking it hard (or not hard as the case may be).
The other acts will be: Captain Coconut from Wes, and Barra Libre and Black Rebels will also play.