Entertainment

Funk band raises the alarm and pushes genres

Five Alarm Funk will hit the stage at the Northern Bar in Fernie tonight.  - J. Liu
Five Alarm Funk will hit the stage at the Northern Bar in Fernie tonight.
— image credit: J. Liu

When Vancouver-based band Five Alarm Funk was created a little over a decade ago, the ten-piece group never anticipated pushing the boundaries of music as far as they have.

Vocalist and drummer Tayo Branston said he is aware that to outsiders, having as many people in the band as they do might sound overwhelming, but it’s the bands volume that actually keeps their sound so fresh and so unpinnable in a sea of genres.

“[Having so many members] allows us to push the borders,” said Branston, “because everyone has a different way of writing or music they grew up with … and that really pushes the band with what we can do.”

What they ‘do’ now is create tight, intricate arrangements blasted by funk vocals, psychedelic guitars and huge horns. It’s music that Branston says is the band’s “own Five Alarm style or way of doing things.”

Ultimately, the band was pushed to create the June 2014 release Abandon Earth; a concept album that follows the storyline of a psychotic ice cream man journeying to the center of the earth, facing Armageddon robots and others along the way.

The album was a culmination of the band developing the way they created their sound. Moving forward from the process of their formative years where horns, percussion, drums and guitar were individually laid out in jam sessions, to writing music with specific visuals in mind for the final track.

The band will be taking its visuals on the road for a three-city mountain stint through Canmore, Nelson and finishing up in Fernie on August 30 at The Northern.

Branston really comes alive when he thinks of touring.

His voice bubbling with energy, he insists that, “The show [is] going to be a super exciting, exhilarating dance party and to be able to have that kind of fun and release is something that everybody in the world should have.”

 

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