Last night before their show I sat down with Quincy from Quincy Mumford and The Reason Why to talk about his new album, feel good concerts and burritos. The feel good, soulful rock/reggae R&B (I know, a mouthful) band showed me once again that meshing genres and experimenting with different types of music certainly pays off.
CHARGED.fm: Should I say welcome to Brooklyn?
Quincy Mumford [QM]: [Laughs] I've actually been here, stayed with my brother last night in Buschwick.
CHARGED.fm: Ah, gotta love Buschwick. The land of artists.
QM: Yeah my brother is a film maker/photographer so that fits nicely.
CHARGED.fm: Who's been your favorite band that you've toured with this year?
QM: My favorite would definitely have to be Slightly Stoopid. We are actually about to do another show in a week or so but we did a tour with them through the Midwest and East Coast back in March. It was unbelievable they treated us really well, it was basically a big party, crowds were big and shows were incredible and sold out. Lot of fun. They treated us like family.
CHARGED.fm: I bet they're a blast to chill with. Slightly Stoopid is definitely a household name now. So you just came out with It's Only Change. What was the process like, was it different than your other albums?
QM: It was a lot different. This is the first time I've created an album as a collective that feels like an actual album. It doesn't feel like a bunch of songs that I just wrote and threw onto a disc, every song sort of relates back to a constant theme which is change, obviously, and how change is a hard thing to go through but everybody does it and you just gotta embrace it rather than let it overcome you. It's actually the first time I left jersey to record it, I recorded it with the same producer from my past records. Went to Nashville for this one. I recorded it with Ken Coomer.
CHARGED.fm: Yeah I read about you working with him. How was that?
QM: Incredible man.
CHARGED.fm: He seems like a rad dude.
QM: He's absolutely hilarious. That guy... literally... my jaw hurt I was laughing so hard. He's such a character. Not only that but he's an extremely talented drummer and very creative producer. What I liked most about him is that he let me do my vision and sort of helped guide me through it.
CHARGED.fm: Instead of taking the reigns and making it his own thing.
QM: Yeah, instead of taking over and being like 'this is how we have to do this,' which a lot of producers will do. He said let's do this together and saw my vision and made it happen.
CHARGED.fm: You certainly have a vision too. Your music blurs through boundaries of several genres. I honestly think lot of bands describe themselves better than most of the people trying to describe them. So how would you describe yourself.
QM: Musically like, genre wise?
CHARGED.fm: Yeah, if you had to pick and choose. Or anything.
QM: I like to call it feel good music, just because there's so many different genres being put into it like funk, reggae, soul, r&b, etc.
CHARGED.fm: I get it, just stuff you can kick back and smile to.
QM: Or smoke a joint to [laughs]. It's feel good music and it's supposed to make you feel liberated when you leave and hopefully everyone leaves our shows feeling great and like they've accomplished something that night.
CHARGED.fm: Well I'm stoked to see the show. I think in this kind of music more than most the live performance is more important than any production or a studio album. You get to see how the band meshes in real time, with improvisation and all that. Tell me about your goals when you play a show.
QM: There's a ton of it [improvisation]. Playing live has always been a big thing for us. We want to always put together a great live show so you can walk away feeling liberated and good about it and feel lifted.
CHARGED.fm: Lifted is a reoccurring theme.
QM: Yeah I know right! We jam, we bring good grooves, we can get down mellow and touch peoples hearts or get in people's faces and get gnarly. It's a wide variety of music that were able to create through a live show, we want to give people variety.
CHARGED.fm: Exactly. There has to be that mix up and flow to every live show.
QM: Definitely. That's important to us.
CHARGED.fm: So you're pretty young for someone with five albums out. Going on four or five years of making music now?
QM: Yeah four or five years. Me, personally, five years.
CHARGED.fm: Because you were by yourself originally right?
QM: Yeah I started solo and released my first album when I was 16 years old. I started playing open mics and trying to get the name out there. We eventually built into a trio and then to a four piece and now eventually to a five piece. Some members kind of came in and out and now we have a solid five members that's basically a brother and sisterhood going on.
CHARGED.fm: Pizza or burritos?
QM: Burritos, definitely.
CHARGED.fm: Cats or dogs?
CHARGED.fm: To be honest, I would have guessed dogs.
QM: I know, it's funny because I love dogs but I could never take care of a dog. I'm not around enough. I always grew up with cats in my family.
CHARGED.fm: Well, cats are pretty good at fending for themselves I guess.
QM: Yeah, you leave food there for a week and say you're good! Until they start shittin' in your laundry basket.
After talking with Quincy I headed to the bar for a drink before the show. I ended up having a couple with opener Frank Viele, a damn good acoustic guitarist from Georgia. After chatting about what's wrong with the music business these days (pretty much everything) and convincing me that I don't know what music is before I listen to Sam Cook, Frank headed to the stage to start the show. I'll give The Rock Shop some credit, it was a Wednesday night, but there wasn't much of a crowd. In fact the only crowd Frank had was me and two of his buddies that came by. This is the part where I say the show was awkward, with no crowd, and a few claps after every song but it wasn't. Frank's actually one of the funniest dudes I've met up here in New York.
"Sometimes there's an abundance of things and sometimes there isn't. Tonight there's an abundance of whiskey and friends, but not a lot of people. It's like that scene in Forrest Gump when Forrest says 'sometimes there isn't enough rocks.'" He proceeded to play a couple of his older songs with more jokes in between, causing me to start thinking I was at some sort of impromptu comedy/concert. I mean the dude was hilarious. "All whiskey/RedBull and no carbohydrates make's one whacky Frank."
Frank's songs are about girls mainly. After chatting with me for an hour at the bar about how song lyrics were heading toward basically meaninglessness in the music industry these days, he said "but don't get me wrong, I write songs about girls." And pretty damn good ones. You can tell this man has done his research when it comes to relationships with women.
One of the last songs he played was off his new album Acoustic Vudu called "Somebody Else." A song self described as "when you're in a relationship with a girl and you find out she's in a relationship with someone else too. I learned in third grade that sharing was caring, so by the transitive property, we were all caring." Before signing off he thanked The Rock Shop, who's giant poster said made him feel like he was on sale, if only in the clearance department.
After that, Quincy and friends started hauling instruments in. They're set up is pretty spot on for a funk band, with keyboards, bass, two guitars, drums, and backup vocals. One thing I noticed right off the bat was how well they all meshed together. It's not unlikely to see bands that simply don't work well together, have slightly off timing, or are probably just too new to make a successful live show. Not the case here as Mumford and The Reason Why come as a package deal. Karlee Bloomfield came pretty quickly into the show tearing through some keyboards. Or should I say two, three keyboards? And rocking a Brooklyn fitted. Thumbs up.
Davide Vossel not only kept a perfect tempo on drums but also pretty successfully made me jealous of his giant hair. You can tell this man knows how to lay something funky down on the beat section, and was consistently doing just that throughout the show. Unfortunately for them, the crowd still lacked at The Rock Shop. Not so unfortunately for me, I could pretty much jam out and see them at every angle possible aside from jumping up on stage. After a few mellow songs Quincy came on the mic and addressed the crowd. "It's a Wednesday night, but that doesn't mean we can't have some good live music in town. We're about to bring some funk."
In a Red Hot Chili Peppers-esque fashion Brian Gearty slapped a heavy bass rhythm to start out the song and didn't stop poppin' the strings for minutes. The kind of thick bass playing that overpowers the rest of the instrumentals in the best way possible. I was pretty stoked I got to see some funky bass playing considering that's the heart of any tune with groove to it.
Another thing I noticed from the get go was that Quincy had been doing this for a long time. The man has some skills as a frontman. He knew when to tone it down and get into a slow rhythm of a calmer song and when to turn it up, bouncing around stage getting the other members hyped. He also has a very versatile voice that matches his stage presence, something I think's important when mashing tons of different music styles into one sound like this.
It would be wrong not to mention the dude who laid down a couple great guitar solos, Mike Zdeb. While concentrated on the strings, he definitely pulled the songs together breaking out into long overlapping sounds that lead the rest of the band into the breakdowns.
Overall the show was fun as hell. I would complain about it not being a packed house but in all honesty I had the show to myself and ten others. Between throwing back some shots at the bar with Frank Viele and hanging out with Quincy, I'd say The Rock House showed me a great time.
Quincy Mumford and The Reason Why, self-described as "singer songwriter meet soul meets funk meets rock and R&B from Asbury Park, NJ. Keep it Lifted."
Lifted with a capital L.
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