Sophistafunk is an ambassador of energy
When it comes to performing, Sophistafunk is all about energy. And according to Adam Gold, who plays keys and bass for the band, the audience is partially responsible for what the trio ends up creating on stage each night.
“I would almost say they’re like a fourth musician, a silent partner in all of this,” explains Gold. “The three of us know what we’re going to do, but we’re leaving this fourth space open which is sort of our muse.”
With respect to the band’s MC, Jack Brown, Gold says the crowd’s response has an almost cinematic effect on his performance.
“Do you remember the old movie Highlander?” asks Gold. “It’s like each crowd we play for juices [Brown] up even more. He’s like the Highlander. He’s getting more confident and is able to bring more to the take with each new show, which is exciting. To see someone go from writing poems in a notebook to grabbing the mic in front of 5,000 people at a music festival, that’s a huge progression.”
The Syracuse, N.Y.-based band’s new EP, Freedom Is, is a diverse, hip-shaking, lyrically potent experience. The title track brings the funk, the whole funk, and nothing but the funk; “Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll” is a veritable dance party; and the molasses-thick bass lines of “Bruce Lee” will make hip-hop fans swoon.
But “Gotta Walk” is the standout. This hypnotic fusion of funk, hip-hop, rap and old-school Nintendo-style synths and sound effects is the epitome of infectious, right down to the song’s uplifting content—one of the band’s hallmarks.
“It’s very intentional,” Gold says of Brown’s penchant for writing positive lyrics. “From day one, he’s been very positive, thought-provoking and progressive with his content.”
Sophistafunk, which is rounded out by drummer Emanuel Washington, is a positivity-creating machine. Socially conscious material abounds in songs like “Gotta Walk” and the title track, both of which touch on the issue of becoming a prisoner to the expectations of the world.
The band is not all talk, either.
“One of the ways we stay sane is that on any given night we’re able to adjust and attribute the performance to what we’re feeling like that day,” says Gold. “What’s ironic though is, say we have a big fight in the van earlier in the day and it leaves a lot of negative energy, that doesn’t turn out to be a negative performance later that night; it actually makes it better. We won’t be talking to each other, but now we’re on stage in front of 50 people and we’re going to work, so we’re able to express all this built-up energy in a positive way. I am always amazed by that.”
While the band has been making music together for seven years, Gold says they are always finding new ways to invigorate themselves creatively, and are really starting to hit their stride. Freedom Is is the band’s third release, and according to Gold, it is the first time they’ve been able to record an album that sounds the same as when they play live.
“Our goal was to produce an album that really reflects the live performance in a way that ... when you listen to the CD you can imagine you are at a live show,” says Gold. “If you turn up your stereo nice and loud, you should be able to imagine yourself at one of our concerts!”
Sophistafunk will perform at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15 at Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $9/adv, $12/door. For more information, call 479-1854.
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